Glossary of an artificial turf system
Artificial grass sports fields have changed dramatically since their inception in 1964. Thanks to modern technology, the surfaces are low impact, more realistic, feel much softer and respond very realistically to interactions with a ball. Any sports field utilising this modern synthetic grass system is known as a 3G (third generation) pitch. The most remarkable aspect of a 3G pitch is that some players have been reported as stating they prefer it to natural turf because it can be maintained at a consistently high quality all year round; it is a playing surface you can rely on.
Angle ball rebound
A field test to measure the quality of the surface. The ball is projected at the field at 45 degrees from a height of approximately one metre using a canon. The height of the ball rebound is then measured to determine the restitution (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coefficient_of_restitution). If the ball rebounds much less than one metre in height, the test is failed because the surface is too soft (absorbs the impact). Conversely if the rebound is high, that would indicate the surface is too hard.
A field test to measure the quality of the turf. Fibres must be upright in a football field to slow down the speed of the ball and resemble the performance characteristics of a natural turf field. If the fibres are flat, the ball will travel unrealistically fast and it can become difficult for players to control the ball. To determine if the field is providing the correct speed, a ball roll ramp is used whereby the distance travelled by the ball is measured. If the distance travelled is too far, the fibres are not providing enough resistance and must be rectified.
A brush pulled along by a tractor to maintain an artificial turf field is known as a drag brush. Regular brushing helps to keep the artificial turf fibres upright. Brushing also redistributes the infill so it is essential to brush towards the centre of the field (as infill typically migrates to the edges). The two types of drag brush are the triangle brush and oscillating brush.
Over a period of time the infill in an artificial turf system may become compacted (pieces of infill sticking together on the surface). The Decompaction device excites the particles of infill thus causing them to separate (de-compact).
In contact sports such as rugby and football, it is imperative for the synthetic grass surface to be soft so as to reduce the likelihood of player injury. Impact injuries are reduced in a synthetic grass system by the application of an e-layer (shock pad under the turf layer), which provides a cushioning effect. Not all synthetic grass systems have an e-layer and there are different types of shock pad available.
Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EPDM) is a type of synthetic rubber infill. Also see “infill”
A synthetic grass surface should respond to the ball in a similar way to that of a natural grass field. Tests are performed after a sports field is installed to ensure a level surface in addition to analysing the ball roll and ball rebound measurements. This is especially important for sports at professional level whereby players need the best possible surface to move the ball in a controlled way. Governing organisations of several sports including football, rugby and hockey require field tests to be performed if the field is to be used for high level competitions.
FIFA One Star
The FIFA Recommended 1 Star is mainly for recreational, community and municipal use; however, it still has to go through a series of stringent tests before the highly respected FIFA certificate is issued.
FIFA Preferred producer
Only an experienced Football Turf manufacturer with knowledge of civil engineering, project management and field maintenance can qualify as a “FIFA Preferred Producer”. Such expertise is crucial to the success of any Football Turf installation project from inception through to completion. Consumers can benefit from these crucial services by choosing a “FIFA Preferred Producer”.
FIFA Quality Concept
In 2001 FIFA introduced the “FIFA Quality Concept for Football Turf”. This initiative involves the quality testing of field installations to ensure world class playing surfaces for professional football players. When a field successfully passes the strict testing process it may be awarded the highly acclaimed FIFA Recommended status, which is the quality mark of “FIFA Quality Concept”.
FIFA Two Star
The FIFA Recommended 2 Star for artificial turf is designed specifically to mirror the playing characteristics of professional football. FIFA final round competitions and top UEFA competitions have the FIFA Recommended 2 Star in their respective competition regulations.
First generation artificial grass
Artificial grass was banned by the English FA in 1988 as it was deemed significantly inferior to natural grass. The ball did not bounce or roll as the players expected and the harder surface caused more injuries. Many sports professionals in the United States were also averse to playing on artificial grass. The baseball player Dick Allen famously said, “If a horse won’t eat it, I don’t want to play on it”. 3G (third generation) artificial grass has solved these issues and is now becoming more popular than ever in both community sport and professional sport. Also see “3G”
Depending on the usage of your field you may choose a rubber infill, sand infill or non-infill system. Rubber is used in rugby and football to provide a softer surface. Sand infill is used in short pile artificial turf systems such as hockey and tennis to provide a more responsive surface. The infill stabilises the synthetic grass fibres in an upright position. Fibres must be upright in a football field to slow down the speed of the ball and resemble the performance characteristics of a natural turf field. If the fibres are flat, the ball will travel unrealistically fast and it can become difficult for players to control the ball. Without infill the fibres will naturally spring back into an upright position but after many hours of usage the infill helps to ensure they do not become flat. Regular brushing on non-infill systems can help to keep the fibres upright.
After your field has been installed it is essential for the surface to be maintained on a weekly basis. Synthetic grass requires considerably less attention than natural turf but it must not be neglected. GreenFields provide a professional maintenance solution that will keep your synthetic grass system in optimum condition for many years.
A stud roll machine is used to simulate wear on the artificial turf over thousands of hours of usage. This ensures the turf is durable enough to withstand players running on the field for many years without wearing out. An artificial turf sports field can be used more than double that of a natural turf field each week. Assuming that maintenance is performed each week, the artificial turf quality will remain at the highest standard.
Third generation artificial grass
See “3G artificial grass”