As the debate concerning rubber crumb rumbles on and the UK Government continue to 'sit on the fence' - true, they have some other important matters to attend to - over in the USA, SportsField Management has taken a look at seven alternative infills for synthetic turf.
Several organic infills are available in the North American market, and all utilise different organic components, such as natural cork and/or ground fibres from the outside shell of the coconut. At the end of its life cycle, it can be recycled directly into the environment. There are concerns regarding heat and mold with organic infills, however.
2. Sand (Silica)
Pure silica sand is one of the original infilling materials utilised in synthetic turf. This product is a natural infill that is nontoxic, chemically stable and fracture-resistant. Silica sand infills are typically tan, off-tan or white and - depending on plant location - may be round or sub-round in particle shape. As a natural product, there is no possibility of heavy metals. It can be used in conjunction with many other infills on the market to provide a safe and more realistic playing surface. The round shape plays an integral part in the synthetic turf system. Silica sand can be coated with different materials as a standalone product, or can be used to firm up traditional crumb-rubber infill systems.
3. Nike Grind
This is a multi-coloured rubber made from 100 percent recycled athletic shoes. Made of contaminant-free recycled materials, a "slice-and-grind" technique is used, as each shoe is cut into three slices - rubber out-sole, foam mid-sole and fibre upper. These slices are then fed through grinders and refined for use
4. Coated Rubber
Both ambient and cryogenic rubber can be coated with colourants, sealers or antimicrobial substances if desired. Coated rubber provides additional aesthetic appeal, reduction of dust by-products during the manufacturing process and complete encapsulation of the rubber particle.
EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) is a polymer elastomer with high resistance to abrasion and wear and will not change its solid form under high temperatures. Typical EPDM colours are green and tan. EPDM has proved its durability as an infill product in all types of climates. Its better-thanaverage elasticity and resistance to atmospheric and chemical agents provide a stable, high-performance infill product.
Thermo plastic elastomer (TPE) infill is non-toxic, heavy-metal-free, available in a variety of colours that resist fading, long-lasting, and 100 percent recyclable and reusable as infill when the field is replaced. TPE infill, when utilising virgin-based resins, will offer consistent performance and excellent GMAX numbers over a wide temperature range.
7. Coated Silica Sand
Consisting of coated, high-purity silica sand with either a soft or rigid coating engineered for synthetic turf, these coatings are either elastomeric or acrylic (nontoxic) and form a bond with the sand grain sealing it from bacteria. Coated sand is available in various sizes to meet the application's needs. Depending on the amount and type of infill, coated sands can be used with or without a pad and are available in various colours. All of the coatings are nontoxic and are bonded to the quartz grain for durability.
SportsField Management are keen to point out that many of these alternative synthetic infills are more expensive than rubber crumb, and many lack long-range performance data.
You can read the original article from SportsField Management HERE