01 - WIRE ROPE & STRAND
Wire Rope & Strand Characteristics
Ropes are referred to by a diameter. The correct way to
measure wire rope is shown below.
The main components of wire rope are shown below.
In the example above, each individual wire is arranged around
a central wire to form a 7-wire strand. Six of these strands are
formed around a central core to make a wire rope. The rope is
specified at 6 x 7 (6/1) i.e., six strands of seven wires.
The actual range of wire rope Constructions is wide and varied
but the number could be limited to approximately twenty-five.
The size and number of wires in each strand, as well
as the size and number of strands in the rope greatly affect
the characteristics of the rope. In general, a large number of
small-size wires and strands produce a flexible rope with good
resistance to bending fatigue. The rope Construction is also
important for tensile load (static, live or shock) abrasive
wear, crushing, corrosion and rotation.
A number of core types is available and each gives
specified properties to the rope:
Wire Strand Core (WSC) - Strand usually of the
same Construction as the outer strands.
Fibre Core (FC) - Sisal or polypropylene.
Wire Rope Core (WRC) - a wire rope usually of
6 x 7 (6/1)/1 x 7 (6/a) Construction.
Wire Strand Core (WSC)
These cores are chiefly for standing ropes (guys or rigging),
and offer high tensile strength and, owing to the larger wires in
the core, greater resistance to corrosion.
Fibre Core (FC)
A fibre core, generally sisal, provides a resilient foundation
for the strands in the rope structure. Fibre cores are used for
ropes that are not subjected to heavy loads and where flexibility
in handling is required. Fibre Cores are inadequate where wire
rope is subjected to heavy loading, prolonged outdoor exposure
and crushing on small drums and sheaves.
Wire Rope Core (WRC)
Wire rope core is preferred for operating ropes in applications
of high tensile stress, high compression loads on small drums
and sheaves (such as on earthmoving equipment) and high
operating temperatures (such as cranes handling large
quantities of molten metal). A rope with WRC is approximately
11% heavier and 7.5% stronger than fibre cored rope of the
This refers to the way the wires in the strands, and the
strands in the rope are formed into the completed rope.
The wire strands are essentially laid up in a planetary
motion with controlled twist being imparted to produce
a tightly formed rope.
The term Lay is used in three ways:
To describe the direction in which the strands are laid in
the rope right or left.
In a Right Hand Lay strands are laid around the rope core
in a clockwise direction - see illustration. In a Left Hand Lay,
the strands are laid anti-clockwise - see illustrations. Steel
Wire Ropes are conventionally produced Right Hand Lay
unless special circumstances require Left Hand Lay.
To describe the direction in which the wires are stranded in
relation to the direction of the strands in the completed rope,
e.g. Ordinary Lay or Lang’s Lay.
Ordinary Lay means the wires in a strand are laid in a
direction opposite to the direction in which the strands are
laid in the final rope.
Lang’s Lay means the wires in a strand are laid in the same
direction in which the strands are laid in the final rope.
Lang’s Lay ropes have superior properties in resistance to
wear, abrasion, fatigue and scuffing. This is illustrated below,
where it can be seen that wear on an outer wire is distributed
over a far greater area than in Ordinary Lay.
‘Lay’ is also a measure of the ‘pitch’ of a strand in a rope.