The Lisport Test

How long will a synthetic turf playing field last?  What happens at the end of a turf fields lifespan?  These are some common questions especially amongst environmentalists who are informed about waste, landfills, recycling, and the limited resources we all have as a society.  In the previous post we looked at how sport influences the yarn fibers of synthetic turf playing fields.  Different sports require different years and playing surfaces so the product array varies greatly across the athletic sporting market.  Just as turf fields differ depending on what sport they are being used for the same rings true with product lifespan.  Different fields will have different lifespans depending on the sport being played upon them..

The Lisport test is widely accepted as the best means of predicting the performance of synthetic turf systems over time, and comparing one system against another. It involves rolling and sliding studded cylinders (one in front of the other) over a narrow swatch of turf. One trip down the turf (known as a cycle) simulates one hour of use by athletes wearing cleats. The turf is then inspected every 2,000 cycles for such wear indicators as fiber splitting and matting. Assuming a field is used 40 hours per week for 52 weeks, it will log 2,080 hours of use per year.

Manufacturers should be able to provide buyers with the minimum number of Lisport test cycles their products are subject to, or how well specific field designs have actually fared when tested. A quality field should exhibit fiber integrity and resilience after 20,000 or more testing cycles. Some field designs have been tested to 100,000 cycles without exhibiting significant failure.

The synthetic turf space is a rough-and-tumble industry that’s constantly changing and evolving.  It all begins and ends with the quality of raw materials. Coming from the chemistry side, we have always known there’s a better solution in terms of the chemistry to make the grass stand up longer and be more durable.  That’s always going to be the goal – how can we improve the grass so that it’s more durable?  With a healthy market and a growing industry the use of chemistry to create lush long lasting playing fields is finally a reality.