The use of third generation artificial turf pitches for sports such as football and rugby is growing rapidly at both the recreational and elite level. Many stimulating research questions exist for these surfaces regarding their play performance, safety / injury risk and design / construction / maintenance optimisation. Traction behaviour is one of the key performance variables closely linking to play performance and injury risk. Despite the importance of this variable, our current understanding of how traction forces are generated at the boot – surface interface remains poor. This is largely due to the highly dynamic nature of the interaction in combination with the complex behaviours of materials that comprise third generation artificial turf pitches.
This project aims to advance our understanding of how traction forces are generated during boot – surface interactions of third generation artificial turf. Depending on the specific background and interests of the student this may include: player studies involving the development of novel methodologies to provide objective insights to the kinematics and kinetics of boot – surface interactions; mechanical testing to conduct controlled investigations into the traction forces during boot – surface interactions to, for example, assess the relative contributions of the component mechanisms; or developing a mechanical model of the traction forces generated during boot – surface interactions.
The student would join an active Sport Surfaces Research Group at Loughborough University with strong industrial links and currently involved in projects ranging from the modelling of artificial turf through to optimising maintenance practices.