How Effective is Wire Rope in Sub-Zero Temperatures?

Wire rope is most commonly used in sectors such as the construction industry, on building sites where temperatures remain at a normal and stable level. There are, however, industries which operate in abnormal, and sometimes hazardous, temperatures, such as the marine, mining or oil and gas industries.

Read below for everything you need to know about working in sub-zero temperatures

For those of you who operate in these conditions, it’s understandable that you want to know how effective wire rope will be! Here, we have examined how well it will perform in sub-zero temperatures.

Metal – what you need to know

Wire rope has been designed so as to provide a strong and long-lasting piece of equipment to whichever industry it will be operating in. The fact that it is comprised of many different strands and wires means that it is a piece of gear that isn’t only reliant on one factor.

It is, however, constructed from metal, which is known to become more brittle when used for an extended period of time at low temperatures. This affects what is known as the metal’s tensile toughness, which is a measure of the metal’s brittleness or ductility. To calculate this, you must work out the area beneath the stress-strain curve.

A metal that has a high tensile toughness can absorb a greater amount of impact energy before it suffers fractures. A metal that is highly brittle, however, will often shatter upon impact.

As a metal becomes more brittle if it is used at lower temperatures, it is often recommended that these environments are avoided. However, thanks to modern day developments, equipment has been designed to help withstand and last in these temperatures.

So just how effective is wire rope in cold and sub-zero temperatures?

Wire rope is one such piece of equipment that has been designed to operate more effectively when subjected to such conditions. While cold temperatures will still affect the metal, it is still possible to use this gear below zero, although the exact temperature will range depending on which piece of gear you purchase.

For example, galvanised wire rope, which has a protective coating of zinc, is more effective in these temperatures than those pieces which don’t. In fact, it was found that wire rope with this coating showed no significant changes in corrosion rates even when operating at temperatures below -40F.

sub-zero temperatures

Some of the galvanised equipment that we manufacture

Further to this, austenitic stainless steels are also popular in sub-zero temperatures, and are often used in conditions as low as -269 degrees Celsius.

The important thing to remember here is that while these pieces of equipment can operate at these temperatures, they will become more and more brittle over an extended period of time. For this reason, it is recommended to limit the amount of usage that they are subject to in sub-zero temperatures.

Storing your equipment

To further prolong the life of your equipment, it’s important that you also store it in temperatures that aren’t sub-zero. Similarly, avoid high temperatures too. Ensure that it is left securely and safely in a dry environment that is well ventilated.

If using your equipment in low temperatures, then be sure to inspect it regularly, searching for any possible signs of damage, corrosion or rust.

Would you like to find out more?

If you work in an industry where you will be needing to use this equipment at sub-zero temperatures, or perhaps you simply have another query, then we would be more than happy to help. You can find our full list of contact details available here.


Image credits: Meve R