In typical synthetic grass, Genan rubber granules are applied in both the infill layer (FINE, FINE/MIX or MEDIUM rubber granulate) and the manufacturing of the e-layer (COARSE, SUPER COARSE or ULTRA COARSE rubber granulate). E-layers may be installed in-situ or made of pre-fab mats.
Artificial turf fields are fully accepted by the major soccer organizations FIFA and UEFA – and now officially recommended for use at all levels, including Champions League and the World Cup. Depending on the level of play, infill specifications may differ.
INFILL IS THE MOST IMPORT FACTOR INFLUENCING BALL BEHAVIOR IN ARTIFICIAL TURF Although infill material accounts for only a minor share of the total cost of a synthetic turf project, it is possibly the most important element. Infill quality is paramount for meeting pitch performance criteria, which means that infill quality is an extremely important aspect for the image and perception of the artificial turf in use.
INFILL CAN IMPROVE BALL REBOUND AND RUNNING CHARACTERISTICS To ensure optimum ball behavior, the size of rubber granules must neither be too fine nor too coarse. If the infill is too fine, it will compact and the synthetic turf will not be elastic enough. If the infill is too coarse, it will absorb too much energy from the ball, resulting in poor rebound performance and splashing. To meet all special requirements, Genan therefore offers three infill sizes: FINE, FINE/MIX and MEDIUM.
MAINTENANCE To uphold the superior characteristics of synthetic turf fields, such as elasticity, weather resistance and extremely good aging properties, infill material is also used in field maintenance. Despite intensive use, wear and tear is minimal, and maintenance costs are low – and ball behavior is outstanding.
Sublayer is an elastic layer, also known as e-layer, that boasts long-lasting elasticity. Sublayer is used underneath the carpet in some artificial turf systems. The sublayer is made of rubber granulate and polyurethane binder. Genan offers rubber granulate for sublayers in three standard sizes: COARSE, SUPER COARSE and ULTRA COARSE.
There are two main ways of making the elastic layer. An elastic layer can either be built in-situ – where rubber granules are mixed with 8-12% polyurethane binder – or made of pre-fabricated rubber mats. In both applications, Genan high-quality rubber granulate is used.
RUBBER FROM SCRAP TIRES IS IDEAL FOR E-LAYERS Coarse rubber granulate is a superior material used for elastic layers, as the elastic properties in rubber from scrap tires are the very best available on the market. Several decades of research in the tire industry has resulted in the development of a long-lasting, elastic material that is ideal for this particular purpose.
FAQ ABOUT SYNTHETIC TURF
What is artificial turf?
Artificial or synthetic turf is fake grass in the form of a synthetic grass carpet (turf yarn) with plastic grass blades supported by infill material – typically rubber granulate made from recycled end-of-life tires (ELT). Rubber infill ensures ball behavior comparable to that of natural grass – and its shock-absorbing effect helps protect players from injuries.
Why choose synthetic grass instead of natural grass?
Synthetic turf pitches are used for both football, baseball, lacrosse, soccer and rugby fields. Installing artificial turf fields has the advantage that you can play on them all the day long, all year round. Synthetic grass is less impacted by wear and tear, and maintenance is limited compared to the efforts necessary to keep a natural grass field in good shape.
Do soccer players get turf burns if they make sliding tackles?
No. Turf burns were one of the problems with the first two generations of artificial turf. However, third generation turf technology has solved this problem.
Do soccer players get scratches from steel in the infill?
No, Genan infill is clean and free from steel contamination.
Is there a risk of water contamination from a synthetic turf field?
A recent, international literature study made by the Danish Technological Institute (DTI) estimates the annual discharge to the aquatic environment to be in the 2.5-36 kg per pitch per annum interval. By following best practice guidelines on field design, maintenance as well as behavior / routines and habits of players and maintenance personnel, these limited quantities can be reduced to almost nothing.
How should a synthetic turf field be designed, used and maintained in order to avoid spreading of infill material to the environment?
Genan recommends the installation of barriers / infill fencing panels around synthetic turf fields – as well as “catch areas” with special mats along all four sides. Fields must be properly fenced in, with only a few entrances, and each entrance should have a clean-down exit area, where players are required to brush off their clothes and empty their shoes. In connection with field maintenance, special brushes must be used – and these brushes should only be used for this particular purpose.
