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What Are the 3 Basic Components of a Standard Wire Rope Design?

By Tim Muprhy 1 years ago No comments

Used for suspension and hoisting, a standard wire rope has three basic components. This type of rope has one or more strands, which spiral around a steel or fiber core. Most common of wire ropes have six strands. The components vary in both configuration and complexity. For that reason, the manufacturer can produce ropes for different purposes and with specific characteristics.

The three components of a wire rope include wires, strands, and the core. Depending on the use and customer specifications, these ropes are made from stainless steel, iron, steel, bronze, Monel metal, and high-carbon steel, with the latter being the most widely used. The ropes are also available in grades, each with unique properties that relate to the basic curve.

The grades include traction steel (TS), plow steel (PS), mild plow steel (MPS), improved plow steel (IPS), extra improved plow steel (EIP) and extra, extra improved plow steel. Europeans grade their wire ropes by wire tensile in Newton/square millimeter. For calculating the strength of a steel rope wire, the plow steel strength curve is used as the basis. Most wire rope sold today is EIP Grade or greater.

Wire Types

  • High Carbon Steel – Most common sold. IPS, EIPS & EEIPS.
  • Tinned Wire – Used in some applications, tin has no sacrificial protection as found with zinc.
  • Iron Wire – Drawn from low-carbon steel, this type of wire offers relatively limited use, with the exception of older elevator installations, at which time is it galvanized.
  • Stainless Steel – These ropes are made of AISI Types 302/304, 305, and 316. While 302/304 is magnetic, 305’s permeability is low enough to be considered non-magnetic while 316 is less magnetic.
  • Monel Metal – In most cases, this is Type 400.
  • Bronze – A bronze rope is almost always Type A Phosphor.


The strands of wire ropes consist of two or more wires, which are laid in various geometric arrangements or in combination with steel wires and other materials. Just as any number of wires can make up a strand, any number of strands can make up a rope. Wire Rope Classifications are based on groupings of wires in strands – 7 Wire Class, 19 Wire Class & 37 Wire Class are most common.


The foundation of a wire rope is the core. The core is comprised of materials that provide the necessary support for the strands under normal conditions for bending and loading. While the core can be steel or fiber, if it is steel, it has a strand or independent wire core.

The Bottom Line

A wire rope consists of three basic components. If preferred, a fourth component can be added, which is lubricant. For satisfactory performance of most ropes, this fourth component is vital.

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