Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Peter Gustafson

Second Advisor

Jennifer Hudson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Tianshu Liu, Ph.D.


Open source, artificial turf, cleats, discrete element methods, football studs

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Artificial turf is frequently used in sports today and attempts to advantageously replicate a natural grass/soil playing surface. Despite numerous advantages, the technology is correlated with an increase in injuries. The concept behind this research is to create and validate a discrete element model (DEM) for the ground/foot interaction through the use of open source software. After validation, the goal is to analyze an arrangement of studs to determine what role stud geometry plays on torque [N-mm] and force [N] generation. The validation data was provided through laboratory experiments. Three football studs attached to a rigid bracket were turned at 1 degree per second in artificial grass, rubber infill, and grass+infill on a servo hydraulic load frame for 60 seconds. Torque and axial force were sampled at 100Hz.

A trial and error approach was employed to calibrate the elastic modulus, Poisson’s ratio, and density until it had a similar output to the validation data provided by the load frame. Through this approach, the DEM model was able to yield results within a 2% difference for average torque relative to the validation data. DEM simulations demonstrated stud geometry appears to play a significant role in torque and force generation.