25 Oct

Shock Pads 101

  • Posted by Brittany Bradford

Shock Pads- what are they and where did they come from?

Synthetic turf systems have transformed since their initial start in 1965. With the addition of a shock absorbent pad, synthetic turf systems have been engineered to improve turf life and player safety.

Since the creation of synthetic turf, products have improved, better maintenance was developed, and turf fibers evolved. This evolution brought the industry comfort levels up, and the new turf systems began to eliminate the requirement of a pad. Over time, pile heights have been reduced, turf density has increased, and the use of all rubber infill evolved into a blend of sand and rubber. In the late 1990s, pour-in-place E-layer systems began to be installed underneath infilled fields to provide additional safety.

What is beneath a synthetic turf product?  

Depends on the sport, but typically an engineered porous aggregate custom blended material that provides both structural support and allows water to drain vertically through the system.

What are the benefits of using shock pads in turf systems?  

The installation of a shock pad for artificial turf systems can contribute to the safety of the field when the turf system cannot maintain infill levels. Infill is used now, where pads were used in the past. The infill is used to for 2 things, to keep the fibers vertical, and to provide cushion and hit proper Gmax requirements. The Gmax requirements are a measuring guide for player safety. Almost every system that is installed today is a blend of sand and rubber. Using a turf system that has a rootzone keeps infill from migrating. If it is not maintained, this can create a higher risk. If the infill level cannot be maintained, a pad is a good option.

How do shock pads contribute to safety?  

With an increasing fear of athlete concussions, the installation of shock pad systems to supplement the turf system is a good suggestion to provide extra protection. The existing turf systems are designed around player’s safety – and remain safe as long as they are installed correctly, have the right balance of sand and rubber, and are properly maintained. Depending on the sport, or the purpose of the installation, if it has less infill and a shorter pile height, this increases the importance of shock pad installation. It can be typical to experience turf options offered that encourage no maintenance in a standard system, but if it is a system where the infill can migrate, this greatly increases the maintenance cost. This is where shock pads are a very good option.


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