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Is late removal of formwork beneficial to cater for early thermal movement?

Let us take a circular column as an example to illustrate effect of internal restraint to thick sections.

When the temperature is rising, temperature in the core is higher than that at outer zone. The inner core will have a higher expansion and exert pressure to the outside. The induced compressive stress will result in the formation of radial cracks near the surface of concrete.

When the temperature drops, the concrete at the outside drops to surrounding temperature while the concrete at the central region continues to cool down. The contraction associated with inner concrete induces tensile strains and forms cracks tangential to the circular radius.


It is beneficial for thick sections (say >500mm) to have late removal of formwork to reduce early thermal cracking. This is to allow more time for the centre of concrete section to cool down gradually to reduce the risk of thermal cracking. This is effective in controlling the temperature differential across the cross section of the concrete structures and reducing the potential of internal cracking due to early thermal movement.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

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Kanwarjot Singh

Kanwarjot Singh is the founder of Civil Engineering Portal, a leading civil engineering website which has been awarded as the best online publication by CIDC. He did his BE civil from Thapar University, Patiala and has been working on this website with his team of Civil Engineers.

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