Performance of Nylon Climbing Ropes

Essay by pezdespencerUniversity, Master'sA, January 2005

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Nylon climbing ropes are often used in very adverse conditions. Technical rock climbers "...often have a stronger relationship with their rope then they do with their significant other--and trust it more too." (Rock and Ice) Some of the harsh conditions which ropes are subjected to while being climbed on are; abrasion from rocks and equipment, ground in dirt, repetitive falls sustained and moisture. Since any combination of these conditions could possibly affect the behavior of the rope, it would be wise to understand which combinations have the biggest effect on tensile strength. Ropes are the lifeline for climbers and a basic understanding of these conditions could mean the difference between life and death.

It is the intention of this study to better understand the behavior of nylon climbing rope under certain conditions simulating actual use. These are; abrasion, dirt, fatigue and water. The factors of the experiment were applied to the rope samples in a way that would simulate the worst possible conditions found in a climbing atmosphere.

For example, the amount of abrasion applied to the samples far exceeds the amount one would ever find on a "real" climbing rope. The same goes for the rest of the factors. It would be hard to duplicate them under normal climbing use assuming that a given climber knows when to retire a worn or damaged rope. In order to cut cost and save time, 5mm rope samples were used instead of 11 mm climbing ropes. The 5mm samples that were used for this experiment could never be considered for use as a single stand climbing rope. However, since the 5mm and 11mm ropes are constructed basically the same, we can adapt the results of the experiment to predict the behavior of an 11mm rope under comparable circumstances. The brand...