Combining horizontal and vertical ground reaction force reduction with sustainability in multi-sport surfaces.

Walker, A 2014, Combining horizontal and vertical ground reaction force reduction with sustainability in multi-sport surfaces., Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Aerospace Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Combining horizontal and vertical ground reaction force reduction with sustainability in multi-sport surfaces.
Author(s) Walker, A
Year 2014
Abstract Any sports surface which does not adequately attenuate the energy imparted into the surface when an athlete lands or changes direction on the surface, is potentially dangerous. Any material placed between the athlete and the surface, which does not sufficiently ‘decouple’ the athlete from the sports surface through shock attenuation, can cause injury. Despite the risk of injury while participating in sport and the costs associated with rehabilitation, sports related exercise offers huge health and wellbeing benefits to participants and the wider community. In order to preserve good health in an aging population, it is important to enable and encourage participation in physical exercise and recreation by economically providing low injury-risk surfaces on which various sport and recreation activities can take place. Injuries are a major barrier to the maintenance or increased participation in physical activity.

Sprung timber sports playing surfaces are the common throughout most of the developed world and are the norm at higher levels of competitive indoor sport. Although timber is widely recognised as a natural and renewable resource with negative net carbon emissions, there is also the possibility that the environmental burdens created while using, maintaining and ultimately disposing of a wooden playing surface, may outweigh the environmental loads of its synthetic alternatives. The use of life cycle thinking approaches challenge conventional wisdom and aim to expose the true environmental loads over the lifecycle of each surface type considered. Only by using comparative life cycle thinking tools, such as LCA, do the life cycle implications of material/component selection decisions become fully apparent.

The body of work presented in this thesis therefore describes the research for and development of, an innovative sustainable sports surface. This has been achieved through the design and development of a novel impact attenuating sports surface technology, which permits the mitigation of potentially injurious breaking forces and therefore reduces the risk of injury while playing sport. In order to develop a more environmentally sustainable sports surface, the full life-cycle costs and life-cycle environmental impacts of the surface are also considered and minimised where possible.

Sport is an important aspect of Australian life and, in particular, it has a significant place in the social structures of our urban and rural communities. Safe, affordable, low environmental impact sports surfaces will encourage sport participation, encourage social interaction, increase access to sports facilities and help individuals maintain physical activity longer in life.

This research is significant as connections between surface material and injury risk on sports surfaces and surface sustainability have rarely been studied. Despite a wide range of playing surfaces being commercially available, the literature states that there is a lack of evidence connecting to the appropriateness of the playing characteristics of different surface types to distinct sports.

The research outcomes have the potential to reduce the risk of participant injury on sports surfaces across all age groups, lower the associated health costs, increase access to safe, sustainable sports surfaces and ultimately increase the level of sports and physical activity participation.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Aerospace Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Subjects Industrial Design
Environmental Impact Assessment
Mechanical Engineering not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) Sports Surface
Shock Attenuation
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Created: Tue, 03 Jul 2018, 10:54:56 EST by Denise Paciocco
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