Tribological Studies of Artificial Sports Pitches

2016-08-17T12:19:40Z (GMT) by Timothy Devenport
The aim of this project was to investigate the wear of artificial sports pitch materials and characterise the wear mechanisms. The project was in collaboration with Notts Sports Ltd. who wished to compare the performance of existing pitches with potential new, improved artificial sports turfs. The various materials (from different manufacturers, and of differing pile yarn weight and worn in situ and new) were imaged by optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy to assess the tribological behaviour of the artificial sports turfs. X-ray computed tomography (X-ray CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) was used to assess the structure of the artificial sports turfs. Pin on disk wear testing, tensile and fatigue testing was conducted on the artificial sports turfs to assess the wear life/mechanisms and how the structure performs under loading. Optical and scanning electron microscopy reveal the wear mechanisms can be identified by the damage incurred as either adhesive, or abrasive or both. Additionally a directionality in the mechanical properties of the materials was observed. Visual and structural investigation by X-ray CT revealed a directionality to the materials. X-ray CT also showed inconsistencies in the structure negatively affect the performance of the artificial sports turfs, which was seen to be the case with some tensile and fatigue experiments. MRI was explored but found not useful in assessing the structure of the artificial sports turfs. Wear testing showed different behaviour for differing artificial sports turfs, whilst the tensile and fatigue testing showed the orientation of the samples affects these properties, in that the horizontal orientation was stronger than vertical orientation. Tensile testing revealed the artificial sports turfs behave similarly to randomly orientated short fibre composites. Rawsons artificial sports turfs have more even fibre distribution in the horizontal and vertical directions in comparison to the Leigh Spinners artificial sports turfs, which has led to more uniform mechanical and tribological properties.

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