Sports Surface Testing: 203 Vertical Deformation Requirement (Courts and Tracks)

An earlier post, “Sports Surface Testing: 103 introduced the Vertical Deformation property of a sports surface. This is a followup post that presents the requirements that various standards, governing bodies and trad associations put on this property. This document will not explain vertical deformation of synthetic turf as that test is significantly different. A future series of posts will explore synthetic turf surfaces.

Note: This post focuses on indoor court surfaces, and as such it uses what is called the ‘AA Method’ for evaluating Vertical Deformation. The ‘AA’ method uses a load cell and displacement sensors to measure Vertical Deformation. There is a newer ‘AAA Method’ that is commonly used for synthetic turf. This method measures the impact force through the use of an accelerometer and it measures the deflection of the surface through a double integration of the acceleration signal through the impact. The two methods use different springs and as such generate significantly different loading rates. These differences cause various viscoelastic materials and non-linear properties of the system to behave differently. As of writing this the IAAF (that oversees Track and Field Competitions) is working to adopt the AAA method. To my knowledge it has not yet been finalized. This means that anyone using this information needs to verify that it is still accurate.

Vertical deformation of sports surfaces was introduced in the 1991 version of the DIN 18032-2 standard. It has since been incorporated into several standards and is considered important by various governing bodies and trade associations. There most common standards that establish requirements for Vertical Deformation in North America are DIN 18032-2 (1991 and 2001), EN 14904, ASTM F2772, ASTM F2157 and ANSI E1.26. The International Federation of Basketball (FIBA) and the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) have also established requirements. The Maple Floor Manufacturers Association (MFMA) trade group has also established requirements in their PUR standard.

EN 14904, MFMA PUR and to an extent ASTM F2772 establish classes for performance based on vertical deformation values. Both versions of DIN 18032-2 established simple pass/fail criteria. Some of these limits are applied to the results at every test point, and some only apply the limits to the average value on the system. Some standards establish additional uniformity requirements for all of the data collected. None of them establish different allowable levels for laboratory and field testing settings.

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You may download the summary table HERE.

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