Falls and injuries can cause significant impact on an athlete’s professional careers. While the floor where they practice sports or where the fall occurs may seem irrelevant at first glance, the material that it is made of does matter.
If the floor properly cushions the fall or the impact from the activity, joints experience less stress, and any potential trauma will be less severe. That is Sacyr Ecorubber’s intention with its rubber powder from recycled tires: to create shock-absorbing pavement to minimize any chances of harm.
This material is often used to make rubber safety pavement in children’s playgrounds, and it also has biomechanical properties for physical activities.
“We use shock-absorbing materials, such as encapsulated SBR, EPDM or TPV and we apply it on children’s playgrounds and running tracks. Reusing tires that are already past their prime is an application of circular economy principles, as 100% of the components (rubber, textile and steel) are recycled”, explains Diego Ruiz García, sales manager of Sacyr Ecorubber. It is also UV-resistant.
“These materials have biomechanical properties for athletes, as they contain elastomers, that increase elasticity and shock-absorption properties, so that joints experience less shock. We have recently installed it on a fire station in San Sebastián de Los Reyes, where the fire fighters exercise daily. If they were to exercise on concrete, they would experience joint-related injuries and discomfort in the long term”, explains Diego Ruiz.
Additionally, it is also used on football fields as an infield, for its biomechanical properties; in bituminous mixes to make roads, improving their durability and specifications; in pools and waterlogged areas, for its anti-slip properties; as well as other prefab pieces, such as street bollards, parking bumpers, traffic lane separators… for its anti-shock properties.
“With larger grain sizes, we also make elastic flooring systems to lay under children’s playgrounds, where the floor thickness depends on the height of the playground equipment in the face of a child potentially falling, and it ranges from 4 to 16 cm thick”, explains Diego Ruiz García.
There are also elastic bases installed under football fields, like in the Real Madrid City in Valdebebas, where they were looking to preserve their players’ sports health. Elastic flooring systems are mandatory in certified fields and pitches intended for contact sports where falls are more frequent, such as rugby or hockey,
It also has muffling properties, and it can also be used as a noise insulator. “We have installed it as punching bag filling in gyms and CrossFit clubs, for its shock-absorbing biomechanical properties”, highlights Diego.
Biomechanical properties are also applicable to animal welfare, so it has also been installed on equestrian facilities, to protect the joints of the horses.
Pedagogy-driven games and scupltures
Sacyr Ecorubber stresses the importance of play and physical activity on health and physical and mental development of children, which is why its flooring is on many playgrounds.
This flooring often includes pedagogy-driven games, such as hopscotch, tic-tac-toe, etc. The materials can also be used to make sculptures.
“We are working on 2D and 3D rubber figures that children can play with, and help in their development”, stresses Diego.