The differences in strength and breakage behaviours of SupreemX-12 Dyneema® fibre rope versus steel wire.

In comparing our SupreemX-12 Dyneema® Fibre Rope versus steel wire, let’s first discuss the fibre itself.  SupreemX-12 is made from Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene fibre manufactured by DSM Dyneema®. UHMWPE is comprised of extremely long molecules (chains) of polyethylene oriented in the same direction, which results in large areas of overlap between the molecules. This overlap greatly increases the bond between the molecules and thereby, the strength of the fibre is greatly increased. As a result, rope made with Dyneema® offers the highest strength with very little weight, so little, that it is actually buoyant in water.

When you consider the long lengths of cable required in offshore tethering and tension leg applications, it’s easy to understand why products made with Dyneema® fibre are chosen for the job.

Weight for weight, SupreemX-12 is up to 15 times stronger than steel and up to 40% stronger than aramid fibres. This unique combination of strength and low weight results in a “free breaking length” which boggles the mind. Free breaking strength is the point at which a theoretical length of rope or cable would break as a result of carrying it’s own load while freely hanging. Theoretically, the length of SupreemX-12 needed to cause it to break from lifting it’s own length would be approximately the same as the International Space Station’s distance from the surface of the planet, which is a length/height of ~350 kilometres! In this same scenario, a steel cable would break at just ~25 kilometres.