The type of surface used for outdoor sports courts, fields and pitches makes a big difference to the heat felt by players. For example, dark coloured surfaces such as asphalt and gravel absorb a lot of radiation, which is why they can become very hot on sunny days. Concrete is another material that is often used for outdoor sports courts and is a huge heat sink, which is made even worse by heat radiated from the surrounding concrete structures.
Luckily, technological advances over the years have helped overcome these issues, allowing sports surfaces to have more optimal conditions for the athletes performing on them.
Technological advancements keeping athletes cool. Regardless of the type of sports played, everyone wants to keep their cool and technology has risen to the challenge. Sports clothing brands such as Nike and Adidas have invested heavily in research to develop lightweight and breathable garments for elite athletes and everyday consumers. There is also an increased number of clothing brands that are developing garments designed to protect against UV rays (UPF50+), as well as keep people cool as air penetrates the fibres.
How technology has helped cool sports surfaces
There are some simple and effective ways to reduce surface temperature in hot conditions such as regularly watering the sports surface, as this not only helps to cool the surface, but the evaporation also helps to reduce the heat stress suffered by players. But technology within the synthetic surface market is has even gone one step further to create artificial sports surfaces that are designed to assist with keeping players cooler. APT uses two innovative products to reduce surface temperatures and keep players cooler– HydroChill and COOLplus.
HydroChill: This is like an evaporative cooling system for artificial turf. It’s a pre-coated sand infill that can be added to new or existing synthetic turf and helps to retain moisture following a rain shower or a good hosing. As the synthetic turf releases this water in evaporative form slowly over the next few days, HydroChill is a very effective cooling system for sports surfaces.
COOLplus: This infrared-reflective sports yarn technology is designed to reflect UV and infrared radiation, thus slowing down the time that it takes for the synthetic turf to heat up. This makes the surface remain around 10-20% cooler than other synthetic turfs without COOLplus. Adding infill to the surface will make the surface even cooler again.
Innovative stadium designs also help to keep sports surfaces cooler
Stadiums these days are designed with so much more than sport in mind. They are truly architectural and engineering masterpieces. There are many examples of innovative techniques used to keep not only the players, but also audiences cool. For example, the geometric shapes on the façade of the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Qatar rotate to allow fresh air to flow through the stadium, acting as a passive cooling system.
Other stadiums install sun canopies to provide shade over spectator stands, retractable roofs to provide both players and spectators with shade, as well as the judicious positioning of reflective surfaces. Heating up whilst playing sport is inevitable regardless of the outside temperature, however, in extremely hot conditions it’s reassuring to know that a number of industries and companies, including APT, are playing their part in keeping athletes cooler.
For information on our synthetic sports surfaces or our surface cooling technology, call our Head Office on 03 8792 8000 or send us an email enquiry.