Artificial turf: what is dtex?

Dtex is the unit of measure that indicates the durability of the fiber.

The technical specifications for artificial turf systems for athletic use outline the systems’ characteristics and include information on their components: the height of the grass, characteristics of the yarn, properties of the infill, and more. These elements dictate the technical and athletic function of each turf system and provide the data used to establish whether the system meets the requirements of its intended athletic use.

For example, artificial turf for soccer fields comprise a surface with fibers between 45 and 65 mm tall, a stabilizing filler made of quartz sand with special characteristics, and a high-performance infill made of rubber granules. The artificial turf for paddle tennis courts, meanwhile, is made up of a surface with fibers 10 to 15 mm tall and a quartz sand filler, which serves both stabilizing and technical functions.

Artificial turf underlays also have specified dimensions and properties:

Composition: Among the variables are the type of manufacturing method used (usually, it’s in-line tufting), the caliber, the type of fiber, the composition of the surface, the morphology and color, the type of backing and its composition, and the type of cladding or binding agent used to connect the fibers to the backing.

Properties: Specifications include the number of points per unit of area, height and thickness of the fiber, thickness of the filament, and weight of the thread, also known as the “title.” Thread weight is expressed in a unit of measure called dtex.

Many architects, engineers, facility managers and athletic technicians, are familiar with the use of the term dtex. But what exactly does it refer to?

Weight, length of the yarn, and durability

The fibers that make up the surface of artificial turf are synthetic textile yarns. In the textile industry, there are several different methods for categorizing yarns. The variation in methods occurred because of different customs established by different industries and different regions, which has made it extremely difficult to unify them. The values that describe the characteristics of a yarn are called “yarn title”. The title sets/determines the relationship between mass and length, and its value must be preceded by the symbol of the system used. The numbering systems are classified into two distinct groups according to the principles upon which they were founded:

  • Direct system (constant length and variable weight): Examples: tex, den, and dtex.
  • Indirect system (constant weight and variable length): Examples: Imperial (used for cotton) and metric (wool).

In the tufting textile industry, the most commonly used units of measure are the European tex and the American denier.

Tex: Measures a material’s durability by expressing the density or linear mass of a fiber. A tex is the mass in grams for every 1,000 meters of fiber. In the artificial turf industry, however, this measurement is usually counted in tenths — or decitex, commonly abbreviated as dtex. Therefore, dtex measures mass in grams for every 10,000 meters of fiber or filament. When comparing raw materials of equal quality, the higher the yarn’s dtex, the greater its durability.

Denier: The Anglo-Saxon unit used to measure the linear mass of a fiber. The denier is defined as the mass in grams per 9,000 meters of fiber.

The tex is customarily used in Canada and Europe, while the dernier is more common in the United States and Central and South America. The Mondo Tufting laboratory has developed samples for South America with data expressed in denier.

A practical example

To measure filaments composed of multiple fibers or yarns, the term “yarn count dtex” is sometimes used. This refers to the mass for every 10,000 meters of a single filament. For example, MONDO‘s 4NX filament, which measures 12,000 dtex, is formed by grouping six filaments of 2,000 dtex each.

Therefore, the dtex is a unit of measure that establishes the relationship between mass and length. In a filament of artificial turf we can obtain the same dtex by inserting more mass (using more material) and thus modifying the thickness and length. In other words, when using a filament that measures 12,000 dtex, for every 10,000 linear meters of filament, the weight is equal to 12 kg.