What is artificial turf?

Aayushee Ghorpade

Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute,Mumbai


The development of something innovative comes with the need to fulfil the downside of the existing. Artificial sport surfaces proved to be a better counterpart of natural grass in terms of maintenance and cost. Artificial sport surfaces can be a permanent or roll-unroll type to accommodate various sports indoors and outdoors(especially soccer and hockey). On the contrary textiles offer enhanced durability, wear resistance and clean ability unlike natural grass.

Also, these are all weather playing surfaces with constant performance and less rate of injuries than grasslands. Usually, the life of a turf is at least a decade and requires no cutting or watering.

On the contrary, artificial turf is likely to get hotter in the mid-day sun and also discharges an abundant amount of  greenhouse gases causing depletion of the ozone layer.


The artificial turf is a layered composition comprising of :

1) Fibrous pile or felted top surface

2) Backing Cloth or base fabric to which top surface is attached

3) Cushioning or shock absorbent layer

4) Solid base layer with drainage provision

Fibrous Pile or Felted top surface -

Basically, two types of textile products have found room for the replacement of natural grass : them being textile pile carpet type surfaces and felt like textile surfaces.

The pile fibres are tape like fibres made up of either polyamide nylon or nylon 6,6 which are manufactured by either cutting of thin sheets in strips or extruded through moulds with an oval or round cross-section into a monofilament ribbon like shape.

The felt is usually made of densely needle punched synthetic fibres such as PP/PE which are fusion-welded to the back cloth to prevent fibre loss.

The pile fibres are crimped to improve resiliency, increase density for uniform and consistent bouncing of ball, a better foot grip in all directions along with enhanced strength and wear resistance. 

In some applications, acrylic fibres are needled into a woven polypropylene base fabric which is laid on a polyester layer mounted on a concrete base.

Backing cloth -

Backing cloth is a tough base fabric to which the top fibrous assembly is attached. 

It is usually made of polyester tire cord yarns for superior quality and strength, along with water permeability through the fabric.

Cushioning or Shock absorbent layer -

Shock absorbent layer is a fibrous(polyester) or rubber like foam under pad which enables cushioning providing safety against hard falls or running with perforations for water seepage. The foam is prepared with a closed-cell polymer alloy like polyurethane or solid PVC which is 1/2 inch in height.

Solid Supporting base:

The whole assembly is mounted on a firm concrete or asphalt substrate with a provision for drainage. Superior Quality supporting base is the priority for ground installations.


  • The technologies involved in the manufacturing process are extrusion,knitting,stitch bonding,coating and tufting.
  • Firstly, the ingredients are mixed together in a hopper. To this mixture, colorants which are inert and enable protection against ultraviolet rays and various weather conditions are added for improved colour and light fastness properties. Although green is predominant, artificial surfaces can be made in any colour.
  • This mixture is then blended thoroughly in a  huge steel mixer until it has a thick and flattery consistency.
  • The coagulated liquid is then fed to an extruder for the formation of thin elongated strands of filaments.
  • Then the filaments are positioned on a card and spun into a loose rope. Many such ropes are pulled, straightened, and woven into yarn and  then wound onto large spools. The yarn is then heated for providing the twisted effect.
  • Then at the back of a tufting machine, the yarn is placed on a bar with skewers and is fed to the tufting needle via a pipe. The needle pierces into the backing cloth and pushes the yarn into the loop. 
  • A looper or flat hook, seizes and releases the loop of the yarn while the needle moves back upwards and the backing is shifted forward for the needle to pierce again.
  • This process then continues for several hundred needles and several hundred rows of stitches are carried out per minute.
  • The stitching threads should exactly match the colour of the turf along with having high strength and weather resistant properties.
  • The backing cloth along with the fibrous assembly and another strong shock absorbent layer are glued with the help of latex on a marriage roller and placed under heat lamps for uniform sealing.
  • Any tufts that rise above its surface are then cut off and the turf is rolled into large lengths ,packed and shipped.


Installation process is the backbone for a larger life span of artificial turf facilitated with proper drainage below the turf, since the underlying surface can absorb rainwater(in case of outdoors).

The base which is either concrete or compacted soil is first leveled by a bulldozer and then by a steam roller. The turf is then rolled out and glued with a special bonding agent at line of stitching and then attached to the ground with long steel shafts.

The turf systems can be filled or unfilled. A filled system has fillings of materials such as crumbled cork, rubber pellets or sand which are spread over the turf to give natural grass-like effect. However, these filling materials may break down or get contaminated with dirt.


  • The artificial turf market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.8% from 2017 to reach USD 4.45 billion by 2022. 
  • The demand for artificial grass is projected to grow due to the growing number of sports fields and pitches around the globe and development of different solutions for producing infill materials and yarn technology.
  • The key players are DowDuPont (US), Tarkett (France), Controlled Products (US), Shaw IndustriesGroup (US), and Victoria PLC (UK).

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