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Synthetic Rope


Unlike string, line, or thread, rope is a twisted or braided length of fibers that exhibits increased strength. Rope is made from natural and synthetic fibers, as well as from steel. Synthetic rope enjoys widespread popularity for its many advantages.

Rope Construction 

Rope is formed by either twisting or braiding individual strands of fibers. The two methods are shown below:

Uses And Limitations 

Compared to steel wire rope, synthetic rope by its very nature is limited to light load lifting applications and for strapping and tethering, as in a tag line.

OSHA defines a tag line as, “a rope (usually fiber) attached to a lifted load for purposes of controlling load spinning and pendular motions or used to stabilize a bucket or magnet during material handling operations . . . the end of which is held by an employee who controls the load's motion.”

Rope Material Comparisons 

If a natural fiber, say manila, is considered as a basis for strength comparison, then a three-strand nylon rope has 21⁄2 times greater strength and a 2-in-1 braided nylon rope has 3 times greater strength.

Synthetic Rope Advantages

Synthetic Rope Disadvantages

The Future

The potential of rope constructed of ultra high molecular weight polyethylene fibers (UHMPWE) to replace wire rope in logging applications is proving to be successful. UHMPWE rope's strength is similar to steel wire rope of the same nominal diameter but it weighs only about 1/9 as much. (Reference: