Published On:Oct 14,2016

A rope is a linear collection of natural or artificial plies, yarns or strands which are twisted or braided together in order to combine them into a larger and stronger form, but is not a cable or wire. Ropes have tensile strength and so can be used for dragging and lifting, but are far too flexible to provide compressive strength. As a result, they cannot be used for pushing or similar compressive applications. Rope is thicker and stronger than similarly constructed cord, line, string, and twine.

Rope may be constructed of any long, stringy, fibrous material, but generally is constructed of certain natural or synthetic fibres. Synthetic fibre ropes are significantly stronger than their natural fibre counterparts, but also possess certain disadvantages, including slipperiness.

Common natural fibres for rope are manila hemp, hemp, linen, cotton, coir, jute, straw, and sisal. Synthetic fibres in use for rope-making include polypropylene, nylon, polyesters (e.g. PET, LCP, HDPE, Vectran), polyethylene (e.g. Dyneema and Spectra), Aramids (e.g. Twaron, Technora and Kevlar) and acrylics (e.g. Dralon). Some ropes are constructed of mixtures of several fibres or use co-polymer fibres. Rope can also be made out of metal. Ropes have been constructed of other fibrous materials such as silk, wool, and hair, but such ropes are not generally available. Rayon is a regenerated fibre used to make decorative rope.

The twist of the strands in a twisted or braided rope serves not only to keep a rope together, but enables the rope to more evenly distribute tension among the individual strands. Without any twist in the rope, the shortest strand(s) would always be supporting a much higher proportion of the total load.