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Friday, 19 August 2011

Engineers build impact testing device to analyse sports fields

The Engineer
Aug 18, 2011

Sports engineers at Cranfield University have tested a device that can measure the mechanical properties of natural turf in an effort to better understand athlete–surface interactions.

Greater knowledge of these interactions could help to prevent injuries and aid athlete performance, the researchers claim.

Dissipation of impacting energy and reduction of loads returned to athletes is regarded as important for preventing injuries, while stiffness and energy return from sports surfaces allows athletes to perform movements more efficiently — with a compromise often sought between the two.

‘One of the main issues is that the new modern, elite-level surfaces are made of sand and their properties are a lot stiffer compared with the average Sunday kick-about pitch,’ said Dr Matt Caple of Cranfield, who collaborated on the recent project. ‘With this device we’re trying to assess how the surface reacts to stresses applicable to athletes, in terms of how much it compresses and the energy it absorbs.’
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