Artificial grass: a conceptual model for degradation in performance

Artificial grass pitches (AGPs), with long fibres and sand and rubber infill, have seen growth within many sports at both professional and community levels. Academic research has tended to focus on athleticism, injuries and the development of equipment and test standards, while research and development for the turf, infill and shockpad layers has generally been undertaken by the manufacturers. This has led to an under researching and / or reporting of the factors influencing AGP degradation and the subsequent effects on pitch performance. Long term testing has shown that as rubber filled AGPs age their performance worsens; they generally become harder and play faster with ball roll often reported as one of the first standards to be affected. This paper presents a hypothesised model to describe the numerous factors causing degradation and their effects on performance. It is designed as a useful tool for research aimed at assessing and improving current maintenance operations which will ultimately lead to increasing the useful life of AGPs.