As the popularity of artificial grass continues to rise, many people are curious about what it’s made of. Artificial grass has become an alternative to natural grass in areas where growing and maintaining real lawns is challenging. Originally used primarily in sports arenas and stadiums, artificial grass is now increasingly being used in homes, playgrounds, and other smaller applications.
Evolution of Manufacturing Technology
The manufacturing of artificial grass dates back to the early 1960s when it was first produced by the Chemstrand Company, later known as Monsanto Textiles Company. It was initially called ChemGrass but was later renamed AstroTurf. The manufacturing process involved using the same techniques used in carpet production. Over the years, advancements in technology have led to the development of better materials and designs, resulting in artificial grass that closely resembles real grass.
Materials Used in Artificial Grass
The quality of the raw materials used is crucial in determining the performance of artificial grass. Technological advancements and superior manufacturing processes have made it possible to produce artificial grass that looks and feels almost real. Some key materials used in artificial grass production are:
Polypropylene is a commonly used material in the manufacturing of artificial grass. It is a type of plastic that is also used in the production of bottles and plastic bags. Polypropylene is melted and mixed with colors and other chemicals to make it durable and UV-resistant.
Polyethylene is another material used to make the blades of artificial grass. It is a versatile plastic available in a solid form. During the manufacturing process, it is melted and mixed with colors and chemicals to enhance its durability and UV resistance. Polyethylene blades closely resemble real grass and contribute to the natural look and feel of artificial lawns.
Nylon is an alternative material used for the blades of artificial grass. Thin nylon sheets are extruded using molds to produce fine fibers with oval or round cross-sections. These high-quality nylon blades closely resemble real grass and provide an excellent natural aesthetic.
Thatch and Turf Backing
The thatch layer, which provides support and cushioning to the artificial lawn, is typically made of polypropylene. As for the turf backing, high-quality artificial lawns use polyester tie cord as the backing. The blades of grass are then fixed onto the turf backing using a tufting machine, ensuring secure attachment.
Cushioning systems in artificial grass are commonly made using polyester foam or rubber compounds. In some cases, recycled rubber or plastic is used in the manufacturing of the base. The top fabric panels and thread used in sewing are of high quality, meeting the standards of durability, strength, and color retention.
Artificial Grass Manufacturing Process
The manufacturing process of artificial grass involves tufting techniques similar to those used in carpet production. Here is an overview of the process:
- Raw materials are fed into a hopper, where they are mixed with dyes and chemicals.
- The mixture is then blended and transformed into a thick liquid.
- The thick liquid is passed through an extruder to produce long, thin strands.
- The strands are placed on a carding machine to produce loose rope, which is spun into yarn.
- The yarn is heated to give it a twisted shape.
- The tufting machine is used to fix the yarn onto the turf backing, creating rows of stitches.
- The grass carpet is coated with latex underneath and a secondary backing is added for additional strength.
- The latex is cured using heat lamps.
- Extra lengths of grass are cut off, and the carpet is rolled and packaged for shipping.
Today, artificial grass engineering and manufacturing have advanced significantly. The latest artificial turfs are made with high-quality materials that are chemically treated to be UV resistant, water resistant, softer, and less abrasive. These improvements have made artificial grass highly suitable for various applications, both large and small.
So, if you’re considering artificial grass for your lawn, playground, or any other area, you can be confident that it is made with expertise, using high-quality materials that provide a durable and natural-looking alternative to real grass.