Feature Article - July/August 2006
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Special Supplement: Complete Guide to Sports Surfaces and Flooring

Something's Afoot

By Kara Spak

Sport Surfaces Lingo

Want to sound like you're in the know when it comes to sports floors and surfaces? This vocabulary list may help.

POINT-ELASTIC SURFACE: A surface that bends at the point of pressure and absorbs energy. This is common in synthetic surfaces.

AREA-ELASTIC SURFACE: A rigid surface that does not bend but yields gradually to pressure and can return energy, like wood floors

COMPOSITE SURFACE: A surface with characteristics of both point and area elasticity, often a synthetic surface over wood

RESILIENCE: A floor's ability to bend or give. Synthetic surfaces often have greater resiliency than wood.

MOISTURE CONTENT: The weight of water contained in wood flooring, as a percentage of a kiln-dried sample

SLEEPER SYSTEM: Wood flooring system where the wood strips are installed atop strips of wood studs

PANEL SYSTEM: Wood flooring system where the wood strips are installed on top of strips of other material, often plywood

ANCHORED SYSTEM: Wood flooring system where the wood strips are installed on top of sheets of other materials, often plywood, with 2-by-3 "sleepers" under the plywood

ACCLIMATIZATION: The process where wood flooring materials must sit in a facility for a number of days to adjust to moisture levels

FORCE REDUCTION: The ability of a sports floor to absorb the shock of impact, compared to a non-resilient floor

BALL REBOUND: The percentage to which a ball bounced back to the height from which it is dropped, compared to the percentage on a non-resilient floor like concrete. Ball rebound, or bounce, should be at least 90 percent on a sports surface where basketball is played.

STANDARD DEFORMATION: The depth to which a floor indents under a load of weight

DEFORMATION CONTROL: The area of a deformation when a floor indents under a load of weight

DUROMETER: A device that measures surface hardness in the value "Shore A." The higher the number, the softer the floor.

SLIDING BEHAVIOR: The distance a floor can permit an athlete's foot to turn or purposely slide while still preventing uncontrolled sliding.

EPDM: Ethylene propylene diene monomer, a type of synthetic rubber flooring that comes in granule form

SBR: Styrene butadiene rubber, another granulized form of synthetic rubber

PVC: Polyvinyl chloride, a common form of synthetic rubber that is identical to the substance used for plumbing pipes

PREFABRICATED SHEET SYSTEMS (ALSO CALLED SHEET GOODS): Synthetic flooring manufactured off-site and delivered in rolls or sheets

CAST IN PLACE SYSTEMS: Synthetic flooring systems created on site

VULCANIZED RUBBER: Natural rubber used for point-elastic surfaces or synthetic vulcanized rubber