Strategy towards next generation artificial turf surfaces with lower risk of skin abrasion injury

One of the main concerns with artificial turf is the increased incidents of skin abrasions compared to natural grass. The aim of this study is to modify the main component material of the artificial turf yarns with grafted-from sulfobetaine methacrylate (SBMA) brushes so as to reduce skin-abrasion of these surfaces; and to investigate the significance of tribo-pairs in determining skin-friendliness of a surface. Standard stainless steel tribometer tips were not able to discern the effect of surface grafting whereas frictional measurements carried out using FIFA-recommended skin surrogates showed a decrease in the coefficient of friction (μ) of up to 77% from 1.33 to 0.30 for hydrated SBMA-modified substrates. This study introduced the use of an appropriate tribo-pair for skin-surface friction measurement that can potentially be used for quantifying the skin-friendliness of artificial sports surfaces. It has also provided a strategy that could lead to next generation artificial turfs with significantly reduced risk of abrasion injury.