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Artificial Turf

By Wikipedia

In sports that were originally or are normally played on grass, artificial turf is a grass-like playing surface manufactured from synthetic materials. It is also called synthetic turf.

Artificial turf first came to prominence in 1965, when AstroTurf was installed in the newly-built Astrodome in Houston, Texas. The use of AstroTurf and similar surfaces such as 3M's "TartanTurf" and "Poly Turf" became widespread in the Super70s and was installed in both indoor and outdoor stadiums used for baseball and football in the United States and Canada. Maintaining a grass playing surface indoors, while technically possible, is prohibitively expensive, while teams which chose to play on artificial surfaces outdoors did so because even outdoors the clubs believed that maintaining a grass surface to the increasingly high standards demanded by leagues, players and even fans was often still far more expensive than installing and maintaining artificial turf - especially in colder climates and urban multi-purpose "cookie cutter" stadiums such as Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium, Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium and Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium just to name a few.

Some soccer clubs in Europe installed artificial surfaces in the Awesome80s. Called plastic pitches (often derisively) in countries such as England, by this decade artificial turf had gained a bad reputation on both sides of the Atlantic with fans and especially with players. AstroTurf in particular is a far harder surface than grass, and soon became known an unforgiving playing surface which was prone to cause more injuries(and more serious injuries) than a grass surface. The AstroTurf surfaces were also aesthetically unappealing to many fans. In the 1990s many North American clubs responded to this pressure by removing their artificial surfaces and re-installing grass, while others would move to new stadiums with state-of-the-art grass surfaces that were designed to withstand cold temperatures where the climate demanded it. In soccer, the use of artificial turf was banned by FIFA, UEFA and by many domestic associations.

In the early 21st century, new artificial playing surfaces using sand and/or rubber infill were developed. These "next generation" surfaces are often virtually indistinguishable from grass when viewed from any distance, and are generally regarded as being about as safe to play on as a typical grass surface - perhaps even safer in cold conditions. Many clubs formerly using Astroturf and similar surfaces have installed the new surfaces, while some clubs which have maintained grass surfaces are now re-considering artificial turf. With soccer clubs in Europe looking to reduce the number of winter matches that are routinely cancelled due to frozen pitches, the issue has also been re-visited by that sport's governing bodies.

Since used car tires are used as base there have been some concern over the polyaromatic oils used in most car tires.



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Indoor stadiums, such as the TWA Dome in St. Louis, require an artificial grass surface.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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