A surface of artifical fibers can be made to imitate natural grass. Originally, this synthetic grass was produced to provide sports arenas with realistic surfaces for all the sports that needed a grass setting to play on. However, the use of the artificial grass has expanded to landscaping of residential homes and commercial properties as well.
The main reason why people prefer artificial grass is for its maintenance needs. These surfaces can withstand a lot of pressure and use that comes with playing sports. They also don’t require any irrigation or trimming. Sports stadiums; whether they are domed, covered, or partially covered; use this surface because they usually can’t get enough sunlight to their natural grass grounds. This isn’t to say that artificial grass doesn’t have any downsides, though. The imitation has a limited shelf life, requires specific cleaning, contains petroleum and other toxic chemicals, and there are a few health and safety concerns around it.
The artificial grass is made of plastic granules mixed with coloring agents and UV stabilizer additives. All these ingredients are mixed together and heated, pressed, and pressured through an extruder head of some kind. The type of extruder head determines the specific shape of the product. This entire process creates the individual fibers, either fibrillated or monofilament, which would later be used to create the synthetic lawn.
Fibrillated fibers require that plastic be pressed through the extruder head first to create a thin film inside it, similar to a videotape. Notches are made in the plastic to create a honeycomb structure when it’s pulled apart. The honeycomb film is spun around until it becomes round. Fibrillated fibers are used often because they are affordable, mostly in sports arenas that require large amounts of artificial turf. However, these fibers don’t look natural. It takes some time for the notches to split even further apart for it to start looking realistic.
Monofilament fibers are pushed through extruder heads like ready-to-use blades, somewhat like spaghetti. The blades are combined together and coiled around each other to create bundles of grass piles. Monofilaments look a lot more natural than fibrillated fibers; and show more flexibility, softness, and wear resistance.
The mixture combination does differ between suppliers and the specific desired end product, but will ultimately determine the quality of the grass. The fibers, or blades, are the reinforced to withstand temperatures between -50 and 50 Celsius, and also any force or wear they might need to resist. Afterwards, the fibers are wrapped around spools, or bobbins, and sent to artificial turf manufacturers.
These bobbins are put on machines that are four meters wide and have needles that push the fibers through backings. This tufting process is comparable to any standard sewing machine. The final resulting appearance of the artificial turf relies on the machine and its needles, the fiber itself, and the fiber height.
The backing is able to keep all the blades in place with a liquid mixture that acts as a glue. The turf is then put in the oven to harden. This process finalizes the entire turf, and it can go out for sale or installation.
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