Mechanical characterization and numerical modelling of rubber shockpads in 3G artificial turf

Third generation (3G) artificial turf systems use in sporting applications is increasingly prolific. These multi-component systems are comprised of a range of polymeric and elastomeric materials that exhibit non-linear and strain rate dependent behaviours under the complex loads applied from players and equipment. To further study and better understand the behaviours of these systems, the development of a numerical model to accurately predict individual layers’ behaviour as well as the overall system response under different loading conditions is necessary. The purpose of this study was to characterise and model the mechanical behaviour of a rubber shockpad found in 3G artificial surfaces for vertical shock absorption using finite element analysis. A series of uniaxial compression tests were performed to characterise the mechanical behaviour of the shockpad. Compression loading was performed at 0.9 Hz to match human walking speeds. A Microfoam material model was selected from the PolyUMod library and optimised using MCalibration software before being imported into ABAQUS for analysis. A finite element model was created for the shockpad using ABAQUS and a compressive load applied to match that of the experimental data. Friction coefficients were altered to view the effect on the loading response. The accuracy of the model was compared using a series of comparative measures including the energy loss and root mean square error.