Develop an artificial turf structure made of bio-polyethylene (PE), which differs only little chemically from crude oil-based PE regarding key characteristics.


Nov 30, 2021


Nov 29, 2023

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Synthetic turf systems are increasingly being used in the construction of new sports surfaces. Compared to natural turf, these offer an intensively usable, low-maintenance, weed-free and weather-independent surface that does not need to be watered or fertilised.

A synthetic turf system is a multi-layer structure made up of different components. The different raw materials and polymers in the pile layer, carrier layer and infill make material recycling difficult. The structure is usually based on non-sustainable fossil raw materials and carries a high risk of microplastic input into the environment.

It is very questionable whether the currently more favourable acquisition costs compared to more sustainable concepts can still be represented in the future against the background of resource scarcity and the general acceptance against the background of changing legal and social boundary conditions.

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The goal is to develop an artificial turf structure made of bio-polyethylene (PE), which differs only little chemically from crude oil-based PE regarding key characteristics. The mono-material structure enables high-quality material recycling with regard to a closed-loop economy. In addition, the novel artificial turf structure should manage without the addition of infill granulate and thus minimise the input of microplastics into the environment.

In the course of the project, two playable large-scale demonstrators will be manufactured and designed as living labs for test purposes. User acceptance will be checked and taken into account. After use, the samples will be exemplary recycled in order to verify the process chain in the sense of the circular economy.

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A combination of different yarn components made of bio-based PE is to be developed for the pile layer in order to obtain comparable properties without infill.

A woven fabric made of bio-based PE film tapes is to be developed for the primary layer. For this purpose, both the spinning process for the film tapes and the weaving technology must be modified accordingly. The goal is a sufficiently robust and tuftable fabric construction.

Artificial turf tufting structures are produced from the PE pile yarns and PE carrier fabrics, taking into account the changed processing behaviour of the novel semi-finished products. The goal is to develop the intended non-infill pile structure with at least equal quality by modified tuft parameters.

In order to carry out the fixation of the pile in the primary layer without latex or PU the thermobonding process is to be used. For this purpose, a highly precise temperature and process control is required, in which only the pile on the reverse side is melted while conserving the fabric structure of primary backing.

Parallel to measurable laboratory results, the subjective impression of the users of the demonstrators is considered in the living lab and taken into account with regard to further development. After use, the artificial turfs are examined with regard to their recyclability. The goal is to produce a recycled raw material from PE that can be processed into new artificial turf in an absolutely equivalent manner in terms of a circular economy.

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