New app monitors weather to lessen risk of plastic cracks

Due to its inherent qualities, concrete is bound to crack sooner or later. But thanks to a free Web-based application accessible via any Web browser, it just got easier to alleviate the “sooner” problem.

The Plastic Crack Risk Calculator will help you determine the best time to place concrete to lessen the chance of cracking from plastic concrete shrinkage, which can occur within the first few hours of placement. The app uses your project’s ZIP code to pull weather data such as air temperature, humidity and wind speed from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and compare it to an evaporation rate chart. It then generates a graph showing you for the next seven days when your site is at low risk, moderate risk and high risk for plastic shrinkage.

The app was developed by former superintendent and current professor at Southern Illinois University Mark Grinter and college students. Besides providing the seven-day snapshot of the conditions that affect how fast water will evaporate, the app allows you to set up an account for to receive emails alerting you when “high risk” weather conditions are approaching.

To use this app or to create an account, go to

Got more questions about your project?

  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpeg, jpg, gif, png, pdf, Max. file size: 50 MB.
      Allowed formats: jpeg, jpg, gif, png, pdf
    • How would you like us to respond?

    • Note: Some questions will be published anonymously with their answers at the end of this story to share with other readers.