Which synthetic turf fibre fits best for which sport?

Sep 15|Synthetic SurfaceBy Andrew Morrow


In a previous blog post, we saw that synthetic turf surfaces are composed of synthetic fibres sown and glued through a backing material. With the addition of infill materials (sand and rubber granules), synthetic surfaces play and look like natural grass.

In our fourth synthetic turf web series episode, our Synthetic Grass Specialist Andrew Morrow highlights which fibre fits best for which sports.

Fibres used for outdoor sports such as AFL, Rugby and Football

AFL, Rugby and Football can play on surfaces made from either monofilament fibres, slit film fibres or a combination of both. Predominately 3G monofilament synthetic grass products have been made for Football. Dual fibre systems have been developed for Rugby and AFL, as these products reduce the ‘splash’ effect of the ball bounce. The slit film fibre will fibrillate (split into smaller fibres) at the end of the fibre, which encapsulates the infill and reduces the movement.

A third fibre used in sports fields is a texturised fibre – twisted or curly in appearance.

Texturised yarn: a great option for hockey and a quality alternative for tennis

Texturised fibres provide the best playing performance when designing a synthetic turf surface for hockey.

Why texturised fibre?  

Texturised fibres provide a non-directional ball bounce, are hard-wearing, and have ball speed for hockey. This surface can also be an option for tennis. So if you’re looking for a surface to play multi-sports, hockey, tennis, futsal & netball, then a texturised synthetic grass product will meet your needs.

Another option for tennis is using slit film fibre, which is infilled with sand. The top 2 – 3mm of the fibre is exposed and provides a consistent, hard-wearing tennis-playing surface.

Is it possible to apply a synthetic turf surface to a netball court?

One of the test requirements for netball courts is achieving a BPN slip rating of > 75. Texturised products have achieved this rating and can be used as a netball surface, however asphalt or acrylic is still the preferred industry netball surface.

Monofilament fibres used for the best cricket wickets  

As for cricket, the preferred option will be a 9-millimetre monofilament fibre. Very tightly knit, with five millimetres part with no sand in it, it will bring the fibres to close together, making them stand up. Texturised products are also another viable option. 

It is worth noting that synthetic turf surface for golf courses is possible; however very uncommon. 

Once the grass component is sorted and choices have been made regarding the grass infill and fibres, the next element to figure out is the shock pad. 

Adding shock pads for safety purposes 

A shock pad is a type of underlay often used as a base for synthetic grass and for outdoor and indoor surfaces.

Shock pads are predominately used for AFL, rugby, football, and hockey surfaces. The use of shockpads under synthetic grass surfaces provides cushioning and impact reduction. For both AFL and Rugby, synthetic fields are tested for Head Injury Criteria HIC, and shockpads help to meet the standards.

In general, all shock pads have incredible drainage characteristics: in terms of vertical drainage, they have a capacity of over 30,000 millimetres an hour. Even during heavy downpours, stormwater passes quickly through the synthetic grass and shockpad system, leaving the playing surface dry and playable.

There are three different shockpads used under synthetic grass sports fields

  • The prefabricated shock pad. These pads come as either rolls or tiles: rolls are laid sided by side and taped is used to join the rolls, while rectangular tiles are clipped together, similar to a jigsaw. Depending on the synthetic grass product on top and the type of sport, the thickness of the shockpad can vary from 15mm - 30mm.
  • The in-situ shock pads (paved pad). They are SBR granules bonded together with a single polyurethane binder. The uniformity of the thickness is reliant on both the installers' skill and the base's uniformity (crushed rock, asphalt or concrete).
  • Pros and Cons between in-situ pads vs prefabricated pads: Prefabricated pads, being factory manufactured have a consistent thickness and are quick and simple to install. However, they rely on the base to be constructed to a high-level tolerance. Whereas in-situ pads require specialised machinery and an installation crew to install them. In-situ pads can be laid at a variable thickness to improve the finished surface.

Contact us for further information or questions/remarks on this topic!

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