The third generation artificial grass available in the market today is a great improvement from the first generation synthetic turf that was first introduced in the 1960s. Today’s grass looks and feels a lot more like the real thing and performs better in terms of durability, UV-stability, resilience and resistance to wear and tear among other performance parameters.
All this and more improvement is thanks to the advancement in the choice of material and manufacturing technology used to make artificial grass. Artificial grass manufacturers all across the globe invest in premier-quality raw materials, top-of-the-range equipment and improving their manufacturing process to ensure that customers get nothing short of top-grade artificial grass.
If you have always wondered what material synthetic grass is made from and just how it is manufactured, then this blog post will surely give you some insights and a comprehensive look at both.
The Materials Used
As stated, the quality of the materials used in the manufacture of synthetic grass ultimately plays a significant role in how well the grass performs. The first generation artificial grass was made from synthetic fibres similar to those used to make carpets.
Using these materials rendered the turf that characteristic plastic look and feel that brought along its own set of challenges. It quickly became apparent that manufacturers had to find better materials to use in the production of synthetic grass.
Today’s synthetic grass is lush and softer and is manufactured from the following materials; polyethylene, polypropylene and nylon.
The Grass Blades
The grass blades of today’s synthetic turf are made from polyethylene, which is a form of plastic. This is the most popular choice of material among different manufacturers thanks to its inherent superior properties. Polyethylene is long-lasting, and that is why artificial grass can withstand heavy traffic and is tolerant to wear and tear. Nylon is also another material that is commonly used in the manufacture of the fibres that make up the grass blades.
One of the things that ultimately revolutionised the feel and look of artificial grass to make it as close to real grass was the addition of the thatch layer. This layer serves to add cushioning and extra support to the artificial grass. Artificial grass thatching comes in brown or tan colour, which helps to break up the green colour of the turf, making the whole spread look similar to a natural lawn. The material most commonly used in the making of this thatching layer is polypropylene.
The Backing and Cushioning
The backing and cushioning on artificial grass is made from polyester or recycled rubber and plastic. Most installation companies will recommend having both a primary and secondary backing layer. The blades are securely fitted onto the backing using a tufting machine which sews the layers together. The tuft backing layer helps the grass blades to easily bounce back into their original upright position even after being subjected to some kind of traffic.
Synthetic Grass Infill
Helping the backing layer to keep the grass fibres upright and ensure they return to their original state is the infill. The grass infill is spread between the grass blades. This infill also serves other purposes such as weighing down the grass, protecting the grass from UV exposure, helping with drainage, and not to mention the fact that it helps the turf feel more like natural grass underfoot.
There are different kinds of infill materials, the most common of which are sand and rubber. The application of the synthetic grass among other factors determines which type of turf infill will be used for that particular synthetic turf installation.
After looking at the raw materials used in the manufacture of artificial grass, focus now shifts to the process itself. In a lot of ways, the manufacture of synthetic grass is quite similar to the process involved in the making of carpets. As a matter of fact, some manufacturers even make use of machines that were used in the carpet making industry.
Without getting too technical, here is a brief overview of the 10-step process that is involved in the manufacture of synthetic grass
- The raw materials used in making the fibres of the grass blades, be it nylon, polypropylene, polyethylene or a mix of these materials are fed into a hopper where they get mixed up.
- Dyes and other chemicals are added to this mixture in the hopper. The dyes, are, of course, added to impart the characteristic green colour to the blades. There are different shades of green, and the appropriate dye is added. The other chemicals add UV-resistance properties, so that the final product is resistant to and stable against exposure to UV rays.
- This coloured and treated mix is then poured into a steel mixer where it goes through a thorough mixing process until it thickens, after which it is taken into an extruder.
- The thick mixture that goes into the extruder comes out as long thin strands, which are put into a carding machine.
- The carding machine spins the strands to produce loose rope which is then tightened and woven into yarn. This yarn is wound into large spools.
- The woven yarn is set into shape by being subjected to heat.
- This shaped yarn is put into a tufting machine which has tufting needles that secure the yarn onto the primary layer of backing.
- The artificial grass turf from the tufting machine is rolled out and its underside is coated with latex as it passes under a latex dispensing machine. This latex is also coated onto a robust secondary backing, and this backing layer, together with the artificial grass carpet are sealed together. The latex coating is treated by again subjecting the roll to some heat, usually from heat lamps or by being passed through an oven.
- The artificial grass is passed through a machine which cuts off any extra lengths in the grass to produce a turf with uniform pile length.
- Finally, the artificial grass carpet is rolled into the desired lengths and packaged, ready for delivery to where it is needed, which includes wholesale outlets and companies like Perth Artificial Grass.
Watch This Video Showing How Artificial Grass is Manufactured
For any more questions on what artificial grass is made of, and the processes involved therein, our expert and knowledgeable team will be more than glad to assist you.
When choosing artificial grass for whatever application you may have in mind, be it residential or commercial, indoor or outdoor, the quality of the turf should ultimately be the number one factor to consider. It goes without saying that the quality of the raw materials used and the process involved in the manufacture greatly influence the quality of the final product.
For the best results and to get value for your money, always work with a reliable supplier such as Perth Artificial Grass who source all their products from reputable manufacturers. The quality of raw material and the manufacturing processes and practices of such manufacturers can be trusted and you can look forward to enjoying nothing short of top-quality artificial grass. We take pride in partnering with only the very best that there is in the industry.