The Groundsman

October 2013

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Page 32 of 51

TECHNICAL UPDATE 33 the Groundsman October 2013 Open flume chamber Custom monitoring chamber and weather station at the new Sports Village Bicester Field Activities: Every sports development is unique and each location has various site-specific demands and features that can influence the way in which a pitch is able to drain. This made monitoring the drainage behaviour of pitches a significant challenge to overcome. Highly variable flow rates rendered 'off the shelf' equipment invalid and required novel solutions to be designed, tested and selected. At an early stage, 'FloPod' was designed and fabricated at Loughborough University and its development has featured heavily throughout the progression of the project. Currently 'FloPod 'is deployed in a sand dressed needle punched multi-use games area (MUGA), which encompasses an impermeable liner to restrict subgrade drainage water interaction. Sub grade interaction is just one of the key factors being considered as it has the potential to allow for significant volumes of water to bypass the drainage system, which may not be allowed for in design due to lack of site investigation information. There has also been growth in natural pitch monitoring activities, joining forces with Agripower to monitor at Merchant Taylors School and the new Sports Village, Bicester. These systems utilise custom built chambers to house larger flumes and full weather stations to obtain more detailed meteorological data. In addition, a further collaboration with Dr Andrew Owen, Myerscough College and Leeds Rhinos has enabled a third monitoring opportunity at the Headingly Stadium as part of a wider study by Myerscough looking at both drainage water quality and water quantity issues. Currently there are four sites under active monitoring with additional locations awaiting equipment. Laboratory Activities: While field monitoring can show overall performance of the entire development, advances have been made in the lab to develop a suite of tests on the individual materials that combine to form the entire pitch system. Currently these experiments have focussed on materials related to artificial pitch constructions with the aim of expanding into natural turf tests in a potential future project. The main experimental setup encompasses the flexibility of a modular system, for testing individual material layers, with the ability to test the whole system. A number of different artificial carpet systems and shockpads have been tested to establish how water interacts with these materials under varied rainfall conditions. These conditions include design storms where the flux of rainfall through the system was closely measured to establish barriers and gateways to infiltration. Outcomes: Currently the laboratory phase of the project has been completed and the results are being compiled to assist in the development of a model which allows forward prediction of drainage performance based on predefined construction criteria. The model will aid the characterisation of pitch drainage performance and efforts are being made to engage with regulatory bodies and designers to ensure this information meets the needs to change planning perceptions. The main conclusions of this research project will follow in early 2014, however if you have any queries regarding the work, please contact l Test rig disassembled Visit for more information and digital editions

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