Synthetic turf fields get hot. It’s a fact.
The fibers absorb and retain heat in a way that natural grass doesn’t. It’s important to note, however, that turf heat is NOT a player safety issue. Rather, it is a player comfort issue. Research has shown that while the fibers are hot, creating higher temperatures at ground and knee level, surface heat dissipates as it rises to chest and head levels, the areas critical for player safety.
The entire industry is working on the heat issue. Of course we all want to cool down fields for the comfort of players.
The Industry’s Solution:
Most turf companies attempt some form of heat reduction, and usually these efforts center around alternative infills. The truth is that there is no silver bullet. Not even we have it! So long as synthetic turf uses plastic fibers, there will be some heat that builds up on the surface. Moreover, many of the attempts others use to address climate change have side effects – some can float away, drive up the cost substantially, and many require extreme volumes of water.
Again, there is no magic pill. But AstroTurf’s R&D team has spent considerable time on the Heat issue. As we mentioned, the part of the field that really heats up are the fibers. To address fiber heat, we utilize AstroFlect® in some of our fibers. AstroFlect is an additive to the fibers that changes the fibers’ emissivity (that is, the amount of heat the fibers absorb and emit). By making the fibers reflect (rather than absorb) more sunlight, AstroFlect can cool fields by about 10%.
There are also some infills that can help cool the turf. One we are particularly excited about is ZeoFill, which we use in our Golden Series and other products where desired. ZeoFill absorbs water and slowly allows it to evaporate, which cools the turf over time without creating flash humidity like water on a hot pan. ZeoFill is inexpensive, natural, and does not require water to remain playable – major pluses! GreenPlay Organic infill is another very attractive option. While it requires some water and a bit more maintenance, it also provides incredibly grass like feel and performance!