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Nylon Slings: The Reliable Workhorse of the Rigging Industry 

Nylon slings, introduced in 1938, have become a mainstay in the lifting and rigging industry due to their exceptional strength, versatility, and affordability. They continue to be a popular choice for countless applications, even in the age of advanced synthetic fibers.

Strength at the Core

The undeniable strength of nylon is the cornerstone of its success in sling applications. When compared to traditional natural fibers like manila and hemp, nylon boasts a two-fold advantage in pulling strength. This impressive feat can be attributed to the very building blocks of nylon itself.

The Science of Strength: Molecular Muscle

At the microscopic level, textile fibers are essentially long chains of molecules linked together. The strength of a fiber hinges on the number of these chains and the strength of the individual bonds between them. Natural fibers have limitations in forming these strong bonds. In contrast, synthetic fibers like nylon can be engineered to create exceptionally long and robust molecular chains, resulting in superior tensile strength.

Beyond Strength: Additional Benefits of Nylon Slings

While strength is paramount, nylon slings offer a variety of other desirable qualities:

  • Lightweight: Nylon's low weight makes it easy to handle and maneuver during lifting operations.
  • Flexibility: Nylon slings conform easily to the shape of the load, ensuring a secure and efficient lift.
  • Abrasion Resistance: Nylon offers good resistance to wear and tear, extending the sling's lifespan.
  • Chemical Resistance: Nylon stands up well to most common chemicals encountered in rigging environments. However, exposure to concentrated acids and bleaches should be avoided.

Elongation Under Load: A Trade-Off to Consider

One key factor to consider when selecting nylon slings is their elongation under load. Nylon slings can stretch up to 10% of their original length when under maximum rated load. While this elasticity can be beneficial for absorbing shock loads, it can also be a drawback if minimal movement is desired during a lift.

Durability and Safety

Unlike natural fibers that burn, nylon melts under extreme heat, providing a clear warning sign of potential overload. Nylon is also resistant to degradation from insects, fungi, and mildew. However, prolonged exposure to sunlight can lead to UV degradation, so regular inspections are crucial for maintaining sling safety.

Conclusion: A Reliable Choice for Rigging Professionals

Nylon slings offer a compelling combination of strength, versatility, and affordability. Their well-documented track record and inherent safety features make them a reliable workhorse for countless lifting and rigging applications. By understanding the properties and limitations of nylon slings, rigging professionals can make informed decisions to select the most suitable sling for each task.