The making of ropes is an intricate art. From the prehistoric times, they have been used for basic activities such as hunting, climbing and lifting. Back then, they were mainly made out of animal hair, leather, water reeds and grass. In modern times they are made mostly from synthetic material. There are several types of ropes each specially crafted so as to be used in various ways.
There is polyester fiber. It is also known as Terylene or Darcon. It is a synthetic polymer. Most ordinary ropes are made of this material. They are soft to handle. Polyester is very flexible even under extreme weather. It retains its strength even when wet. This makes the ropes ideal for sailing applications such as anchor lines and hoisting lines. They are also resistant to rot and Ultra-Violet rays. However, there are downsides to polyester such as the fact that it does not float. Also, it can be stiff.
Polypropylene fiber is a thermoplastic polymer. Ropes from this fiber are more elastic and stretchier when compared to those made of polyester. They tend to float in water because they are lightweight and do not absorb water. They are resistant to oils, mold and mildew. They are ideal for marine applications. They are often used to create swimming lanes. Their great loading resistance makes them very strong. However, the non-biodegradable nature of polypropylene makes it not to be ecofriendly.
Ropes can be made of nylon. Nylon is a synthetic material made from polyamides. It is silky. Nylon ropes are the strongest type. They are used for absorbing shock loads such as when lifting or towing. This is because of their ability to return to original lengths after being stretched. The presence of good abrasion resistance helps the ropes to last longer than natural fibers.
However, nylon ropes have drawbacks. They absorb water when immersed which weakens them. They experience high shrinkage in some sections. They lack stability and pollute the environment.
However, not all ropes are synthetic. Others are made of natural fibers such as manila ropes. The manila fiber is obtained from the Abaca plant. The ropes are strong and durable. They are ideal for farm work, landscaping and fishing nets. They are soft and flexible but shrink once wet. They are also prone to mold and rot. Therefore, they should be protected from bad weather which can aggravate the rotting.
Another natural fiber rope is jute. Jute ropes are light and soft. They make decorative knots due to their natural sheen. They stay in place when knotted due to the grip on the exterior. Moisture makes them shrink. In order to prevent this shrinkage, the ropes should be dried while stretched out.
Cotton is the most popular natural fiber. Cotton ropes tend to be soft and ventilated. Their light weight makes transportation easy. Cotton is biodegradable which makes disposal easy.
In conclusion, synthetic fiber ropes are a great option when factoring in durability and strength. On the other hand, natural fiber ropes are an ideal choice when there is the desire to conserve the environment.
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