The term artificial grass has evolved from such as 'fake grass' & 'plastic grass' which themselves were marketed & promoted by commercial natural turf companies to counteract the rise of the original Astro Turf during the 1960's. Astro Turf which is in fact a brand name for the original product that was developed by Monsanto gained prominence in the U.S.A. during this time when it was laid as the playing surface for the newly constructed AstroDome sports arena. Since that time proponents of both natural & artificial turf have been locked in a constant battle of claims & counter claims of each others product.
The term Artificial Turf is generally used when synthetic grass is used within a sports environment, the term Artificial Grass being used when synthetic grass is used in a more domestic environment. The synthetic surface in each case are basically the same, but each specific use takes the underlying technology & modifies its characteristics to best suit its intended use. Where artificial turf as used in sporting environments tends to be a lot more durable & less aesthetic, artificial grass for domestic use tends to focus on the aesthetic to mimic the appearance of natural grass. While still being more durable than natural grass, artificial grass is more suited to the domestic garden / outdoor environment.
In simple terms artificial grass is an outdoor carpet that is manufactured to mimic the look & feel of natural grass. A process known as 'tufting' for which an automation process was developed in the 1950's gave rise to the many varying carpet pile depths that we can choose from today. Without this process we would not have the artificial grass & its many variants today.
Tufting is a process where many needles insert a fibre / yarn into a backing in a loop format that is then cut at the top of the loop to leave individual fibre strands. The distance the strand is pushed into its backing determining the pile depth.
While domestic carpets are made from many different combinations of both man made & natural fibres, artificial grass requires a dedicated fibre / strand type to best mimic natural grass & be durable in both terms of colour retention & ware within its intended deployed environment.
The first stage of the process is to add all of the constituent components that will make up the material into a large industrial mixing bowl / hopper.This will include the Thiolon(r)polythene, colour dies & chemical agents that stabilise the compound to the effects of UV. The latter protecting the colour component from fading when being exposed to natural sunlight.
After the components have been blended they are fed into a large mixer. Here the compound is mixed until it has a thick, almost toffee like consistency.
The mixed compound is then fed into an extruder & exits as a long single strand with the form, texture & colour of grass.
The next stage of the process takes the strands from the previous process and feeds them through carding machine which forms a loose rope of the extruded strands. At this stage strands of various shades of green can be 'carded' together giving our 'tri-colour' effect. This 'lax' rope is then tightened & woven into a yarn.
The yarn is then heat treated to fix the to set the shape & form.
Next the yarn is taken to a 'tufting machine' where rows of needles push the yarn through the backing to the required pile depth. The created loop is then cut to form the individual strands of artificial grass. This process is repeated line after line subject to the pile density in a continuous length of up to 25 metres in length.
The lengths from above are then sprayed on the reverse side with latex. A second layer of backing is also sprayed with latex & then joined to the main layer to strengthen it.
The multi layer lengths are then fed to rows of heat lamps that are used to cure the latex.
The final part of the process is to feed the cured layers through a machine that trims any strands that exceed the desired pile height.
The 25 metre lengths are then rolled & packaged ready for transport.