The use of synthetic sports surfacing such as artificial turfs etc has made great inroads into most sporting activities in recent years. These products offer advantages in playing conditions, all weather availability and maintenance costs.

Artificial surfacings are being officially used in a variety of sports, noteably as hockey pitches, soccer fields, tennis courts, athletic tracks, lawn bowls etc. To ensure the products and installations meet the required quality they can be tested to applicable Standards (AS, BS and DIN in particular) or to the protocols proposed by the different international sports organisations, such as FIH, FIFA, IAAF, LTA, WBB etc. Some of these relevant sports are listed.

Hockey is the sport that has led the way in the introduction of synthetic playing surfaces, all major sporting events down to club level being now played on artificial turfs. The international governing body, FIH , introduced a set of Standards for the performance requirements of products and installations in 1988 and application of these Standards has led to greatly improved playing standards.
Acousto-Scan is an accredited FIH laboratory and offers a world wide testing service to Hockey product manufacturers and ground proprietors. For details of the testing see FIH Tests

Beginning 2001, FIFA the world governing body for soccer introduced a scheme Quality Concept for Artificial Turf. This scheme was developed to standardise the quality of artificial turf installations that were gradually being introduced by football clubs on an ad hoc basis. This had been a result of the development of technologically new surfaces, in particular the long pile artificial turf filled with rubber particles. UEFA, the European Association, has since followed with a similar scheme.

For details of testing required by the FIFA scheme see FIFA Tests.


Synthetic polymer running tracks are now the norm for athletic competitions. The performance requirements for these expensive installations has been specified by the IAAF, see Athletics Tests. Various items of equipment, eg hurdle jumps, have also been closely specified and may a be subject to scrutiny and testing. For details of these specificatons and tests please to the rules and regulations of the Athletics codes.

The natural surfaces of grass and clay on which tennis was originally played are now being supplemented by a variety of artificial surfaces ranging from hard courts (concrete based), wood based and synthetic grasses, the latter being particularly popular in Australia. The performance requirements of these new surfaces are under review and new standards are being proposed to ensure that they are similar to the natural courts and thus help to maintain the traditions of the game. For details of these requirements see Tennis Tests.

Lawn bowls is a popular sport with an ancient tradition and has been played on natural grass lawns since its origins. Synthetic turfs are now being introduced and the World Bowls Board has seen a need for a set of guidelines on the requirements and performance of bowls greens. For details of these specifications see Bowls Tests.

IRB (Rugby)

AFL/CA (Australian Football League and Cricket Australia)

Protective Equipment

Sports safety clothing such as jockey vests, footballer's pads are also subject to current development and review. Some of these products, in particular jockey vests, may be tested by the Laboratory to relevant Standards. For typical details see Jockey Vests.

Testing Services

The laboratory can be contacted to arrange sports surface inspections and testing by fax, telephone or email.
Other in-house testing services are available on request.


Investigations and measurements of the angled bounce of a sports ball on various surfaces for the development of surface criteria.


J.I.Dunlop (2000) Characterising the service bounce using a speed gun, ITF First International Congress, London 1-4 Aug. 2000.

J.I.Dunlop, C.J.Milner and K.G.White (1992) Sports surface-ball interactions, J. Sports Turf Res. Inst. 68 114-123



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