Anderson_et_al-2018-Sports_Engineering.pdf (1.56 MB)

Novel field equipment for assessing the stability of natural and hybrid turfs

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journal contribution
posted on 29.05.2018, 13:44 by Frazer Anderson, Paul Fleming, Paul Sherratt, Kathryn A. Severn
Natural turf pitches are used for many outdoor sports. Turf is a complex network of interacting organic material, soil textures and water content. Turf is susceptible to damage under large surface forces, caused by intensive player movements in rugby union and football. To assess and monitor surface stability, there needs to be a reliable test method for ground staff and other stakeholders. At present, no turf stability mechanical test method exists that represents player–surface interaction, especially to represent a linear movement across the surface such as in a rugby scrummage. This paper describes the development of a novel device for assessing turf stability. Verification was undertaken in the laboratory on a variety of controlled soil samples, and during a field study. The device measurements were shown to be sensitive to the shear strength of a high clay content soil at varying water content and to the density and type of sandy soils. A programme of field data on high quality pitches suggested a large effect of the turf root reinforcement. A conceptual model of soil failure induced by the device was developed to identify the key soil variables and support experimental data interpretation.


The project was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering at Loughborough University for provision of a grant (number EPG037272) to undertake the research project in collaboration with Labosport UK



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

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Sports Engineering


ANDERSON, F.D. al., 2018. Novel field equipment for assessing the stability of natural and hybrid turfs. Sports Engineering, 21 (4), pp.321–331.


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