What is Wire Rope

What is Wire Rope – we answer the question

Here at Rope Services Direct we know that many readers will already know much of the information in this article but in case you ever wondered we ask the question – what is wire rope- This is a general guide which we hope you find useful.

A definition

Essentially a definition is a group of wire strands twisted around a central core. They are most frequently made of alloy steel though stainless steel varieties are also commonplace and is renowned for its strength and abrasion resistance qualities.

Elements of the material

What is rope and how is it constructed – there are various elements to the material, we have summarised these in this section:

  • Core – There is a central axis (or core) which all the strands are helically twisted around. The core can consist of fibers, wire strands, synthetic materials (e.g. hemp or sisal) or even a rope used as the core (i.e. a rope within a rope)
  • Strands – When a group of wires are twisted together they become a strand. The wires need to all be in the same direction and laid helically around the central core. The strands can be applied in one or more layers
  • Wire – Each individual rod of steel is called a wire which are twisted together to form a strand.

There is a wide variety of available with different constructions, these have changed over the years to comply with modern standards.

what is wire rope construction

A useful chart showing rope of the past, present and future


Why it is actively used

A main benefit of using the material is that it is extremely strong and is also very cost-effective. Today it is also very corrosion resistant and can also cope well in extremes of weather conditions (both hot and cold). Historically steel chains had been used but they had a history of failure, which was sadly sometimes catastrophic. Whereas with steel chains one flaw was a problem with rope whilst still a problem other strands will take an increased load until the fault is found on an inspection.

Sizing conventions

All rope is sold and designated with two numbers; these numbers are used worldwide as a sizing convention for the material:

  • First number – The first is the number of strands
  • Second number – The second refers to the number of wires within each strand

So for example:

1)    A 7×19 rope consists of seven strands with nineteen wires per strand

2)    A 7×7 rope consists of seven strands with seven wires per strand

what is wire rope a 7x19 wire rope

7 x 19 rope available from Rope Services Direct

The actual rope selected will vary according to the specific task that the material needs to do, visit our stainless steel rope page for further information. The most popular sizes sold by Rope Services Direct are:

  • 19 x 7
  • 6 x 36
  • 6 x 19
  • 7 x 19
  • 1 x 19 and
  • 7 x 7

Various diameters are available depending upon the precise requirement for each size of rope.

Rope lay

There are various ways that it can be laid:

  • Ordinary hand lay – With this lay the outer layer of wires which form the strand are laid in the opposite direction to the layers of strands below
  • Lang’s lay – A Lang’s lay is where the outer layer of wires are applied in the same lay direction as the strands in the rope
  • Left hand lay – The strands are twisted in a left hand direction around the central core.
  • Right hand lay – The strands are twisted in a right hand direction around the central core.

Rope Services Direct – your one stop shop

We hope we have answered the question – what is the material ? Whatever your requirement, Rope Services Direct is your one stop shop for all of your requirements. Why not call us on 01384 78004 with any questions you may have or you can complete our contact us page instead.



Image Credit: Bridged Hall