Artificial grass is a material that imitates grass. Commonly found in areas where natural grass does not grow or space where upkeep is not desired or impossible. You can find artificial turf in arenas, sports stadiums, playgrounds, residential areas, and other spaces.
Artificial grass started in the early 1960s produced by Chemstrand Company, later named Monsanto Textiles Company. The manufacturing process is similar to the carpet industry. Since then the product has made many improvements, with better products and materials. Newer artificial turf is treated to be resistant to ultraviolet rays. The product is improved to be less rough, water-resistant, and imitate real grass.
The turf invention process began in the early 1950s. Large needles insert fibers or filaments into a backing made of fabric. Flexible adhesive like polyvinyl chloride or polyurethane is used to bind the backing and fibers. A machine can produce a length of 15 ft wide and more than 3 ft in one minute.
Artificial grass made it’s professional debut in major league sports when the Astrodome was open in Houston Texas in 1966. The name brand was Chemgrass, and later on, they renamed it to AstroTurf. Many people still know it as AstroTurf, but the correct name is artificial grass/artificial turf.
Artificial turf found its way into playgrounds in inner-city areas. Some recreation centers and schools took advantage of what artificial grass had to offer by adding it to buildings and turning them into “grassy” play areas.
After much success in the Astrodome, the turf market expanded with more manufacturing companies entering the playing field. Turf has become widely accepted and led a boom in the industry.
In the early 1970s, artificial turf became a concern because of quality concerns and safety concerns. Some turf installations started to deteriorate. Artificial Turf would wear out quickly, and the seams would fall apart. Many people complained about the surfaces and blamed the turf abrasiveness to burns and injuries.
In 1990, turf made a comeback with the re-emergence of indoor stadiums. Synthetic Turf made many advances and had many more benefits than natural grass. Such as the drain system, durability, does not require sunlight and it’s practically maintenance free. The new generation of artificial turf also has a look and feel of natural grass. Because of these factors and more, artificial turf will continue to be a popular option for homes, communities, professional sports, and schools.
Quality of raw materials is significant to the performance of turf systems. Almost all high-quality turf uses polyester tire cord as a backing.
The fibers that create the blades of “grass” are made from polypropylene or nylon are manufactured in various ways. Nylon blades are produced in thin sheets that are cut into small strips and produces fibers with oval or round cross-section. The extruded products make the edges feel more like natural grass.
The Manufacturing Process
1. Blend the proprietary ingredients in what is called a hopper. Chemicals and dyes are added to give it the green color and provide them with UV protection from the sun.
2. Once everything is blended, the batch goes into a steel mixer. It is mixed until it has a taffy-like consistency.
3. The taffy-like liquid is put into an extruder and exits as a thin, long material.
4. The strands are feed on a carding machine and spun into a rope. The ropes are then straightened, pulled and woven into yarn.
5. The yarn is heated and twisted.
6. Next, the yarn is put in the tufting equipment. It’s then placed on a bar with skewers behind the machine. The needle pierces the backing of the artificial grass then pushes the yarn into a loop. A flat hook or looper catches and releases the loop of nylon while the needle pulls back. The process happens with several hundred needles, and rows of stitches are happening by the minute.
7. Synthetic grass carpet is rolled under a dispenser that spreads latex coating into the turf. A heavy second coating is spread to the backing. The rolls are sent onto a marriage roller creating a seal.
8. To cure the Polyurethane, artificial grass is placed under heat lamps.
9. The turf is sent through a machine that is known to clip off tufts that are taller than the surface that is uninformed.
10. The turf is then rolled and packaged to ship around the world.