When the World Cup for rugby opens in New Zealand, the action will unfold on top of this innovation.
It’s no coincidence that a majority of the synthetic grass in the U.S. is produced in a town some call “the carpet capital of the world,” otherwise known as Dalton, Ga. The first synthetic grass was, in fact, woven on a traditional carpet loom.
The chemistry for producing synthetic grass is straightforward, like that of its floor-covering cousin. It begins with a polymer—either nylon, polyethylene, or polypropylene—which is melted at a high temperature, mixed with pigments and ultraviolet stabilizers to protect it from the sun’s rays, and then extruded into thin ribbons of grasslike dimensions.
The type of polymer used depends on the application as well as cost considerations. Polypropylene is the cheapest option. Nylon offers more strength and resiliency than polyethylene and polypropylene, but it is the most expensive. Nylon also has a higher melting point than polyethylene and polypropylene, which makes the manufacturing process more difficult.
After the ribbons are formed, they are tufted, like carpet yarns, into a fabric backing, such as a woven polypropylene, and then attached with an adhesive such as polyurethane. During installation, some contractors place a foam padding underneath the backing to provide cushioning.
Visit “What’s That Stuff” to read more about synthetic grass.
Excerpted with permission, Chemical & Engineering News
Copyright © 2009 American Chemical Society