The Australian Open has concluded over the weekend, with Novak Djokovic achieving an amazing three straight sets win against world number three player Daniil Medvedev. A more formidable challenger may have been Stefanos Tsitsipas!
As we watch the game and appreciate the facilities, do we ever consider the engineering involved in providing such a facility – the grandstands, the seating, the level playing surface. Do we wonder why there are no cracks in these tennis courts but every other piece of concrete always has crack?
This article will outline the importance of pavement slabs and the need for the allowance of thermal expansion of surfaces.
Tennis courts are constructed in various ways. When designed and constructed properly, concrete slabs can remain crack free and durable for many years. During the curing process, concrete mixes lose large amounts of water. This loss of water will shrink the concrete slab and if not properly addressed with reinforcement, curing, joints or post-tensioned cables, will result in cracks forming throughout the slab.
Slabs are strengthened in each direction with reinforcing steel bars for which the amount of reinforcement will hold shrinkage cracks tightly closed and eliminate any differential vertical movements at the cracks such as bounces of the ball or footwork of the players. The tennis court will then retain a smooth, playable surface and sustain a crack free environment for many years.
Joints created within the slabs – dowel joints, expansion joints, sawn joints each paly their part in the success of a stress free and crack free court surface.
Good design will ensure that the only stress on the court is with the players and not the court surface.