The choices available for rope constructions and fibers has increased dramatically in the past few decades.  Advanced                co-polymers (ropes made with multiple types of fibers, computer controlled machinery, etc.)  have created a wide variety of choices.  The following answers are for questions asked by people with ordinary or common needs for rope. These will not help for those who have questions regarding specialized requirements. Contact us for details for specialized ropes.

  1. Which is better- twisted or braided?

The application for which the rope will be used will determine this.  Each construction has advantages and disadvantages:

Twisted Construction

  • Most commonly used worldwide
  • The tensile ( breaking) strength is higher than braided
  • Usually is less expensive than braided
  • Not as abrasion resistant as braided
  • Easier to splice ( weave two ropes together) than braided

Braided Construction

  • More abrasion resistant than twisted
  • Usually is easier to coil than twisted
  • Normally is more expensive than twisted
  • Harder to splice (braid two ropes together) than twisted

2) Which fiber is best?

Each fiber has advantages and disadvantages (Click here to see Characteristics of Rope Fibers Chart).

Generally speaking common polyethylene and polypropylene are lightweight , will float, and are inexpensive compared to other fibers.

Nylon and polyester are stronger, heavier, will not float, and more expensive than common polyethylene or polypropylene.

Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene ( UHMWPE) is extremely strong, will float, and is expensive compared to other fibers.

3) What is Rope Diameter?

Rope diameter is the measurement of the thickness of the rope.  This measurement can be in inches or millimeters.

4) What is Tensile Strength?

Tensile Strength is a measurement in pounds or kilos to indicate the amount of weight, tension, or force that will cause rope to break.  Tensile strength is often called breaking strength.

5) What are Grams Per Denier?

Grams per denier is a method of measuring the strength of fiber.  The higher the grams per denier, the stronger the fiber.

6) What is Working Load?

Ropes should never be used in situations where  tension on the rope will meet or exceed the tensile( breaking) strength of the rope.  This is extremely dangerous and must be avoided.  Working load is a guideline (in pounds or kilos) to indicate the maximum amount of tension, weight, or force that is recommended for safety.  As a general rule working loads are 10% to 15% of new rope tensile strengths.

7) What is Abrasion Resistance?

Abrasion resistance is the ability of the fiber in rope to withstand wear and tear or chaffing due to rubbing or scraping against something such as sand, rocks, etc.

8) What is Rope Yield?

Rope yield is simply the measurement of linear feet, yards, or meters that is in a pound or kilo of weight.

Example:  a yield of 100 feet per pound means that 100 feet of rope will weigh one pound.