Lano - Developing an Environmentally-Friendly Artificial Turf without Infill (2007 - 2009)

The project aims at developing an ecofriendly artificial turf to replace the current (third generation) artificial turf. The current artificial turf consists of long pile carpet with a sand or rubber infill.

The currently used SBR rubber infill is obtained by grinding tires. Studies have revealed that this can cause environmental risks. Hence a task group has been set up in the European standardisation commission (CEN TC 217) to create a standard for the infill of artificial turf.

The following environmental aspects are dealt with:
• leaching and particularly the leaching of zinc is a problem
• creation of dust
• volatile organic components (VOCs)
• skin contact and possible latex allergy
• odour nuisance when warm weather

Often an additional problem is reported in the rubber sticking to the shoes and carried along in canteens, showers, washing machines, … and in that way ending up in the waste water.

Moreover, the black colour causes a considerable heating of the temperature. At 30°C the contact temperature of rubber can increase to 65°C. The rubber industry tries to remedy the environmental aspects by introducing new kinds of infill (vulcanised thermoplasts (TPE or TPV), EPDM rubber, PU coated SBR rubber,...). However, these new kinds of infill keep causing problems such as creation of dust, granules that keep sticking to players’ feet and hence end up in the waste water.

The aim of this study is to develop artificial turf without infill, the so-called fourth generation of artificial turf. To this end, a shock absorbing polymer foam will be developed. In the current artificial turf the pile is kept upright by the infill but this will be no longer possible. For that reason, a system of filling yarns will need to be developed in order to keep the pile upright. The shock absorption will completely depend on the foam layer instead of the rubber granules.


Contact:

Prof. dr. Dagmar D'Hooge (dagmar.dhooge@UGent.be)
Lic. Stijn Rambour (Stijn.Rambour@UGent.be)