Last Updated on February 17, 2022 by ReTurf

Ah, the age-old question, what is artificial turf? Well, maybe not “age-old,” but when considering artificial turf for your application, understanding what exactly it is will be key.

At its core, artificial turf is artificial grass. A man-made synthetic fiber that is meant to mimic the looks or quality of grass. For turf, in particular, it mimics much more than just looks, it also encompasses the feel, rebound, and traction of natural grass.

What Is Artificial Turf Made Of?

This was first introduced as Astroturf back in 1966 at the Houston Astrodome. This first-generation artificial turf was in its most basic form. A short-pile carpet that was backed by foam.

As technologies progressed, modern artificial turf is leaps and bounds away in terms of build materials, qualities, and designs. The grass fibers are made from polypropylene, polyethylene, or nylon. This backing material is a polypropylene or polyester fabric. This fabric can be either woven or unwoven, but in both cases, the artificial grass blades are “tufted” into this backing material.

Tufting is a well-known process of weaving that has been used for ages in the textile industry.

To create a more natural rebound, or cushion, effect with modern artificial turf, a layer called thatching or root-zone is installed. This is also created using synthetic fibers but is packed in at the base of the grass blades. This layer (not available in all turf types) performs a couple of jobs. It offers that cushion, but it also helps support the grass blades and offers better utilization of the infill material.

What is infill?

Infill is a granulated material that consists of rubber and/or silica. This is placed over the top of fresh installed artificial grass. The purpose of infill is to help support the individual blades of grass. This is another component responsible for creating the “natural feel” of artificial turf.

What Are Some Difference Between New and Used Turf?

The primary differences between new and used turf are in the qualities that appear with the used variation. The individual grass blades of used turf split. When these blades split, they also curl. (A comparison is shown below). This curl is one of the most desired effects of used turf. This is because it is far softer to the touch versus new.

Why Is Artificial Turf Used?

Artificial turf has some qualities that make it a highly sought-after surface material for those instances where heavy use occurs. Primarily, the professional sports world utilizes this because it can handle the regular abuse of games, while at the same time requiring no irrigation or “trimming”. This results in a more cost-effective strategy for such uses versus¬† that of natural grass. These qualities are also what make it highly sought-after by those outside of the sports world as well.