Artificial Turf has always had one fatal design flaw since its first major showcase in the Houston Astrodome back in 1966. In the special circumstances of Houston, artificial turf for an indoor field is the best option, but what about outside? In modern times, it is common to see high school and colleges shifting from natural grass to artificial playing surfaces because of price, durability, and flexibility. In this blog, we will be discussing another frequently discussed topic in the turf industry: Heat and its effect on the playing surface.
Artificial Turf gets hot when exposed to direct sunlight, there is no avoiding that. The way that the turf currently conducts heat makes it a problem still being wrestled with by the innovators of the industry. There are many different types of infill that can be used, but the most common and economic is SBC Infill. SBC is recycled car tires that are chopped up into small chunks and spread over the field. Although SBC alone can become brutally hot, other additives can be mixed in to help create a cooler surface such as a silica sand. The mix of sand and rubber provides a proper balance of hardness and heat.
It is not recommended for field maintenance to water the field to cool it down. This is a huge misconception that can be dangerous to the athletes. When water is applied to the surface of the field, it can create the issue of steam and humidity for the athletes on the field. Like a golf course after an afternoon rain, the steam is overwhelming and unplayable, so don’t water the field!
Although artificial turf has potential to get hot, the pros far outweigh the cons. Between the overall convenience provided by the turf and the drainage capabilities, the temperature of the turf is not a major concern of consumers. Temperature will continue to be researched and developed in hopes of creating a temperature-controlled surface.