CHOOSING YOUR SPORTS FLOOR
What you need to know…
For each application of sports flooring, it is important evaluate a floor based on the characteristics that distinguish it. This is where ASTM F2772 comes in. It measures four key factors regarding safety and suitability for sports activities. These factors are: FORCE REDUCTION, SURFACE FINISH EFFECT (also called “friction”), BALL REBOUND and VERTICAL DEFORMATION. Each variable provides crucial information for selecting a recreational or sports flooring system. Systems that can be tested under ASTM F2772 are: AREA-ELASTIC, POINT-ELASTIC and COMBI-ELASTIC.
SPORTS FLOORING CATEGORIES
> Wood systems
Flexible floor with a wide area of deformation.
> Synthetic systems
Flexible, soft floor surface where the compressed area is related to the size of the specific load.
> Combination of the two other systems
These are area-elastic floors with a point-elastic surface. The deformation area is wide and located on the load distribution layer. On the surface, the deformation is very much connected to the specific area size of the load.
Force reduction (also called “shock absorption”) assesses the ability of a surface to reduce the force of impact. This predominantly relates to impacts generated by lower extremities, like an athlete running. Force reduction is tested according to ASTM F2569 and it indicates the degree of attenuation provided by the surface in response to certain movements. ASTM F2772 arranges degrees of force reduction into five categories, to aid in determining what the most appropriate level would be for specific sports or/and other activities. ASTM F2772 also establishes a minimum value of 10% force reduction for any floor space designed for indoor athletics or physical recreation.
Ball rebound (also called ball bounce) is a mechanical property that determines a surface’s suitability for basketball. It is tested according to ASTM F2117 and relates to two parameters: uniformity level (deviation of test point cannot exceed 3% of the test averages) and performance level (average performance of test points must reach a minimum of 90%). Ball rebound is based on the responsiveness of a ball and its interaction with the surface.
SURFACE FINISH EFFECT (FRICTION)
Surface finish effect describes a surface’s response to a sliding foot, typically under dry conditions. It is tested according to ASTM E303 and accounts for two parameters: performance level (testing must achieve a value between 80-110) and uniformity level (individual test results cannot vary by greater than 4 points from the value average); the testing apparatus used for ASTM F2772 is reliable, repeatable, and portable (in the event that field testing is desired).
Vertical deformation values indicate the ability of the surface to deform under load. High deformation may affect the safety of the athlete, causing instability of the foot, while a low one may result in injuries caused by the immediate impact force. The testing and parameters of acceptable results are specific for each type of flooring system (area-elastic, point-elastic, and combi-elastic).
Before ASTM F2772, sports floors were manufactured to meet the standards of European or German committees. These standards were focused on the sporting activities popular in Europe. ASTM F2772 is designed toward the needs of North American sports, which makes it the most appropriate standard for Canadian use. This makes it the most relevant standard to use in North America. To download a complete version of ASTM F2772-11, visit www.astm.org.