Improving Concrete Pavement Life: SmartCure To Deliver Real-Time Curing Data
It’s a beautiful spring day in south Texas and a contractor is paving a section of highway. Temperatures are in the high 70s, humidity levels measure at about 60% and there is a slight breeze. Many experienced contractors would agree these conditions are great for normal concrete paving construction and typical procedures can be followed for curing. But what if the wind speeds suddenly become greater than 10 mph and temperatures escalate into the 80s? Will it be safe to continue curing using the same method as before?
AUSTIN, TX, August 17, 2010—Sponsored by the United States Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), pavement engineers at The Transtec Group (Transtec) are developing a wireless concrete curing monitor called SmartCure. The device will alert pavement contractors to adjust curing settings in real time in response to weather changes, as well as changes in the concrete itself. By applying the most appropriate curing method, contractors can build strong, more durable roads that will ultimately result in cost and time savings.
A contractor cannot control the environmental conditions of their paving project. Given high winds and low relative humidity, curing practices must be adjusted to prevent future problems. Irregular weather and environmental conditions can alter the rate at which concrete cures, possibly creating plastic shrinkage cracks that compromise the integrity of a newly-placed concrete pavement. Knowing exactly when conditions change helps contractors take proper precautions to prevent early damage to the concrete.
SmartCure is an integrated portable weather station and software tool that measures current climatic conditions and computes the prevailing evaporation rate of moisture from the concrete surface. The system features a weather station attached to the curing cart along with an infrared sensor for monitoring concrete surface temperatures and a GPS for location tracking. Data about the environmental conditions and evaporation rate is transferred wirelessly to an on-site laptop while pavement is placed. The data is fed to the SmartCure software which alerts the contractor when changes in surrounding climate conditions require changes in curing procedures. Evaporation rates are computed with the same formulas as the Portland Cement Association nomographs, providing contractors accurate and reliable readings.
“SmartCure will provide data in real time, allowing paving contractors to monitor conditions continuously, identifying critical environmental changes to control quality,” said Transtec Project Manager Mauricio Ruiz, PE. “Instead of relying on weather forecasts or reacting late to developing conditions, real time data will allow contractors to make timely curing adjustments as situations change.”
With the capabilities of SmartCure, contractors will be able to deliver stronger, higher-quality pavement to serve the driving public well into the future.
About Federal Highway Administration: An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, FHWA carries out the federal highway programs in partnership with the state and local agencies to meet the nation’s transportation needs. For more information about FHWA, please visit www.fhwa.dot.gov.
About The Transtec Group: The Transtec Group is a pavement engineering firm that provides expertise in pavement design, research, construction, rehabilitation, software development, Public-Private Partnership (P3) projects and technology transfer for the transportation industry. A DBE and MBE firm, Transtec is a leader in Design-Build transportation projects worldwide. Transtec is based in Austin, Texas and serves clients throughout the world. For more information, please visit www.TheTranstecGroup.com.