What is an infill?
A synthetic turf sports surface needs to provide the playing characteristics the sport requires and to also ensure it provides the levels of comfort and protection players require when running, falling and sliding on the surface.
To allow the surfaces to play like natural grass, they typically have a pile that is anywhere between 35 mm and 60 mm in length. If left unfilled, this pile will lie flat; however, by partly infilling the gaps between the individual pile tufts, it is possible to keep them standing upright so they provide the sports characteristics considered necessary by bodies such as FIFA and World Rugby.
Most 3G surfaces have a layer of sand at the bottom of the infill to act as ballast and an upper layer of some form of ‘performance infill’.
Are all types of infills the same? What are the main types available in the market?
There are several different types of infills available in the market. Sand is a typical stabilizing infill and can be used alone or in combination with other performance infills on top. Typical performance infills include: SBR, EPDM, recycled EPDM, TPE. Beside synthetic infills, there are different kinds of organic infills available: Cork, Coconut fibers, olive pits, nutshells, wood chips, etc.
What are the main benefits of using a cork-based infill?
Beside being a 100% organic and sustainable material, cork provides interesting elastic characteristics with a high resilience. Therefore, it can optimize shock absorption and energy restitution in the artificial turf grass system. At the same time, it can reduce the field's temperature in hot weather conditions and raise comfort for the athletes. One-hundred-percent natural and clean cork does not contain any substances of concern or emit any toxic substances.
Are all cork-based infills the same?
No, there are different types of cork-based infills available. Each one is designed with specific characteristics to optimize the field's condition for athletes. Even in pure cork infills, there are differences in the quality of cork available.
In terms of circular economy infills, do they release microplastics?
No cork infills release any microplastics. In case of cork-based infills, which may contain some synthetic components, they can be optimized in bio-degradability in order to avoid any concern with microplastic pollution.
How do you assess the quality of the different types of infills?
There are different methods to ensure the quality of infills. Internally, we have strict quality monitoring in our factory. Externally, we partner with external test laboratories, where quality testing is constantly carried out. These processes need to be ensured so that certifications can be received for our infills while complying with international standards.
Are cork-based infills safe?
Yes, these are 100% safe and free of any toxic content.
How long do cork-based infills last?
This depends on quality and type of cork-based infill, of course. Usually, all our infill products are designed to last full lifetime of an artificial turf field.
Do cork-based infills need maintenance? Which kind of maintenance?
The maintenance does not differ very much from all other types of infill. The artificial turf should be maintained and kept clean regularly. Typical maintenance work includes regular brushing with the corresponding equipment.
Can a cork-based infill be recycled at the end of its useful life?
Yes, cork-based infills can be recycled, composted or reused.
What impact do cork-based infills have on players?
Cork-based infills provide optimal playing conditions and the best possible player experience while using the field. It ensures typical desired characteristics such as ball rotation, ball roll, ball bounce, sliding and low splash (compared to other synthetic infills).
What are the main differences in the installation of cork-based infills vs. synthetic infills?
Where cork-based infills are lower in bulk density, watering during the installation can help to introduce the infills into the grass system more quickly and more easily. The installing equipment for synthetic infills can be used without any problems on cork-based ones.
How does the cork respond mid-term to possible attacks by insects, fungi, moss, etc.?
Quality cork-based infills as well as 100% cork infills are rot-resistant and resilient. Within the lifetime of artificial turf fields under normal use, no effects from insects, fungi or moss are detected or known to occur.
How does cork react over the years to the high humidity and rainfall or frost, typical of the climate in certain geographical areas?
It clearly depends on the type of selected cork infill or cork-based infill. A clean and good-quality cork has very low water absorption characteristics. Additionally, while there are cork types available with higher water absorption capacities, the water absorption of cork is generally limited. Cork-based infills are sometimes designed to absorb more or less water, depending on the specific need of each geographic region.
What are the main certifications of Amorim Sports infills? Do they comply with FIFA requirements?
In Europe, cork infills comply with typical EN 15330, French NF norm, German DIN norm as well as RAL GZ 944/4 and EN 71-3 standards. Cork and cork-based infills regularly comply with FIFA standards to highest classes and are certified in many cases.
Are cork-based infills cooler compared to rubber?
Lower temperatures compared to SBR based infills are one of the leading benefits of cork-based infills.
Do cork-based infills burn?
Cork may burn, depending on the test standards applied. In general, cork does not ignite easily and burns slowly. Cork material generally offers good fire resistance and is, therefore, used in applications where high fire protection is needed.
Do cork-based infills float?
Like all infills, it is possible for the infill to float. It depends largely on the type of grass system, a properly-working drainage and, of course, the bulk density of the selected infill. Compared to heavy SBR infills, the lightest cork infill floats more easily. Cork-based infill has a bulk density between 120- 590 kg/m3; therefore, it depends on the selection of infill type. Most cork-based infills do not float more easily than rubber- or other synthetic-based infills.