Skin friction related behaviour of artificial turf systems

The occurrence of skin friction related injuries is an issue for artificial turf sports pitches and remains a barrier to their acceptance. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the current industry standard Securisport® Sports Surface Tester that measures skin surface related frictional behaviour of artificial turf. Little research has been published about the device and its efficacy, despite its widespread use as a standard FIFA test instrument. To achieve a range of frictional behaviours, several “third generation” (3G) carpet and infill combinations were investigated; friction time profiles throughout the Securisport rotations were assessed in combination with independent measurements of skin roughness before and after friction testing via 3D surface scanning. The results indicated that carpets without infill had greatest friction (coefficients of friction 0.97–1.20) while those completely filled with sand or rubber had similar and lower values independent of carpet type (coefficient of friction (COF) ≈0.57). Surface roughness of a silicone skin (s-skin) decreased after friction testing, with the largest change on sand infilled surfaces, indicating an “abrasive” polishing effect. The combined data show that the s-skin is damaged in a surface-specific manner, thus the Securisport COF values appear to be a poor measure of the potential for skin abrasion. It is proposed that the change in s-skin roughness improves assessment of the potential for skin damage when players slide on artificial turf.