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Within a few hours after the placing of fresh concrete, plastic concrete may experience cracking owing to the occurrence of plastic shrinkage and plastic settlement. The cause of plastic settlement is related to bleeding of fresh concrete.
Bleeding refers to the migration of water to the top of concrete and the movement of solid particles to the bottom of fresh concrete. The expulsion of water during bleeding results in the reduction of the volume of fresh concrete. This induces a downward movement of wet concrete. If such movement is hindered by the presence of obstacles like steel reinforcement, cracks will be formed.