Synthetic Lawns by Ameriturf Systems
Artificial Grass has been the latest trend at creating a sustainable, non-water using, and multi functional-surface.
Artificial Grass was ushered in during the late 50’s as a means to create “green-spaces” in inner-cities, allowing for increased activity in young boys, thus creating higher scores for physical fitness entrance exams for Selective Services.
Synthetic Lawn's became extremely popular during the 70s & 80s, but low technology coupled with constant athlete injuries & complaints of poor performance caused a backlash of artificial grass surfaces. During this era, most artificial grass surfaces were marketed as Astro Turf. These significant steps backward lead to the exit of artificial grass from collegiate & professional sports.
The New Generation of Artificial Grass
Today Synthetic Lawn grass is softer, safer & being used in a multitude of functions. The manufacturing process & technology of synthetic fibers has driven the artificial grass industry to new heights. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_fibers
With artificial grass products being used in applications such as:
Synthetic grass lawns & landscaping
Artificial grass sports field
Artificial grass playgrounds
Artificial grass putting greens
Artificial grass for dogs & dog parks
Residential Artificial Turf
The structural make-up of artificial grass is comprised of 3-main components:
• Fibers or grass blades
The Truth About Artificial Grass Fibers, (Nylon v Polyethylene v Polypropylene)
The artificial grass fibers, or synthetic fibers, are traditionally from the olefin family, and include Polyethylene & Polypropylene. Other fibers such as Nylon come from the generic term polyamides.
Nylon Artificial Grass Fibers
The strongest and the most expensive fiber is nylon. Furthermore, holds color longer, has greater resistance to wear, and a far higher melt point than traditional olefins with nylon melt points starting at 375°F to 663°F or 190°C to 350° Nylon’s one weak point is Hygroscopy, the ability of a substance to attract water molecules from the surrounding environment through either absorption or adsorption (Source Wikipedia).
What this means: If you’re an architect or specifier and thinking of using artificial grass for say a k9-park or dog-park, then nylon would be the wrong component in the Synthetic lawn. The absorption of urine and other odor caring liquids would be prevalent.
However, nylon has many other valuable properties such as the ability to hold shape and great when used in artificial grass lawns or landscape areas where the homeowner doesn’t want infill materials, less the animals.
Polyethylene Artificial Grass Fibers (PE)
Polyethylene (PE) is a very resilient product and has great colorfast. Very durable and makes up about 16% of all plastic extrusions and moldings and range from plastic sheeting, plastic bags & even children’s playground-slides. It has a much lower melt point than say nylon, with PE melt point starting at 120 to 130 °C (250 to 265 °F) The wear characteristics are not as impressive as nylon or polypropylene.
However, PE has a great “hand” or softness to the touch and makes is an ideal component for artificial grass.
PE’s final compliments are inability to absorb moisture & UV stabilization, which makes it ideal at mitigating bacteria-growth & odor build-up.
Polypropylene Artificial Grass Fibers (PP)
Polypropylene (PP) typically is the most prevalent and common low-end and inexpensive plastic. PP is most commonly used for plastic moldings where it is injected into a mold while molten, forming complex shapes at relatively low cost and high volume, examples include bottle tops, bottles and fittings. It carries a great bit of flexibility coupled with strength.
PP would have its greatest exposure in ubiquitous “out-door” green carpet, sold in most home improvement stores by the roll.
PP’s downfall comes in the colorfastness and UV breakdown. To prevent UV breakdown, typically carbon black is added as a stabilizer. However, black artificial grass would be very undesirable.
Nylon: strongest, most expensive, highest melt point, greatest UV stability. Weak point: can absorb moisture can hold odor in pet and k9 turf situations.
Polyethylene: Can be soft, UV stable, non-absorbing, good colorfast, cost effective. Weak points: not as durable as nylon and many fillers can be added to cheapen product.
Polypropylene: Inexpensive, fairly strong. Weak points: Limited UV stability, not soft to touch, generally viewed as the low-end spectrum of fiber/plastic products.