Sports Engineering

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 453–463 | Cite as

Modelling the cushioning properties of athletic tracks

  • Luca Andena
  • Serena Aleo
  • Francesco Caimmi
  • Francesco Briatico-Vangosa
  • Stefano Mariani
  • Stefano Tagliabue
  • Andrea Pavan
Original Article


In this work, a three-dimensional finite-element model of athletic tracks is presented. The model is based on data from quasi-static compression tests performed on small laboratory samples, to tune the constitutive parameters. The model was validated on three different athletic tracks, considering their top and bottom layers. Model predictions compared well with the results of shock absorption tests performed using a standard artificial athlete system, with relative errors of a few percent in terms of shock absorption. The model was then used to investigate the effect of the geometric structure of different tracks on their shock absorption capabilities. In particular, a reduction in size of the bottom layer cell pattern increased cushioning; the same property was shown to depend on the pattern voids depth in a non-monotonic way. A maximum in shock absorption was found for a void depth value about 40% higher than the one currently used in the analysed track patterns.


Sports surfaces Athletic tracks Numerical modelling Force reduction Geometric structure 



The authors wish to thank MONDO SpA for supplying the materials; LP3 lab of Politecnico di Milano and Mr. Oscar Bressan for help in performing the experimental tests.


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Copyright information

© International Sports Engineering Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Polymer Engineering Lab, Dipartimento di Chimica, Materiali e Ingegneria ChimicaPolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile e AmbientalePolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly
  3. 3.E4 Sport LabPolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly

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