1. What it means
Force Reduction Testing, which is also sometimes referred to as shock absorption testing, is the measure of the ability of a surface to reduce impact forces when compared to a standard concrete surface. The term is often confused with the force of an athlete’s heel upon a surface.
2. How to measure it
Force Reduction Testing was originally developed in the 1970s to assess and regulate polymeric surfaces. The test involves a mass which is dropped onto a spring which transfers the load through to a surface. This method is now widely used by Soccer, World Rugby, International Hockey Federation, International Association of Athletics Federations and the Maple Flooring Manufacturer’s Association (MFMA). Many standards utilize this same test and calculation methods. Force Reduction Testing is called up in EN 14904, DIN 18032-2, ASTM F2772, and ASTM F2157 standards, all adopting the same methods when developing their own performance standards. It is slightly modified in the test used by FIFA to evaluate synthetic turf fields.
3. The tolerances
Because the Force Reduction Test is so widely used and has been for more than 40 years, it has become one of the bench mark tests for many sports surfaces. We know that artificial turf systems all fall into a relatively soft band, while many athletics tracks are firmer than turf systems. Surfaces such floors are found to be relatively hard.
4. Why we test
Injury reduction - The most common reason for Force Reduction Testing is to reduce injury. Hockey was an early adopter of this now popular test because its organisations were the first to recognise that as they began embracing artificial turf, its use could potentially harm athletes. The FIH set tolerances to ensure shock absorption was measured and regulated, meaning that shock pads were almost mandatory.
Regulation – Setting tolerances has ensured that products examined under laboratory conditions are engineered to meet these tolerances. This has led to better consistency in the marketplace and installation in the field is also much more consistent and compliant.
ABOVE: A Sports Labs innovative approach to semi-automating the Advanced Artificial Athlete
5. The newest technology and innovations
Sports Labs was the first company to develop a flight-ready Advanced Artificial Athlete (AAA), which is now widely copied by equipment manufacturers and laboratories alike. In addition, Sports Labs developed a semi-automated AAA device which is more consistent, operator friendly, and quicker than any other device on the market.
Eric O'Donnell, Managing Director
Learn how Sports Labs can help with your testing requirements.
Call Keith MacPherson at +44(0)1506 444 755.