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Synthetic grass, more and more natural

 

The first synthetic grass for sports field were built in Europe in the early '70s: the fibers,  made of polypropylene yarns, did not exceed 28 cm in height, while the infill was made only of sand. These surfaces were very  hard and abrasive and had little success. In the '80s a new standard for artificial turf spread on the market: it was made with polyethylene yarn, softer than earlier carpets,  and its fibers were about 30 cm high. The infill consisted of sand mixed with rubber granules. Even if this was a great improvements,  the  second generation pitches still had remarkable disadvantages such as the abrasiveness of fibers and the ball  behavior which could not be compared with natural grass. Only in the late 90's appeared on the market a new type of synthetic turf with innovative features that opened the door to the definitive affirmation of the synthetic.

 

 The 3rd Generation Artificial systems have good performance and offer similar playing conditions - and in many cases better - than natural grass.

 

The 3rd generation of Artificial Turf (AT) is recognised by longer fibres ranging from 40 up to 60 mm height and by use of the so called performance infill granules which are strewed between the fibres, so the shoe studs can find the right grip.

 

The performance infill consists of elastomeric granules made either with Thermoset Rubber or with specially designed Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE).

 

The main difference between the two types of infill is that thermoset rubbers cannot be further reused or reprocessed at the end of their life cycle while Thermoplastic Elastomers are fully recyclable and can be reused and transformed several times.

 

There are two main building tecniques: 

1) the first one is without shock pad or e-layer and is characterised by:

  • long pile height from 50 to 60 mm
  • sand layer from 10 to 15 mm 
  • infill layer from 25 to 35 mm

 

2) the second one is  with shock pad or e-layer and is characterised by:

  • shorter pile height from 40 to 50  mm
  • sand layer from 10 to 15 mm 
  • infill layer from 8 to 15 mm 

 

The use of the shock pad or e-layer beneath the sports field confers elasticity to the playing surface and allows to reduce the infill layer and to use shorter grass fibers, which makes possible to reduce the overall construction costs.

 

Both building tecniques allow to obtain excellent sport performance complying with the FIFA Quality Concept.

 

Synthetic turf: Progresso Castel Maggiore, Italia Syntethic turf: Skagerak Arena Skien, Norway