Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Sports Biomechanics and Motor Control Research Group


Viscoelastic materials are used extensively in sports surfaces which are designed to allow elastic deformation that can enhance performance and reduce loading. A variety of surfaces have been developed which are commonly assigned to one of two groups: point-elastic surfaces that distribute forces over a small area, and area-elastic surfaces that react to a local force by deforming over a relatively large area. The surface-athlete interaction has been identified as a possible factor that may affect the risk of injury, since internal structures may become damaged when loading is too large. Landing mats are bulky, have a number of component layers, transmit forces relatively slowly and undergo large area-viscoelastic deformations. This introduces a number of potential problems related to the mat's construction, the dynamics of the mat whilst undergoing impact and the mat / force plate interaction. A significant amount of mat mass may be accelerated during impact and it will take a finite time for the force at the surface of the mat to be detected beneath the mat via a force plate. If detailed analysis of the gymnast-mat interaction during landing is to be investigated, the mechanical response of the area-elastic mat in such loading regimes needs to be determined accurately.


photo sequence of landing




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