Hardness safety testing of artificial turf

This paper compares four sport surface hardness impact test devices, for use on artificial turf (AT) surfaces to control safety. Sports governing bodies require sport surfaces to be assessed with the “Advanced Artificial Athlete” (AAA) mechanical test. The AAA data presented here demonstrate that this high energy test causes compaction of the particulate rubber infill during testing, such that the derived “field test value” is less relevant to the initial state of the surface and arguably also to player comfort. This paper reports on alternative impact test methods and their correlation to the AAA, including a novel comparison to the more portable Fieldtester. The potential use of a lightweight 0.5 kg Clegg Hammer for assessing the change in state of the infill and monitoring the effectiveness of field maintenance is also reported. These results expand our understanding of factors influencing surface hardness and safety, with useful implications for practitioners.