Here’s a quick history lesson. This article came up, when I was trying to learn about how artificial grass has come a long way. I reached out to a local company in Perth, Metro Synthetic Turf.
Today, synthetic turf is among the top choices for most residential and commercial landscaping needs. Much like everything else that we presently enjoy so much, it has had a history of its own. Artificial turf technology has evolved greatly since the introduction of fake grass in the 1960s.
The first installation that catapulted artificial grass into prominence was in 1966, when an artificial playing surface, Astro Turf was installed at the Astrodome, an indoor stadium of unequalled magnificence. AstroTurf was a green cover made of short nylon fibres without infills.
1st generation artificial turf
Enter the Astro Turf and a new era had come. The next fake grass design consisted of closely-knit tufts that were made of polypropylene, a synthetic fabric that presented several advantages over the nylon fibres. Polypropylene was cheaper, softer and less abrasive, with significant reduction in injury risk.
Second generation artificial grass came into play in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This generation of artificial turf consisted on longer tufts made from fibrillated polypropylene fibres. In addition to being longer, the tufts were more widely spaced, which improved abrasion and enhanced the “natural” look of the fake grass. Sand was used for in-filling in the fibers to support the fibres and counter wearing due to stress from impact.
Second generation turfs enjoyed dominance in the market and found application in various sporting fields such as hockey and baseball. Then came the third generational artificial grass in the late 1990s, which completely revolutionised the industry.
These turfs, consisting of polyethylene fibres, are longer (up to 60mm) and have greater spacing, which gives the artificial grass an even more natural look and feel. The infills for third generation artificial turfs consist of a combination of recycled rubber granules and sand. The various artificial grass varieties manufactured and readily available in the market today are of this generation, with on-going scientific studies and technological research to develop another generation of synthetic turf with superior characteristics compared to its predecessor.
Evolution in Application Scope
In the past, artificial grass was mostly used in sporting arenas and even then was the preserve of a given few. Today, this landscaping trend is popular in both residential and commercial settings, perhaps owing to the realisation that the cost-saving potential in the long run justifies the initial investment. Improvement in quality and variety has significantly extended the application areas for artificial turf.
There are different ingenious ways to use artificial grass that crop up every day that are exceptionally brilliant. Take for example, the interior of different buildings where you will find artsy interior designers using it as carpeting. To create an impression of the outdoors within an indoor setting, you will also find many showrooms using artificial grass cover. The scope of application is extending every new dawn and the options are limitless.
Artificial grass has evolved from fake-looking and stiff surfaces to the natural-looking and comfortable surfaces that we know and enjoy today. Understanding the history of any subject helps in developing a better appreciation for said subject and the history of synthetic grass is no different.