A Guide to Rapid Set Concrete

Now, more than ever, cost and timing overruns in construction projects across Australia have been increasingly prevalent across all areas, in both maintenance and new construction work.

Now the question in every project manager’s mind right now is: what needs to change?

At Antoun, we believe a structured approach and the right blend of innovative products can be a game changer. Using these products not only changes the way we approach construction, but it also brings with it, new solutions to seemingly old-world problems.

Here’s why Rapid Set Concrete answers the need for time and cost savings better than any other product.


What is Rapid Set Concrete? 

Rapid Set (High Early Structural Strength BCSA) Concrete is an innovative concrete that achieves structural strength in hours, much faster than traditional cement concrete and has greater longevity and performance, making it ideal for diverse projects including expediate pavements, bridges, runways, tunnels, harbours, precast, footpaths, floors, and many other applications.

Rapid Set stands out from all other types of traditional concrete for its unique and innovative characteristics, such as:

  • High early strength
    Rapid Set Concrete achieves structural strength in a matter of hours, allowing infrastructure to be returned to service quicker.
  • Improved durability
    It is characterised by its Rapid Set and early structural strength development, emerging as a long-lasting, durable concrete that is an innovative alternative to traditional concrete.
  • Minimal shrinkage
    Rapid Set Concrete due to its unique chemistry utilises all mix water during the ettringite phase (high early strength development) and does not bleed like traditional concrete ensuring permeability is minimal, reducing shrinkage and improving durability.

These characteristics make Rapid Set concrete the only choice for design and construction professionals who need concrete to achieve high early strength, minimal shrinkage, improved durability, and longer service life.


The Composition of Rapid Set Concrete, And Why It Matters

BCSA Rapid Set Concrete is a single clinker hydraulic cement with rapid-setting properties. It is made of Gypsum, Limestone, and Bauxite. It is then made within the rolling kiln with a lower temperature, reduction of C02 gases (green cement), and with no additives.

Although the production methodology is not rare for a cement, its high early strength properties (ettringite phase) along with minimal shrinkage are its initial advantages, followed closely by improved durability and increased life.

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How Long Does It Take To Set?

Unlike traditional concrete types, BCSA Rapid Set concrete is faster setting achieving typical Flexural strengths of 2.2 – 3.2MPa and Compressive strengths of 20 – 40MPa after 1.5 hours to 3.0 hours (pending ambient conditions).

In comparison, traditional concrete (Portland) and Calcium Sulfoaluminate (CSA-blended with Portland) cement typically reach a flexural strength of around 1.0 to 2.0MPa and compressive strengths of around 10Mpa in similar time frames, pending ambient conditions.


  Rapid Set General Purpose (Portland) and CSA Blends (Calcium Sulfoaluminate cement)
Strength after 2 hours Flexural 2.2 – 3.2 MPa
Compressive 20-28 MPa
Flexural 2.0 – 3.0MPa
Compressive 10 MPa


How Is Rapid Set Concrete Used? 

Due to its fast-setting and superior durability properties, rapid set concrete is ideal for mission-critical infrastructure repairs and projects.

As an example, Rapid Set Concrete was produced via a volumetric mixer to achieve the best possible concrete performance and safest solution saving time in the replacement of defective concrete sections for the M1 motorway project. A minimum opening compressive strength of 15MPa had to be achieved for each of the 22 slabs prior to reopening the M1 to traffic.

While traditional methods would have caused lane closures for days and disrupted operations significantly, the use of Rapid Set made it possible to replace seven slabs within an 8-hour time frame. Antoun achieved high compressive strength test results, translating into a significant cost saving in terms of materials and labour required, which reduced the overall project delivery time and minimised delays to the public.


The Key Benefits of Using Rapid Set Concrete

Rapid Set Concrete can: 

  • Fast-track critical infrastructure projects for faster asset return to service, as projects can get back up and running in as little as 2 hours
  • Lower overall projects costs, such as lower construction costs, maintenance costs, operational costs and whole-of-life costs.
  • Extend the life of crucial assets, as it lasts longer and is more durable than other concrete types. 
  • Improve safety with minimal closures for the public and extend asset life due to the BCSA durability properties.

Rapid Set As The Green Alternative

The use of concrete pavements has meant a 12% lower environmental impact over 70 years, along with its ability to be 100% recyclable. The lower burning temperature to produce BCSA of Rapid Set Cement reduces the amount of energy and carbon dioxide emissions associated with traditional cement production. It requires less limestone, which is the primary source of carbon dioxide released during the chemical sintering process.

The BCSA clinker is also easier to grind, reducing the energy needed during the milling process. As such, Rapid Set BCSA cement has been named the green alternative and plays a significant role in improving the sustainability of construction materials by simply reducing the quantity of non-renewable resources used during manufacturing.


Where Antoun Steps In 

Antoun is the leading distributor of Rapid Set BCSA Concrete. But the success of our projects take more than just cement — it is the overall process that comes with it. 

Our E6 Methodology uses a 6-step approach that promotes a structured response to service in every phase, which ensures project teams have everything they need to complete projects with minimal cost and time overruns. 

As a leader in mission-critical infrastructure solutions, our innovative product solutions and our E6 methodology approach are what enable us to deliver best-in-class project delivery each time. 

If you are looking for a tried and tested innovative solution to your next for your next construction project, get in touch with Antoun today.