Structure of a Field
What's in a Turf System: Structure of a field
An artificial turf field is divided into a substructure and superstructure. The substructure consists of the drainage, the base, a sport-technical layer and a geotextile membrane. The visible part of the pitch, the superstructure, consists of the grass carpet and the infill. A diagram of the structure of the pitch is shown on the right. A brief description of the different components of a field is given below.
Most sports fields have a drainage system. These consist of underground pipes that drain off surplus water as soon as the groundwater level rises, preventing the field from flooding.
The sub-base and earthwork vary from continent to continent and country to country and even region to region. The advantage of a well planned base is that it does not have to be rebuilt each time the turf itself is replaced. A good stable and suitable base is extremely important for the overall quality of the pitch and its lifespan. A well constructed base consists in most cases of a porous drained sub-structure (except in countries with hot climates). The base must have sufficient load bearing capacity to support the playing surface and any machinery used to maintain the field without any deformation. The sub-base is usually made of crushed stone aggregates or asphalt.
The sport-technical layer is between the base and the grass carpet and it affects the way the ball behaves and how the players interact with the turf. This layer determines the stability of the field to a large extent. A good sport-technical layer prevents bumps in the pitch and helps to prevent injuries. This layer consists in some countries as a mixture of sand, lava rocks and/or rubber. Fields with a "hard base" (base made from materials other than sand) are in most cases installed with an e-layer (elastic pad). An e-layer is an elastic rubber layer, 10 to 20 mm thick, which has the same function and properties as a sport-technical layer.
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