From now through May, schools and athletic programs throughout the country will be making decisions regarding the installation of synthetic turf playing surfaces.
Decision makers are evaluating and deciding on turf systems in order to have fields installed in late spring or summer so that the fields will be available for fall sports.
Part of the process of educating consumers takes place at winter trade shows. Shaw Sports Turf, in January alone, attended the annual conventions of the American Baseball Coaches Association, American Football Coaches Association, US Lacrosse, and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Shaw Sports Turf representatives were in front of nearly 30,000 coaches and administrators during January and the single most discussed topic among those attendees was the heat on synthetic turf.
Joe Kacevich, Ray Battistel, and Matt Ross attend the US Lacrosse convention in Philadelphia
Approximately 1,000 fields are installed each year, and over the next few years, many synthetic turf fields which have already been installed will come due for replacement. Heat on those surfaces can affect athletes and their performance, making it the one problem that, if solved, would change the industry.
“Heat is a concern regardless of the type of playing surface,” said Matt Stanley, a Shaw Sports Turf Territory Manager in Dallas, Texas. “However, synthetic turf playing surfaces can get extremely hot. HydroChill is a game-changer. It’s the first time a manufacturer has found a way to cool the turf at such significant and sustained levels.”
HydroChill is a cooling system introduced last October by Shaw Sports Turf. Synthetic turf surfaces can reach temperatures as high as 200 degrees Fahrenheit. HydroChill has been shown to reduce those temperatures by as much as 50 degrees.
Synthetic turf temperatures reach such high levels due to the absorption of sunlight and can be significantly higher than ambient temperatures. The sunlight energy impinging on the turf is either reflected, absorbed, or transmitted. Less than 10% of the energy is transmitted to the base below the turf. Most of the visible and infrared energy is absorbed into the fibers and infill. That absorption raises the surface temperature, which can be transmitted by conduction to other surfaces that come into contact with the turf, such as athletes.
“The safety and performance of athletes is at the forefront of discussions about cooling the surface of fields,” said Jimmy Marshall, and Shaw Sports Turf Territory Manager based in Nashville, Tennessee. “The introduction of HydroChill, in combination with our world-class turf manufacturing capabilities, has driven more coaches and administrators to look at Shaw Sports Turf systems.”
HydroChill cools the surface by removing heat from the turf materials using a process known as evaporative cooling. Evaporative cooling uses a liquid, such as water, to absorb energy from a surface. Sweating is an example of evaporative cooling.
HydroChill is a material that coats the sand and rubber infill in a field. The coating is very thin and does not negatively affect the appearance or performance of the field. It is applied to the infill of an installed field (in situ). The HydroChill ingredients are sprayed onto the turf during a deep grooming that raises the infill so that it is exposed to the spray, which is applied during multiple passes to ensure even application. Following application, the infill is then worked back into the field.
The result is a cooler surface where athletes can worry about the task, not the temperature. HydroChill has been shown to cool 50 degrees in tests which have taken place over three years, both in a laboratory setting, and in real-world field applications. In fact, it’s the only cooling system that comes with a warranty.
For more information on HydroChill, visit the Shaw Sports Turf website at www.shawsportsturf.com
Chuck McClurg and Scott Schulz are joined by two Indianaplois Colts cheerleaders in promoting HydroChill at the American Football Coaches Association convention in Indianapolis.