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Advanced measurement for sports surface system behaviour under mechanical and player loading

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posted on 22.11.2013, 16:08 authored by Xinyi Wang
This research project has investigated the mechanical behaviour of artificial turf surface systems used for sports under a range of real player movements, and the contribution of component layers to the overall system response by developing advanced measurement systems and methods. Artificial turf surface systems are comprised of a number of different materials and commonly with several layers, all of which contribute to their composite behaviour. During sports movements a player loads the surface, resulting in deformation that can change the surface behaviour, which in turn modifies the player biomechanical response. Improving the understanding of surface response to actual player loading is important for developing enhanced products for improving play performance. Likewise, by improving knowledge of surface effects on players, the understanding of injury risk can be improved. However, there is currently no published research to measure and analyse the behaviour of artificial turf system during real player locomotion. This research was undertaken to address this current lack of knowledge within the interaction between player and sports surface regarding the effects of player loading on the mechanical behaviour of artificial turf systems. In addition to support player loading regime, mechanical behaviour of hockey and third generation artificial turf surface systems and their component shockpad layers (a rubber shreds bonded shockpad and a polyurethane foam shockpad) was examined through dynamic cyclic compressive loading using an advanced material testing machine in laboratory environment. Each layer and carpet-shockpad system was subjected to controlled loading designed with previous biomechanical data at various loading frequencies (0.9 Hz, 3.3 Hz and 10 Hz) and under two different contact areas (50 mm and 125 mm diameter) to simulate aspects of player walking, running and sprinting. All layers and surface systems tested showed nonlinear stress-strain behaviour with hysteresis. Increasing the contact area resulted in reduced surface vertical deflection and more linear response. Increasing the loading frequency led to stiffer response in the lower stress range (< 400 kPa) for all surface systems. The third generation artificial turf systems showed also an increase in stiffness at higher stress range (> 600 kPa) and a decrease in maximum strain as the loading frequency increased. Hysteresis loops obtained at different loading frequencies indicated that the amount of energy lost at the same peak load of 1900 N in each surface system decreased with an increase in loading rate. Player loading regime was performed to quantify the load/stress and the resulting surface deformation/strain under subject loading. Measurement systems including motion capture system, force plate and high speed were developed to characterise the response behaviour in a novel way. The mechanical behaviour of artificial turf surface systems under three player movement patterns (heel-toe walking, forefoot running and forefoot single leg landing) was measured. Boot-surface contact area of each movement varied during the stance. The heel-toe walking results indicated that the maximum applied stress and surface strain occurred in very early stance (first 10%) when the boot-surface contact area was small. For forefoot running and landing, the peak surface strain occurred around mid-stance concurrent with the time of peak applied stress. The maximum strain measured under running was smaller than under landing. A thin-film pressure sensing mat was used in both mechanical and player loading regimes and proved to be a useful tool for evaluating the pressure distributions and contact areas at different interfaces of the surface system. The applied stress on surface was observed to greatly reduce with depth over increasing contact area through the surface systems. Although the average pressure was reduced, pressure distribution contour showed directly under the surface load area the pressure at depth was still relatively large and that outside of this area the pressure was much lower. A comparison of the mechanical behaviour of artificial turf systems in terms of compressive strain, modulus of elasticity, stress distribution and energy loss under mechanical and player loading was evaluated. Key loading parameters in different loading regimes and their influence on surface system response were determined. The structure and material intrinsic properties of shockpad were considered to further explain the observed surface system behaviour. Two mathematical models were used to fit through the experimental data and found to be able to describe the loading behaviour. A breakthrough in understanding of the effects of real player loading on the mechanical behaviour response of artificial turf systems, and the contribution of the components to the whole system response has been achieved through the development of advanced measurement techniques.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


© Xinyi Wang

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.