Innovation & Research
Pushing the boundaries and setting the standards.
Sports Labs is the only sports surfaces testing company to have a dedicated research and development team. Our team is pushing the boundaries of our industry and helping us to set new standards.
The aim of our team is to lead innovation and development of sports surfaces to meet the demands of modern stadiums and professional athletes. We have long standing arrangements with leading third level Academic Institutions and Universities. Our rich relationships enable us to connect academia with the sports surfaces industry in a novel way. We run research programs for clients and global governing bodies to introduce efficiencies and bring new technology into our testing protocols.
As artificial turf increasingly earns its place in stadium level football and rugby, one of the most discussed barriers to its widespread acceptance is the phenomenon of “infill splash".
Infill splash occurs when there is significant contact between a ball or player, and the playing surface. During these interactions, a small amount of the infill material is dislodged and thrown into the surrounding area. Having studied to understand what causes the phenomenon, we are well underway in creating a test method to analyze infill splash and allow its comparison on different sports surfaces.
The method is conducted by projecting a FIFA-approved football onto a surface at 50 km/h. Using high-speed photography, we can measure the interaction between the ball and the surface and the levels of infill splash.
Our test provides three pieces of splash interaction information:
A clear image used to determine the shape and size of the infill splash
The infill splash duration.
A factor to describe the highest density splash recorded over the course of the interaction.
As a result of successful development from Sport Labs UK, infill splash testing has now been incorporated as part of Fifa Quality Programme testing.
Sports Labs is working with FIFA to realistically replicate sports surface interaction. Applying our new testing procedure, involving a modified artificial wear apparatus, the new generation of Lisport XL is nearing completion.
Through our rapid in-house development cycles and technical expertise, we have provided many of the innovations now incorporated into the new Lisport XL equipment.
As part of our role in the community of sports surface laboratories, we are also working on future enhancements to Lisport XL's function. In particular, we are leading the investigation into high friction materials to further increase the simulated real life wear. We will soon release the final version.