Shaw Sports Turf's Research and Development Team Teach Students About Physical Science

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What better way for students to learn essential scientific concepts like inertia and force than through real-world scenarios? Branching out of their textbooks a few weeks ago, eighth-grade students at Dalton Middle School did just that. Students were taught these concepts and many others through actual demonstrations and experiments conducted and led by Shaw Sports Turf’s very own research and development team.

Jeremy Dutton speaking to students at Dalton High School

"the presentation was a great way to get more understanding of how gravity and force work"

What better way for students to learn essential scientific concepts like inertia and force than through real-world scenarios? Branching out of their textbooks a few weeks ago, eighth-grade students at Dalton Middle School did just that. Students were taught these concepts and many others through actual demonstrations and experiments conducted and led by Shaw Sports Turf’s very own research and development team. These demonstrations were all in the context of sports, synthetic turf, and how athletes play on and interact with the surface; and how the Shaw Sports Turf team is able to create a safe and durable playing surface using these scientific concepts.

Led by Jeremy Dutton, technical manager for turf innovation, and Cab Bramlett, senior project manager for the turf division, the class demonstrations illustrated somewhat abstract concepts that can be challenging for students to understand; presenting them in a more tangible way. For example, Newton’s laws of motion.

Connecting these abstract concepts to interesting, real-world objects like football fields can help students to better understand these scientific rules, and the students who attended the presentation agreed.

According to a press release from the Daily Citizen-News based in Dalton, Georgia, one student (who also happens to be a football player), commented that the presentation was a great way to get more understanding of how gravity and force work.

Shaw Sports Turf leads the synthetic turf industry in research and development. With testing protocols and procedures that exceed those of even the most stringent independent labs, the Research and Development Center at Shaw Sports Turf is at the forefront of advancement. This 75,000 square foot laboratory is the largest and most expansive in the industry, even housing a “pilot” experimental manufacturing plant with narrow-width versions of machines used in Shaw’s manufacturing facilities. This means that the R&D team can run initial trials like no other turf company. Additionally, the team has access to a large turf performance lab featuring all of the equipment needed to test a wide range of factors including gmax, ball roll, ball bounce, rotational resistance, vertical deformation, force reduction, weather effects, and temperature effects.

But how do you teach these ideas using synthetic turf? The research and development team behind Shaw Sports Turf must conduct experiments on a regular basis to ensure a quality product for athletes to play. For example, scientific experiments are required in order to determine how fast a ball rolls across a surface or the amount of traction against a player’s feet when in motion.

One of the actual tests that the R&D team conducts in their own facility uses triaxial accelerometers, which provide simultaneous measurements in three orthogonal directions in order to analyze all of the vibrations being experienced by a structure. Each unit incorporates three separate sensing elements that are oriented at right angles with respect to each other. The purpose for this testing is to simulate a head hitting the ground and is used to determine the impact of various spots on different surfaces. It is an important test to ensure the safety and reduce risk of injury to athletes playing on a field. The Shaw team then explained that they may measure a field in 20 different spots to ensure the safety of the field, this according to the Daily Citizen News press release.

Students may never look at a football field, or physical science, the same way again!

Shaw has always been heavily invested in their community and appreciate this opportunity to work with the students of Dalton Middle School. In addition to community outreach and conducting their own research at the Shaw facility, Shaw Sports Turf has participated in studies with major universities to learn about athlete-surface and ball-surface interaction. Shaw has even developed the patent pending Playability Assessment Tool, a way of looking at field playability and design that is a result of testing and benchmarking synthetic turf playability against natural grass fields.

ABOUT SHAW SPORTS TURF
A wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Shaw Industries is a full flooring provider to the residential and commercial markets. Shaw supplies carpet, hardwood, laminate, resilient, and tile/ stone flooring products, as well as synthetic turf. Shaw Sports Turf is one of the leading synthetic turf companies in North America and has represented quality and innovation for more than two decades with over 3,500 successful installations, including an impressive list of high-profile field installations. For more information please visit http://www.shawsportsturf.com, call 866-703-4004 or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin.

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Jennifer Muse
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