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Cork makes its mark in the pitches of Euro 2016

France 14/7/2016

New solution from Corticeira Amorim for natural turf reduces the impact of players’ falls by about 40%

Corticeira Amorim, in partnership with Natural Grass, has developed a new solution for natural turf used in four stadiums during UEFA Euro 2016 in France. Developed in partnership with Amorim Isolamentos, the innovative technology of AirFibr incorporates cork, natural grass and synthetic microfibers - thus resulting in a sturdier turf, that was used in various stadiums during the 2016 UEFA European Championship, including the Parc Olympique Lyonnais, in Lyon, the Toulouse Municipal Stadium, the Geffroy Guinch Stadium in Saint-Etienne – which hosted the Portuguese national team’s opening match against Iceland - and the Nouveau Stade in Bordeaux, where Portugal won against Wales.

The expanded cork granules used in this new solution offer higher shock absorption, minimising the player’s contact with the pitch. This innovation is the result of a scientific calculation, and is made possible by an automated installation that absorbs the athletes’ energy and body impact, thus adapting the pitch to the requirements of professional sport.

Comparative tests with substrates of traditional solutions reveal clear differences, since playing fields created using AirFibr technology are more "friendly" to players’ joints because the cork-enriched turf (replacing conventional turf) reduces impact by 40%.

In this context, and in order to guarantee consistent performance of this kind of pitches, a decisive role is played by cork’s elastic memory, since cork continuously tries to recover its original shape after compression.

Finally, and thanks to cork’s low thermal conductivity, this ground-breaking material has remarkable insulating capacity, which increases the turf’s resistance to thermal shocks.

At the same time, and in comparison with more traditional turf systems, key advantages of AirFibr technology are preservation of the grass and high durability, even during periods of heavy rainfall.

Carlos Manuel Oliveira, General Manager of Amorim Isolamentos, draws attention to the situation following UEFA Euro 2016, given that the pitches where expanded cork granules were used are in excellent condition: "After intensive use of the pitches during the games, the stadiums that used AirFibr technology have an excellent level of preservation - a clear testimony to the resistance of this solution. "