Purdue University Graduate School
2022.02.17 LeivaMolano_Thesis_FinalVersion.pdf (3.46 MB)

Development of Novel Artificial Turf Evaluation Methods as a Basis for the Design of a SmartField

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posted on 2022-02-17, 18:33 authored by Nicolas Leiva MolanoNicolas Leiva Molano

Artificial Turf (AT) was designed to be a weather-resistant, all-season sports surface alternative to natural turf (NT). However, its integration within the sports community has been hindered due to a reported greater burden of lower limb injury when compared to its NT counterpart. Historically, the evolution of AT has been driven by the arbitrary addition of components to get a more natural feel of play. Present day, third generation (3G) turf has yet to make the necessary improvements to prove it is a true substitute to NT. In part, this is due to standards set in place that mandate a criterion for surface properties and quantify the performance of AT solely by impacting its top-most layer. Surface properties including shock absorption, vertical deformation and energy restitution are calculated by recording peak translational acceleration experienced during impact. Hence, a way to design improved AT systems is to have a robust baseline understanding of how each component performs separately and as part of a composite system. To achieve this type of analysis, a systematic review of the current state of AT and its testing methods was performed. Subsequently, novel experimental testing methods must be developed that provide insight on the transfer of energy experienced through the AT system. A first study was performed in which a second data acquiring instrument was added to current AT testing standards. The elastic shock pad layer underperformed and showed potential for improvement whenever tested individually and in combination with other components. A second method was developed, where impact testing was used to calculate frequency response functions of different shock pad specimen. This method was able to determine isolated and interaction effects of AT components to impact attenuation. Furthermore, this novel methodology has potential for on-field analysis which takes the first step towards smart fields for measuring surface performance during athletic events.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Biomedical Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Eric A. Nauman

Additional Committee Member 2

Scott E. Lawrance

Additional Committee Member 3

James M. Gibert

Additional Committee Member 4

Thomas M. Talavage