Is the ball rebound the same as on natural turf?
The specification of synthetic turf is composed in order to simulate exactly the same rebound as on natural turf.
Are passes between players faster or slower on a synthetic turf field?
Most soccer players claim that ball speed is the same. A few players claim that the ball passes slightly faster on artificial turf.
Why has FIFA included artificial turf in its recommendations?
Synthetic turf is an economical solution because the turf can be used much more than natural turf. It can be played on all year round, regardless of weather conditions, and fields do not have to rest between matches as natural turf fields do, i.e. to protect the grass. Maintenance costs are much lower than for natural turf, and dependency on natural resources e.g. water is usually eliminated. Another very important issue for FIFA is the development of good soccer standards in the third world. In third-world countries, there are often insufficient resources to maintain natural turf fields, e.g. a lack of water and low maintenance budget. Artificial turf opens up for the development of many young talents in poor countries.
Can you play all year round on a synthetic turf pitch?
Yes. The only requirement is to remove snow.
What does it cost to maintain a synthetic turf field compared to natural turf?
Maintenance costs vary depending on local geography. As a rule of thumb, the more extreme the climate, the more you save by having artificial turf. In very cold and very dry climates, savings are enormous. Savings are considerable everywhere.
Is it true that both ball and players get dusty when playing on a synthetic turf pitch?
If Genan infill is used, no – because Genan infill material is dust-free.
Does playing on synthetic turf containing rubber infill imply a health risk?
Numerous scientific studies – both historic and recent – have established that rubber infill made from end-of-life tires does not pose any elevated health risk. In February 2017, the European Chemical Agency published its findings in a new, comprehensive study. ECHA “has found no reason to advise people against playing sports on synthetic turf containing recycled rubber granules as infill material”. This advice is based on ECHA’S evaluation “that there is a very low level of concern from exposure to substances found in the granules.
KEEPING RUBBER INFILL ON THE PITCH IS IMPERATIVE
For the sake of the environment – and to keep the need for granulate refill at a bare minimum – artificial turf fields should be constructed as well as maintained in a manner to ensure that rubber granules stay on the pitch.
As sustainability and climate-friendliness is all-important to Genan, we have made three different guides with our recommendations for the: • optimum construction and installation of synthetic turf fields, • optimum maintenance of synthetic turf fields, and • proper and responsible behavior on and around synthetic turf fields.
Genan has furthermore made a small video explaining the ins and outs of recycled crumb rubber for synthetic grass.
Genan’s recommendations are based on recent scientific reports – as well as common sense and care for the environment.
If an artificial turf field is constructed, maintained and used in accordance with these guides, the spreading of different types of microplastics from the pitch to the environment can be reduced to around 100 g a year.
STRIVING FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
Keeping rubber granulate on the synthetic turf field is paramount! For the sake of nature – but also to keep the need for granulate refill at an absolute minimum. Fortunately, simple measures make a huge difference – and we can all do something! Watch this video to see what Genan recommends – for a sustainable future…
EXPERIENCE FROM SWEDEN
In Sweden, different players joined forces in a research cooperation and constructed a reference pitch – Bergaviks IP – made as a closed system with preventive measures, filters etc.
Watch this film and hear the participants explain about the concept – and scroll down to download Ecoloop’s report on the project.
THE IMPORTANCE OF RUBBER INFILL
Infill is the most important factor influencing ball on the playing surface of a synthetic turf pitch.
Infill quality is paramount for meeting the performance criteria of a synthetic turf pitch – and is thus an extremely important ingredient for the image and perception of the playing surface.
So far, crumb rubber is the one type of infill material which ensures running characteristics and ball rebound similar to that of natural grass.
As granules will inevitably compact over time, infill must regularly be topped up to ensure optimum pitch performance. Yet, proper, regular maintenance in the form of pitch raking / brushing will ensure that such refill is kept at an absolute minimum – and is thus essential.
Synthetic grass fields should furthermore be constructed with proper fencing to keep infill material on the pitch, and players should brush off clothes and empty shoes before leaving the pitch.