High surface temperatures on artificial sport pitches: Potential for design improvement
Matej Gustin, Loughborough University
High surface temperatures are currently the main issue affecting artificial sport pitches. Numerous sources in different countries reported surface temperatures on artificial pitches rising up to 90-95°C on hot days, which rises numerous concerns about health risks for players. This represents a problem especially in hot climates, where high surface temperatures could arise for a significant part of the year. This study investigated the key factors that are affecting the surface temperatures of artificial pitches and evaluated different materials and solutions to improve the design of artificial pitches and mitigate the surface temperatures.
The continuous measurements of the surface temperatures, together with the data from the weather station, showed that the surface of the artificial pitch is warming up and cooling down very quickly, with a maximum rate of 2.5-3.0°C per minute. The multiple regression with the environmental data showed that the solar radiation is the main environmental factor affecting the surface temperatures, followed by the air temperature. The sensitivity analyses performed with the numerical model pointed out that the key parameters of the pitch that are affecting the surface temperatures are the reflectivity of the surface and the thermal conductivity of the infill.
Different solutions were identified and tested with parametric tests. The coated thermally conductive TPE and sandy clay infills showed that a potential reduction of 18-23% of the surface temperatures could be achieved, compared to the standard black crumb rubber infill. Additionally, this study identified the limits of the current design, and showed where future research is considered to be of merit in order to solve the overheating problems.