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. The coolest field is the natural choice and SuperNatural is the ultimate hybrid infill. It is based on proven Melos technology combined with renewable raw materials. Basically, organic hemp is woven inside high quality EPDM. The hemp wicks water, so SuperNatural absorbs water to lower temperatures. The hemp fibers reduce the weight and provide cost savings. It also offers shock attenuation which means no pad is required.
SuperNatural’s cooling effect is a process dictated by nature as moisture is absorbed. Water is absorbed and stored when it is damp, only to be released again for cooling purposes when conditions are warm and dry. This hybrid infill absorbs moisture from the environment. A short rain shower, fine droplets of morning dew or atmospheric humidity are quite sufficient. Of course, the artificial turf can be deliberately watered to exploit the benefits for the system. Every bound droplet of water requires plenty of energy in order to evaporate, and this energy is taken from the environment in the form of heat. The human body cools down in the same way, through skin perspiration.
There are also some other infills that can help cool the artificial grass. One we are particularly excited about is ZChill. ZChill is a Zeolite mineral infill. The honeycomb molecular shape of the mineral allows it to absorb and slowly release water for noticeably cooler field temperatures (up to 40 degrees cooler!) It’s available in full depth or as field topping (called ZCap). No water is required to maintain the integrity of the product. Sourced from the Southwestern United States, ZChill 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!