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Sports Flooring Elasticity

Depending on how it responds to an athlete, a sports floor can be classified based on its elasticity. The most common types of elasticity are area-elastic or point-elastic. The key difference relates to the relative area of deflection when a downward force is applied to the surface. For instance, when a basketball player runs across a court, each footfall creates energy as it lands. This energy must be dispersed in some way across the floor. An area-elastic floor disperses energy over a wide surface area, while a point-elastic sports floor reacts in a more localized area. A combination flooring system combines the properties of both area-elastic and point-elastic flooring.

Area-Elastic

Area-Elastic IllustrationArea-elastic flooring is almost synonymous with wood flooring systems. Wood sports flooring typically consists of a solid surface with shock absorbing pads underneath. Since hardwood surfaces are not as pliant as other materials, vertical deformation occurs over a large area when a force is applied, dispersing energy farther across the surface. With area-elastic flooring, a larger area of the surface is engaged in returning energy to the athlete. However, an inherent property of area-elastic floors is a dissimilar performance over the entire surface. This is due to an unavoidable lack of uniformity in the placement of shock pads, sleepers, and other subfloor supports.

Point-Elastic

Point-Elastic IllustrationResilient sports flooring such as vinyl, rubber, polyurethane, and linoleum represent point-elastic flooring systems. These gym flooring options have uniform performance across the whole playing surface. This means that every location on the floor will have almost identical shock absorption, ball rebound, and vertical deformation. Also, the area of deformation on point-elastic flooring is much smaller than area-elastic systems. One benefit of this is that the surrounding areas of the floor remain relatively unchanged by activity in a particular area. In essence, a point-elastic floor interacts with each athlete on an individual basis.

Combi-Elastic

Combi-Elastic IllustrationCombi-elastic systems, also called combination systems, consist of an area-elastic substructure with a point-elastic resilient surface. By engaging both types of elasticity, they respond to impact both locally and across the wider surface area. As a result of this duel response, combination systems are widely regarded as one of the best sports flooring options in terms of comfort and safety. Combination systems also provide a high degree of uniformity and are typically ranked in the higher classes of shock absorption per ASTM F2772.

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