Concrete curing - goals and potentials

Strategies to minimize restraintstresses in conventional reinforced-concrete structures and in particular in water-impermeable structures

The main function of concrete curing is to minimize premature evaporation of water across the concrete surface. Concrete can achieve the desired strength and durability characteristics only if a sufficient amount of water is available in the concrete fringe zone for the ongoing hydration processes. Another function of curing is to avoid larger temperature differences in the concrete cross-section to counteract potential crack formation.

The aim of the new Guide to Good Practice on Concrete Curing (March 2019 edition) is to provide assistance to building contractors to select suitable curing measures and to determine the required duration of the concrete curing process depending on the functions and goals to be achieved by curing and within the scope of Eurocode 2 or ZTV-ING (Zusätzliche Technische Vertragsbedingungen und Richtlinien für Ingenieurbauten; Additional Technical Terms of Contract and Guidelines for Engineering Structures). The information and recommendations included in the Code of Practice on Concrete Curing are additionally intended to achieve a comprehensible documentation of the curing process as defined by DIN EN 13670 and DIN 1045-3.

The objective(s) of concrete curing listed below determine the kind and duration of the curing measure(s):

1. achieving sufficient strength and high durability (density) of the concrete fringe zone;

2. reducing the potential for cracks resulting from early shrinkage (plastic shrinkage);

3. reducing the potential for cracks resulting from thermal stresses caused by strain resulting from:

a. development of hydration heat in the concrete; or

b. prevailing weather/ambient conditions in particular in the case of non-shuttered concrete surfaces;

4. meeting requirements placed on the look of exposed concrete surfaces.


DIN EN 13670 and DIN 1045-3 do not explicitly deal with measures for reducing the potential for cracks resulting from restraint strains caused by changes in temperature and any resulting stresses (objective 3), or with curing exposed concrete surfaces (objective 4).

The Code of Practice on Concrete Curing also includes detailed information on controlling heat dissipation, in particular in connection with implementing design principles relating to crack formation.

Related articles:

Issue 2022-06

Plastic shrinkage and cracking in 3D-printed concrete elements – mechanisms and countermeasures

3D concrete printing has the potential to achieve a breakthrough in the construction industry. However, a number of challenges need to be overcome. An important step for transferring the 3D concrete...

Issue 2009-06 Performance-based quality control in Norway

Durability and service life of concrete structures

In recent years, an extensive amount of research has been carried out in order to better understand and control several of the most important deteriorating processes acting on concrete structures in...

Issue 2016-02 Diatomaceous earth as a functional additive

Improved freeze-thaw resistance, strength and durability of concrete products

Concrete needs to exhibit a high freeze-thaw resistance to ensure long service lives, particularly in the case of concrete products used in road construction. This characteristic is primarily achieved...

Issue 2013-04

Curing designed to achieve a visibly better product quality

Curing is not only about ensuring technically impeccable concrete products. The conditions prevailing during the curing process also influence visual aspects, including the prevention of efflorescence...

Issue 2020-11

Strategies for enhancing fire resistance of high-strength concrete structures

Resiliency is a key parameter for critical infrastructure. Concrete structures exhibit a high level of resiliency in terms of safety, robustness, durability, and disaster resistance. However, while...