The findings from a recent investigation – carried out by ESTO member Recticel – into the effects of freezing weather conditions on synthetic turf will provide further assurance to facilities that are considering a switch from natural to synthetic turf.
One of the principle factors when choosing a synthetic turf system is how it will affect playing conditions and whether it will meet the requirements of the user. Many natural turf surfaces across Europe become unplayable in winter months and so as an option that can deliver greater durability, facilities often turn to synthetic turf.
The sophisticated manufacturing process behind synthetic turf systems means that there are a number of components that can be affected by adverse weather conditions; it is therefore the responsibility of the manufacturer to determine what impact these can have and how best to limit it.
As part of the study, manufacturer Recticel tested a synthetic turf system that incorporated its Re-bounce® shock pad, a vital component of the surface and a part of the system that impacts on its performance and playability.
Recticel performed a number of different field measurements to determine how playable a pitch was during the winter, focusing specifically on how the shock pad is affected in freezing conditions.
As Table 1 (above) shows, a number of fields incorporating different carpets, infill amounts and different types of shock pads were measured. Initial findings confirm that it is the total artificial system that is responsible for achieving the requested functional properties of the sport and not one specific component.
Issues can occur on a frozen synthetic turf surface when the snow melts, as pressure from snowploughs or users walking on the pitch will push the water downwards into the infill. This can then re-freeze, creating a harder, icy layer.
However, the findings also show that although the synthetic materials will harden as temperatures decrease, the different components making up the surface are frost-proof and therefore provide a safer, more resilient surface when compared to natural turf.
With playing frequency often reduced during adverse weather conditions, synthetic turf systems are not designed to provide a solution for use in all weathers. However, the findings from Recticel’s study do highlight a number of benefits when comparing synthetic turf to natural turf, with bespoke systems designed specifically to meet the requirements of the user.
For more information on Recticel its Re-bounce® sports range, visit www.re-bounce.com.