Which Rope is the One for You? Fibers Comparison

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Which Rope is the One for You? Fibers Comparison

Which Rope is the One for You? Fibers Comparison - Choosing a material for a particular rope is a difficult task because each and every material has its own negative and positive points

I guess you already know that rope may be made of any long, stringy, fibrous material, but generally is made of certain natural or synthetic fibers. Furthermore, the properties and performance of any rope are reliant on the materials from which they are made. So I would like to give you a short preview of what are the advantages and disadvantages of the best known natural and synthetic fibers.

This is how you can compare the key properties of the most frequently used materials and finally choose the rope that is right for your needs.

NATURAL FIBERS

Natural fibers are usually categorized as either hard or soft. Hard fibers are obtained from the leaves of plants, while soft fibers are obtained from the stems.

 

  1. Cotton

Advantages:

  • Natural cellulose fiber with high cellulose content (96%)
  • High resistance to sunlight
  • Absorbs moisture from the air
  • Resistant to solvents and weak acids

Disadvantages:

  • Flammable, they decompose at about 160°C
  • Sensitive to sulfuric acid

 

Manila

Advantages:

  • Durable
  • Flexible
  • Resistant to salt water damage
  • Good resistance to sunlight, it will not melt easily
  • Exceptionally strong
  • Visually appealing

Disadvantages:

  • Shrinks when becomes wet
  • Expensive

 

Hemp

Advantages:

  • Natural, organic, biodegradable cellulose fiber – high wettability
  • High permeability to air which prevents mold and rot
  • High resistance
  • Resistant to solvents

Disadvantages:

  • Slightly flammable, sensitive to acids in general

 

Flax

Advantages:

  • Natural, organic, biodegradable cellulose fiber
  • Absorbs and easily yields moisture
  • Soft-touch
  • High resistance in wet condition especially
  • High permeability to air which prevents mold and rot
  • Burns without leaving any residue

Disadvantages:

  • Sensitive to acids in general

 

Wool

Advantages:

  • High capacity to absorb moisture from the air
  • Low conductivity to heat and electricity
  • The lightest natural fiber
  • High elasticity and increases with humidity
  • Allows UV rays
  • It hardly catches fire
  • Great for soundproof

Disadvantages:

  • Folds easily
  • Low resistance when there is humidity
  • Low resistance on concentrated acids
  • Attacked by moths

SYNTHETIC FIBERS

 

 

Nylon (Polyamide)

Advantages:

  • Exceptional dynamic features
  • Hydrophobic
  • Very poor water absorption
  • High resistance to chemical and biological agents
  • Resistance to abrasion
  • Good sunlight resistance
  • Rot resistant
  • Maintains its superior strength while still being very flexible

Disadvantages:

  • Does not absorb sweat
  • Its strength becomes compromised when wet
  • It charges electrostatic

Susceptible to degradation in high temperatures

 

Polyester

Advantages:

  • Silky, pleasant to handle
  • Insulating
  • Resistant to depreciation
  • Resistant to microorganisms and chemical agents
  • Inflammable
  • High resistance to UV and abrasion
  • Close control
  • Moderate price
  • Stretch resistance
  • Retains its strength when wet

Disadvantages:

  • Does not absorb sweat
  • It charges electrostatic
  • High tendency to pilling
  • Quite stiff
  • Does not float

 

Polypropylene

Advantages:

  • Very soft and lightweight
  • Minimum stretch
  • Great thermal insulation
  • High resistance to oils, mold, mildew and chemical agents
  • High mechanical resistance
  • Not affected by bugs or mold
  • No loss of strength in water, does not absorb water
  • Inexpensive

Disadvantages:

  • Degrades in UV
  • Low abrasion resistance
  • Very slippery
  • It will not return to its original size after being stretched out
  • Solidity in low light
  • Sensitive to dry heat.

For all ropes, fibers are the building blocks. This is why you need to understand the different kinds of fibers before understanding the rope itself. All these advantages and disadvantages are important. But there is something more you should know. You should understand what makes a fiber industrial, and that is its „high breaking tenacity”.

What does this mean?

Breaking tenacity is the breaking strength of a fiber as expressed via linear density. Easily: at what level of force will the fiber break. And this is measured by gpd – grams per denier. A denier is a unit of measure for the linear mass density of fibers. So fibers have a breaking tenacity between 5 and 15 gpd and you will see some examples below:

  • Manila has 3 gpd
  • Cotton has 5 gpd
  • Polypropylene has 6.5 gpd
  • Polyester has 7 gpd
  • Nylon has 7.5 gpd.

Choosing a material for a particular rope is a difficult task because each and every material has its own negative and positive points. But knowing the features will definitely help you choose a rope for the specific use you need; from the simplest everyday use to the most complex application.

  Which Rope is the One for You? Fibers Comparison

 

 

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