Bexco : Arctic ropes - Research into the dynamic behaviour of synthetic ropes in extremely cold circumstances (2008 - 2009)

This was an SME-study in cooperation with the company Bexco N.V. with support of the Flemish government through IWT. The aim of the study is to understand the phenomena that occur in frozen ropes subject to cyclic loads and their effect on mechanical properties of the rope, such as fatigue and life time of the rope.

The following aspects were considered in this study:
• The influence of ice on the rope at macroscopic and microscopic level
• Difference between absorbed and capillary adsorbed water in relation to formation of ice-crystals
• Set-up of a test protocol for simulation of cyclic loading in icy conditions
• Study of damage to synthetic fibres after cyclic loading in these conditions
• Correlation between polymer properties and behaviour of ropes in artic conditions

This study should make it possible to exclude certain polymers for these applications. It will also be the onset for an innovation project investigating the modification and optimisation of synthetic ropes fit for arctic conditions.


ing. Johanna Louwagie (