Glossary of Terms

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1x7, 3x7: wire rope constructions that is in small size diameters; 1/64” to 3/64” diameters.

1x19: stiff wire. Not flexible. Known as guy wire or seizing wire. The 1x19 construction 316 grade stainless steel wire rope is stronger than other types of stainless steel cable and has less stretch. 1x19 stainless steel wire rope is often used in yacht and sailboat rigging, architectural structural rigging and balustrading. 1x19 construction wire rope does not allow for kinks or bends

6x19,  6x25, 6x36,  6x37: wire rope constructions that are usually 1/2” or larger. Common diameter 5/8”, 3/4" 7/8” 1” 1-1/4”. These wire configurations are often substituted for each other, depending on the way it is used. Very strong and flexible.

7x7: wire rope construction that is flexible and range from 1/16” to 3/16” diameters. The flexible 7x7 construction stainless steel wire rope is less strong but more flexible than 1x19 strand and yet stronger than 7x19 rope. 7x7 AISI 316 grade stainless steel cable is suitable for tensioning, security cables, marine, landscape and architectural use, stainless cable balustrading, stainless steel cable railing and decorative applications. Cable diameters below 2mm are very flexible.

7x19: wire rope construction ranging from 1/16” to 5/16” diameters. The 7x19 construction stainless steel wire rope is highly flexible. This also means it is not as strong as either 1x19 or 7x7. 7x19 wire rope is suitable for most running load applications & numerous applications such as security cables & winch cables.


Alternate Lay: inner core and outer core wires are twisted in opposite direction.  Usually consists of alternating regular lay and lang lay strands—used mainly for special applications.

AN: Air Force-Navy Aeronautical Standard


Breaking Strength: the average force at which the product, in the condition it would leave the factory, has been found to break when constantly increasing force is applied in direct line to the product at a steady rate of speed on a standard pull testing machine. Published breaking strength were acquired during controlled laboratory conditions. Always refer to the Working Load Limit as a criterion for service or design purposes. Do not use the breaking strength for this purpose.

Bright Steel: steel material with no galvanization in the process. Can be brittle with dull finish.


Calculation: free fall distance energy absorbed deceleration distance clearance to obstruction during fall arrest.

Clearance: the safe required distance (RD) below the working surface for work which is to be carried out where there is any risk of falling.

Coated Wire: Has a coating over the wire. Usually nylon or vinyl. Also known as jacketed wire.


Design Factor: also known as Safety Factor, it is the ratio of the Breaking Strength to the Working Load Limit (WLL). Usually computed by dividing the Breaking Strength by the WLL and generally expressed as a ration (i.e. 5:1).


Extra improved plow steel (EIPS): also known as XISP, this steel material is used in producing  wire ropes for special installations, where maximum rope strength is required. It has a minimum breaking strength 15 percent higher than Improved Plow Steel


Fall Arrest: the act of stopping at free fall.

Fall Protection: the backup system planned for a worker who could lose his or her balance at height, in order to control or eliminate potential injury.

Fiber Core: standard wire rope that has synthetic fiber at the center of the wire.  Fiber cores are very pliable and yielding, but have the downside of getting crushed easily.

Free Fall: the act of falling before a personal fall arrest system begins to arrest the fall.


Galvanized Steel: steel material with very strong, zinc coating applied to strengthen the wire.


Improved Plow Steel (IPS): steel material that has between 0.5 and 0.95 percent carbon. It is considered one of the best grades of wire ropes available. Strong, more durable and wear-resistant than normal plow steel.

Independent Wire Rope Core (IWRC): the most durable type of core for standard wire rope in most environments compared to synthetic core and wire strand core.


Jacketed Wire: Has a coating over the wire. Usually nylon or vinyl. Also known as coated wire.


kN (Kilonewton) Rating: a kilonewton (kN) is roughly the equivalent of 225 lbs, which is a force of gravity rating (not static weight or mass). All climbing equipment has a certain rating of force it can withstand, and that rating is typically referred to as a kN rating. If you have carabiners or snap hooks without a kN rating DO NOT use them for climbing as they are most likely unintended for human support / fall protection.


Lang Lay (LL):  wires are all twisted in the same direction. Lang lay ropes are more pliable than regular lay ropes and have greater wearing surface per wire than regular lay ropes. Recommended for many excavating, construction, and mining applications, including drag lines, hoist lines, dredge lines and other similar lines.

Left Regular Lay (LRL): direction of wire twist, left hand. Wires in the wire rope strands are laid opposite in direction to the lay of the strands.


Mil-Spec (MS): A military standard for wire and sleeves.

Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS): the minimum amount of force required to break this object. Often referred to as tensile strength or breaking strength. Not to be confused with Working Load Limit or Yield Strength.


NAS: National Aerospace Standard

Non-Rotating / Non-Rot: wire rope will not twist when unwound. Usually 19x7 construction. Used in helicopter rescue and cranes. Prevents spinning.


Proof Test Load (Proof Load): a quality control test applied to the product for the exclusive function of exposing flaws in material or build. The Proof Test Load (normally 2x the WLL) is the load which the cable underwent and sustained without malformation when new and under laboratory test conditions. The proof test load for not mean that the WLL should ever be exceeded.


Right Regular Lay (RRL): the direction of wire twist; right hand. Wires in the wire rope strands are laid opposite in direction to the lay of the strands. This designation has the broadest variety of utilizations and meets the requirements of most equipment. Compared to RRL, most other lay designations are deemed as exceptions and usually require special ordering.


Safety Working Load (SWL): the load that can be applied to a line without causing any kind of damage to the wire rope. Note that the safe working load is considerably less than the breaking strength.

Shock Load: a load occurring from rapid change of movement, such as impacting, jerking, or swinging of a static load. Sudden release of tension is another form of shock loading. Shock loads are usually notably greater than static loads. Any shock loading must be considered when selecting the item for use in a system. Avoid shock loads as they may exceed the Working Load Limit.

Span: the distance between intermediates for a horizontal lifeline system.

Stainless Steel: steel material with rust resistant, 302-304 type have alloys, will have small amount of rust eventually. 316 should not rust at all.

Standards: mandatory requirements or recommendations to follow as determined by governments and organizations.


Tensile Strength: the resistance of steel to breaking under tensile tension.


Ultimate Load: the stress which, when steadily applied to a structural member, is just sufficient to break or rupture it. Also known as breaking strength.


Working Load Limit: the maximum load/force allowed. Consideration must always be given to extreme high or low temperatures, chemical solutions, vapors, prolonged immersion in salt water or any other form of unusual conditions. The WLL should NEVER be exceeded.


Yield Strength: the maximum stress that can be applied before it begins to change shape permanently.

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