On Track for Success – Sports surfaces for sustainable fitness
Sport is a key aspect of modern life. It provides a valuable counterbalance to everyday living, fosters team bonding and is proven to enhance health and fitness. Whether you are a professional athlete or recreational sports practitioner, the right surface is crucial for a safe sporting experience. This is precisely why BASF has now developed our durable and high-performance sports surface system made of our Elastan® and Elastocoat® series of polyurethane-based coatings and adhesives, along with a special grade of expanded thermoplastic polyurethane (E-TPU), Infinergy® SP.
Urban planners, politicians and administrators have long been aware of the importance of sport. In Asia, for example, with its rapid urbanization and modern metropolitan areas such as Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul, there are numerous schemes to firmly establish sport in urban life and to create appropriate spaces as part of a holistic approach to health. For despite all the advantages that city life undoubtedly offers, it does have its measurable downsides. These can be a higher level of stress, the easier transmission of diseases due to high population density or a less balanced diet due to the constant availability of convenience products and fast food.
While in China the unchecked growth of the urban population with the effects described above is the focus of attention, Japan, for example, also has to take into account the extreme ageing of society. The systematic encouragement of sporting activity can help to solve both problems, because, depending on the type and intensity, people benefit regardless of their standard of fitness or age – for children especially, games and play are an essential part of their development.
However, the decision to integrate more sports halls and grounds in cities is only a first step. After all, in addition to mere access, their equipment is crucial – the safety of athletes and leisure enthusiasts young and old has top priority. A sports surface made of polyurethane-based coatings and adhesives, along with a special grade of expanded thermoplastic polyurethane (E-TPU), Infinergy® SP is impressive with its combination of beneficial properties.
BASF’s flooring structure for sport fields can help athletes to perform at their best and, thanks to its exceptional impact absorption, it can reduce the risk of injury due to prolonged training or accident. Certification by the World Athletics Federation is possible. The material also features high elasticity and ruggedness, which it retains even under extreme temperature conditions.
Infinergy also scores in terms of application and sustainability. It is PAH-free, recyclable and can be installed with conventional tools and aids. Thanks to its low dead weight, the material is also suitable where restrictions apply owing to the location or terrain. Furthermore, it can be applied in water-permeable and waterproof versions. All this makes Infinergy the prime choice for modern, sustainable and above all safe sports grounds, playgrounds, gyms and running tracks.
Just recently, to mark its 25th anniversary in Vietnam, BASF donated four public playgrounds. One of them was built on the grounds of the Binh Minh School in Hanoi, which caters for children with special needs. Thanks to the playground which is equipped with the protective flooring system from BASF, over 70 students can now play safely and enjoy their breaks. And the new high-performance material is also being used in Europe. A new kindergarten building in Malmö, Sweden, is currently being equipped with a play area, parts of which will also be surfaced with Infinergy. In addition to the factors of functionality and safety, the decision-makers here – also because of the strict regulations in Sweden – were particularly keen to find a material that is absolutely free of contaminants and amenable to trouble-free recycling and disposal. Further projects with the new high-performance surface are already in the pipeline.