The Synthetic Turf Council actively collects white papers and other technical presentations on a variety of topics within the industry. If you are working on a project, or have something that you wish to share, we encourage you to submit your final document(s) on one or more of the following subjects:
Industrial adhesives, products not found in home supply stores, are used to bond synthetic turf seams and inserts, and, in some applications, a total glue down of the synthetic turf to the base. Synthetic turf adhesives should be applied by experienced, professional installers. The adhesives should provide a strong, hazard-free, and durable bond between adjacent turf panels or sections and to be usable for installation under variable weather conditions. The adhesive should also be resistant to water, fungus, and mildew. Synthetic turf adhesives include: one-part adhesives (urethane), two-part (epoxy or urethane), hot melt, and water-based (latex) and one-part, solvent/isocyanate free adhesive (SMP).
The aggregate base on which the synthetic turf is installed provides a structurally sound foundation for field construction, and a media for drainage of the field. The base is designed to ensure that once the field is in place, it never moves. A good geotechnical report will provide essential information for a firm and stable base for the synthetic turf.
An efficient and effective underground drainage system is an integral component of a synthetic turf system, and is designed to carry away the water that percolates through the turf. The system chosen will depend on the use of the field, climate, amount of rainfall and other factors.
Typically, the fiber used in synthetic turf is textured and/or non-textured polypropylene, polyethylene, nylon, or other suitable performing hybrid or copolymer in tape form or mono-filament. Minimum fiber sizes are 50 microns for polypropylene or polyester, 100 microns for tape form (slit film) polyethylene, 140-300 form mono-filament polyethylene (shape dependent), and 500 denier for nylon. Fibers should be compliant with ASTM guideline for total lead content.
Synthetic turf is growing in popularity as a sports field, landscape, and recreation alternative to natural grass because it allows for virtually unlimited hours of safe practice and play time; remains resilient, well-draining, and grass-like even in adverse climactic conditions; significantly reduces cost of regular maintenance; and eliminates need for pesticides and fertilizers. However, in direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day in the summer months, the upper layer of the synthetic turf that is exposed to the sun’s rays will get significantly hotter than grass. So on a hot, sunny day, in addition to taking proper precautions to minimize their risk of heat exhaustion, heat stroke or other heat-related health complications regardless of the playing surface, those who play on synthetic turf should consider the practical risk avoidance strategies recommended in this STC guidance document, "Guidelines for Maintenance of Infilled Synthetic Turf Sports Fields".
The most recent generation of synthetic turf systems utilizes a long pile height and needs to be supported with infill materials for directional stability and structural integrity, as well as resiliency. The infill materials commonly used are sand, rubber, other suitable materials, or combinations thereof.
Sprinklers and irrigation systems are used for cooling and control of static electricity and dust in synthetic turf systems.
As the fastest growing segment of the market, today’s landscape synthetic grass options include numerous innovations formulated specifically for use with lawns, areas where children and pets play, public spaces and much more.
Maintaining a synthetic turf field is essential for optimum appearance, safety, playing performance, and field longevity. A regular schedule of maintenance should include surface cleaning, debris removal, grooming, and infill redistribution and de-compaction. The maintenance procedures and equipment, as specified by the synthetic turf systems builder and required for the system, should be evaluated during the selection process so that the appropriate budget resources for manpower and equipment may be allocated. Note: Refer to the Synthetic Turf Council’s Suggested Guidelines for the Maintenance of Infilled Synthetic Turf Surfaces, April 2007, for additional information.
Lines and markings, such as sport specific game lines, logos, and numbers, should be applied to the synthetic turf surface in one of three methods: with colored fiber that is either tufted or knitted into the synthetic turf panels during the manufacturing process, installed as inlays, or with temporary or permanent paint that is approved for use on synthetic turf surfaces. Painted lines and markings installed with either permanent or temporary paint require maintenance. Even permanently painted lines require additional paint on a periodic basis.
What happens with synthetic turf once it reaches the end of its useful life? What options are available to avoid the landfill? One of the challenges the synthetic turf industry is working on is determining how best to manage the removal and disposition of synthetic turf once it has reached the end of its useful life, or “End of Life” (EOL).
Shock attenuation pads offer an added level of protection and consistent playability to the playing surface and are designed to contribute to a safe g-max level throughout a synthetic turf field’s life. Roll out or panel systems are relatively economical and offer ease of installation. Pads can be permeable or impermeable. Some can replace all or portions of the stone base and provide both shock attenuation and drainage, while others are used in combination with a traditional stone and drainage base. Pads can be placed directly over asphalt or cement stabilized surfaces. Provided care is taken in the turf install/removal process, some last more than one turf life cycle. Some pads are made from recycled materials, while others are made from virgin materials and may be recyclable. Elastic layers (E-layers) are poured in-place (in situ) pads and must be installed by specialty contractors. They are completely permeable and are typically comprised of rubber granulate and polyurethane binder