About the author
While I was watching a Champions’ League football match recently, the commentator talked about the synthetic turf present in the stadium. I had previously heard of it, but had never tried to understand deeply what it was, so this was the moment I decided to start my research.
What is it?
Artificial turf, also called synthetic grass, is a surface of synthetic fibres that looks like natural grass at first sight. Initially used for sports pitches, today it is more requested by individuals and businesses: as a lawn, on the terrace, near the pool – its uses are many and varied.
Fibres that compose synthetic grass exist in different materials:
1) Polypropylene (PP), (C3H6)n :
thermoplastic polymer used in many applications, for example: food packaging, car bumpers. A cheap and electrical insulator, it is UV-sensitive, stiff and brittle at low temperature.
2) Polyethylene (PE), (C2H4)nH2 :
a thermoplastic polymer, this is the most common plastic. It is present in supermarket bags, shampoo bottles. Cheap, but more expensive than PP, it is UV-resistant, pliable and resistant at low temperature.
3) Polyamide (PA):
a polymer containing monomers of amides. More expensive, stiffe than PE, it is UV-resistant, strong and durable.
Economical: a synthetic turf requires almost no maintenance costs and no need to water.
Ready to use: No need to wait until the grass has grown enough before using it.
Safe: skid-proof in wet areas.
Water- permeable: a synthetic turf carpet is equipped with drainage holes. In case of heavy rains, the water drains through enough
Damage: the carpet of synthetic grass is sensitive to dirt: mud, dirty shoes.
Freezing: the carpet hardens when there is frost and ice.
Crumb rubber: most of the synthetic turfs in sport contain recycled crumb rubber, which is made of used tyres. . This recycled rubber contains many toxic chemicals that are thought to have an impact on health.
Life expectancy: after a decade, the synthetic grass is damaged and must be changed.
Despite its pros and cons, artificial turf is used more and more. In the United States, it is used in public places, such as areas around airports, mainly because it attracts fewer birds.