Static electricity & synthetic turf
Static electricity occurs when electric charges accumulate on an object’s surface; this is commonly a result of two materials moving apart or rubbing together. Very dry air and cold weather increases static electricity, so static shock takes place more often in the winter when the air is especially dry.
For most a static shock is nothing more than a nuisance, but for others, especially those using hearing aids it can be more serious as the static electricity can damage the sensitive electronics within the hearing aid.
On a synthetic turf surface the normal actions of play and use can cause a triboelectric charge to build up under certain conditions. This is quite normal and not a defect of a particular product or installation. The phenomenon occurs most frequently on newly installed surfaces and the frequency and intensity tends to diminish over time, with occurrences being unusual on installations of six months old.
When static electricity does occur on a synthetic turf surface it can have several effects. On surfaces with infill’s, the infill will sticking to the pile blades of the surface and also to players clothing. Occasionally, a static discharge can result in a person feeling a small static shock when they touch something like a gate or fence. This has led some manufacturers to develop anti-static technology into the yarns from which the synthetic turf pile is made. These are most commonly used for landscaping turfs.
If the build-up of static electricity is not too frequent it can be treated by applying a wetting agent or commercially available fabric softeners, with a wide area sprayer, to the surface. It is important to note that when applying any form of chemical to a synthetic turf surface the advice of the surface manufacturer must always be sought as many chemicals can have an adverse effect on the integrity of the surface and cause premature deterioration.