Artificial turf is extremely long-lasting, maintenance-friendly, and can withstand extreme weather conditions. Artificial turf, often referred to as Astroturf, is predominantly used for football and hockey.
Sports pitches for football usually comprise a long pile carpet filled with sand and rubber granules to give the same performance and feel as that of natural turf. A hockey sports pitch, on the other hand, requires a shorter pile carpet dressed with sand only.
The introduction of artificial sports surfaces in the 1970’s has significantly changed the sport of field hockey. Artificial sports pitches are now extensively used in many parts of the world for various hockey tournaments. The reason for their tremendous popularity is that these artificial sports surfaces have increased the speed of the game considerably leading to changes in the shape of hockey sticks to allow for different techniques, such as reverse stick trapping and hitting.
Let us have a brief look at the different types of artificial sports pitches:
Unfilled sports pitches, often known as “water-based” pitches feature unfilled pile. This sports pitch requires wetting, often by prolonged showering with pitch-side water cannon prior to their use. This sports turf is favoured the most sports, as it offers greater protection to players by minimising the abrasive effect created by the sand. Such pitches are used in elite level hockey games.
Sand-dressed sports pitches are those where the pile of the carpet is filled up to 5-8 mm of the tips of the fibre with fine sand which cannot be seen.
Sand filled sports pitches are those where the pile of the carpet is filled almost to the top with sand. The sand makes the pitch rough and harder. In comparison to water-based pitches or minimal sand-dressed pitches, ball’s speed across the surface is often noticeably slower.
In addition to artificial sports pitches, artificial athletics tracks are also gaining importance. Solid Polyurethane (PU) Systems offer unrivaled performance and are the choice for top competition tracks. The reason is that these tracks offer a much faster running surface because of their rigidity. Also, these tracks are more durable than the softer track surfaces. This surface does not allow water to soak through because of its impervious nature.
A solid PU system is made up of two layers of cast polyurethane mixed with rubber granule followed by a top coat of polyurethane mixed with red EPDM rubber granule. This top coat gives the surface the correct traction and appearance.
Porous Systems, on the other hand, are more suited to schools and colleges because of their softer characteristics that reduce the risk of injury. The porous nature of this system will allow water to soak through the track. Sandwich System is a mixture of solid PU system and porous system. Owing to their low cost and maintenance, many clubs choose artificial pitches and running tracks.
Source by Stanley Degeorgio
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