We plan to place concrete during the coming winter and are wondering about steam curing. is there danger of cracking the concrete if we build an enclosure around the beams and introduce live steam?
In most winter work steam curing is not necessary. The use of an adequate amount of insulation would retain enough heat in the concrete to keep it from freezing and provide an acceptable rate of strength gain. Curing with steam is an effective method where severe temperatures are encountered or more rapid strength gain is needed. Steam has the advantage of providing moisture as well as heat. Normally there is no danger of cracking the concrete from rapid heating. The recommendations in the report of ACI Committee 517, "Low Pressure Steam Curing," should be followed.