More than ten years ago, NPR published an article about extreme temperatures on synthetic playing fields during warm and sunny days. The article referenced the research of a Columbia University scientist who looked at thermal images of New York City in an effort to figure out how trees could cool down urban neighborhoods during the middle of summer. In his research, he noticed that there were some hot spots that he assumed were rooftops. After visiting those hot spots, though, he discovered that a third of them were actually turf fields.
Synthetic turf fields that have crumb rubber turf infill to cushion the turf may be a potential risk for increased turf temperatures. The NYC Health Department says that adverse health consequences, including dehydration, heat stroke, and thermal burns, can manifest when surface temperature is too high. The article focused on the need for alternatives to crumb rubber turf infill systems to reduce risk as crumb rubber allows for heat absorption that causes surface temperature to spike.
It’s Been Ten Years. Extreme Heat Is Still a Concern
There are a number of reasons why park and schools administrators might decide to construct a synthetic turf field. The upkeep is relatively minimal and turf fields can be used in a wide variety of environments. However, heat is a concern, which is why those in charge must put careful consideration into what kind of turf infill they use to cushion the turf and protect those who are using it.
In 2015, Sports Lab USA performed a comprehensive lab study comparing temperatures between Greenplay® Corkonut® turf infill, crumb rubber infill, and natural grass. The researchers used sensors to record the surface temperature over the course of 3.5 hours. After 3.5 hours, the natural grass was the coolest at 141.9°F. Greenplay’s Corkonut® followed closely behind at 159.3°F. The crumb rubber infill system ended up being by far the hottest at 206.3°F. These results were recently validated on an actual field installation at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in September of 2017 where the air temperature was in excess of 90°F. The temperature of an adjacent natural grass field measured 105°F and the temperature of the artificial turf field with Greenplay® measured only 116°F.
Those looking for an infill system for their synthetic turf fields will find that natural and organic Greenplay® artificial grass infill more than meets the challenge of preventing extreme surface heat. Greenplay® infill ensures turf systems remain within 20°F of natural grass. In addition to that, Greenplay® turf infill features ideal Gmax ratings to reduce the risk of injury, is environmental sustainable, and is built to last. If you are looking for an alternative to traditional infill systems that can simply get too hot on warm sunny days, Greenplay® is the answer!