Faculty Research & Creative Activity

Examination of failure of fibers from synthetic rope with foreign inclusions using polarized light microscopy

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2015


It is nearly impossible to predict exactly what will happen in a rope system. Many of the influences that can diminish the strength of a system have been observed in both practice and through empirical studies. When all factors are combined it becomes increasingly difficult to predict how it will fail, at what point the failure will occur, or what the unintended consequences resulting in a system failure may be. In some cases the experience a person has with these influences or even an interpretation of a research experience goes further to complicate the understanding of how the complexities of a system are interrelated. One could easily interpret an experience where no failure occurred or the findings of a study and inadvertently oversimplify a conclusion creating misleading information in his or her own thinking or in that which he or she advertises. This study aims to examine two methods of nylon kernmantle rope degradation: sand and limestone. Then, it examines the line breakages on the microscopic level by using polarized light to highlight internal stresses in the polymer fibers. These images can aid in the visualization of what is occurring to ropes under outside influences.