AstroTurf Introduces BIONIC, the New WonderFiber
1 February 2018
Over the decades, AstroTurf has prided itself on being the leaders of innovation in the synthetic turf industry, and in 2018 AstroTurf has done it again with the BIONIC Fiber, a new breakthrough in fiber technology. Throughout the history of the synthetic turf industry, the great quest of manufacturers has been to blend polyethylene (PE) and nylon into a single fiber. That dream has now become a reality!
From the industry’s earliest inception until the 1990s, nylon was used nearly across the board for its superior resilience and strength. The downside of all-nylon fibers was well known. It was abrasive. In the 1990s, polyethylene came into vogue and became the industry standard for tall pile face fibers. The PE fibers were much less abrasive, but they sacrificed the strength that previous generations of turf fields offered. But all of this in the past as AstroTurf has reinvented PE – making it better, stronger, BIONIC.
It is easy to see how blending two dissimilar polymers proved so difficult to accomplish for those in the industry. Chemically speaking, PE and nylon are like oil and water. They do not mix. It has to do with polarity. PE (like oil) is non-polar, while nylon (like water) is polar. That’s why efforts to mix the polymers into a single fiber have always failed – until now.
The breakthrough came through the use of proprietary compatibilizers. These compounds encase the nylon polymers, which are suspended within the PE to reinforce the fiber. These compatibilizers have an affinity with both the PE and the nylon. They are polar on the inside, and non-polar on the outside. In essence, the compatibilizers bridge the gap allowing for the creation of the Bionic co-polymer.
“We are tremendously proud to lead the way in new technological advancements that continue to shape the industry,” said AstroTurf President, Troy Squires. “We believe this is a real game changer in terms of field performance and wear resistance. After all, it’s all about performance.”
The Bionic Fiber is already in use. More than 700,000 square feet of the fiber have been installed at carefully selected beta sites around the country, with varying usage amounts and UV exposure.
The Bionic Fiber has been extensively tested and it delivers a massive improvement in resistance to wear. Accelerated wear tests show that Bionic performs as well at 150,000 cycles as even AstroTurf’s own High Micron monofilament fibers at 100,000 cycles. Polyethylene fibers, regardless of how they are made, or how they may be combined, do not compare to the strength, resilience and durability of a molecularly fused Nylon and Polyethylene fiber. That is why we confidently say… Better, Stronger, BIONIC.