With artificial grass lawns now thoroughly sewn into the United States’ way of life, the most inquisitive minds may have wondered how something that starts as plastic yarn turns into a high-quality sports surface. To shed light on those questions, we’ve put together our definitive guide to how artificial turf is made.
The yarn a manufacturer chooses will offer a range of aesthetic and performance features, and will be either fibrillated or monofilament.
A sheet of plastic which is stretched and then split into individual narrow tapes. These are then slit in alternating positions to create a strong lattice structure within the yarn. When in use, the yarn splits into individual blades to produce a multi-filament appearance at the exposed surface, but maintains the lattice structure within the infill for stability.
Individually created filaments that are twisted or wrapped together during yarn manufacturing. The manufacturing process enables different profiles and thicknesses to be offered, which gives the potential to increase durability, change the speed and direction of ball roll, and improve aesthetic effect.
Monofilament yarn can be either straight or texturized and may or may not have a profile.
Texturization is a process whereby a straight yarn is heat-set to produce a tight, curly appearance. The result is a non-directional surface which prevents ball roll and bounce deviation for hockey and tennis, and can also be used to create a thatched-look layer for landscaping turfs.
The profile of a yarn relates to its shape. Different profiles can be created during the extrusion process if the yarn is extruded through a shaped die. A yarn profile can help to offer varying performance qualities to the yarn, including the provision of additional dimensional stability.
The type of polymer used and its profile can have a huge impact on the durability of the yarn, which in turn affects how durable the pitch or lawn will prove to be over time.
Once selected, yarn is tufted or woven into a backing fabric to create a ‘carpet’. A secondary backing, usually latex or PU, is then added to provide a strong and secure bind so the product will retain its shape and maintain durability in all weather conditions.
Manufacturers are constantly working to find a balance between quality and quantity and a strong, secure backing helps the turf to withstand as many playing hours as possible, whilst adding as little weight (and cost) as possible.
Completing the system
Once the carpet has been tufted or woven, backed, and packaged, it can then be taken to site where it takes a more familiar place as part of a full artificial turf system.
Generally, these systems fall into three categories, each of which affects how the turf will perform and what applications it will suit best:
The latest generation of artificial turf comprises a longer pile most suitable for football and soccer. The construction usually features advanced monofilament or fibrillated yarns, to which an infill is added for improved stability and interaction between player, ball and surface. Although it is the industry standard to use an SBR rubber crumb infill, there are a number of alternatives that can be used for 3G lawns, including TPE, EPDM or a natural infill (such as cork or zeofill).
Here the turf construction tends to be slightly less dense, so a light dressing of sand is infilled into the pile in order to assist with stability. Known for its resilience and ability to accommodate multiple sports, sand dressed turf is widely adopted within education and community sectors.
This type of system generally utilises less yarn in favour of additional infill, which creates an affordable system which can be used for a multitude of applications. With a medium density and pile height, these systems are heavily-filled with sand leaving only a very small amount of grass fiber exposed.
Given the number of materials used by manufacturers to construct artificial grass, each product will boast a range of difference performance traits and maintenance requirements. With that in mind, anyone planning to invest should consider their individual needs from the outset, as this will be crucial to choosing a surface that will give them maximum reward for their efforts.
Pacific Grass & Turf has been installing synthetic grass lawns for over 20 years. If you’re looking for artificial grass in Sacramento then contact us to see what a difference a synthetic lawn can make in your life.