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Modeling Turf Through Discrete Element Analysis



Composite materials play a considerable role in sports. Artificial turf is a composite which attempts to advantageously replicate a natural grass/soil playing surface. Despite numerous advantages, the technology is correlated with an increase in injuries. The concept behind this research is to create and validate a discrete element model (DEM) for the ground/foot interaction through the use of open source software. Related models could investigate footwear and interactions with other granular materials, e.g. sand on a beach or climbing on gravelly hills. After validation, the goal is to analyze an arrangement of studs to determine what role stud geometry plays on torque [N-mm]. The validated data was provided through laboratory experiments. Three football studs attached to a rigid bracket were turned at 1 degree per second in rubber infill and artificial grass+infill on a servo hydraulic load frame for 60 seconds. Torque was sampled at 100Hz. A trial and error approach was employed to calibrate the elastic modulus, Poisson's ratio, and density until it had a similar output to the validation data provided by the load frame. Through this approach, the DEM model was able to yield results within a 2% difference for average torque relative to the validation data. DEM simulations demonstrated stud geometry appears to play a significant role in torque and force generation.


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