Synthetic fibre ropes are in widespread use in maritime applications ranging from lifting to temporary and permanent mooring systems for vessels, fish farm, offshore equipment and platforms. The selection of synthetic ropes over conventional steel components is motivated by several key advantages including selectable axial stiffness, energy absorption and hence load mitigation, fatigue resistance and low unit cost. The long-term use of ropes as safety critical components in potentially high dynamic loading environments necessitates that new designs are verified using stringent qualification procedures. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is one certification body that has produced several guidelines for the testing of synthetic ropes encompassing quasi-static and dynamic loading as well as fatigue cycling.
The paper presents the results of tension-tension tests carried out to ISO 2307:2010, ISO 18692:2007(E) and ISO/TS 19336:2015(E) on 12-strand rope with embedded electric cable constructions manufactured by Ashimori Industry Co. Ltd from Vectran fibres. The purpose of the tests was to characterise the performance of a novel strand construction (SSR) and compare this to a conventional 12-strand construction. Utilising the Dynamic Marine Component test facility (DMaC) at the University of Exeter several key performance metrics were determined including; elongation, minimum break load (MBL), quasi-static, dynamic stiffness and embedded cable resistance. During the ISO 2307:2010(E) test programme the samples were tested dry and during the ISO 18692:2007(E) and ISO/TS 19336:2015(E) test programmes the samples were fully submerged in tap water after being soaked in water for at least 24 hours. Two methods were used to quantify sample extension: i) an optical tracking system and ii) a potentiometer. Axial compression fatigue and cyclic loading endurance tests were also carried out on Vectran sample. Failure of the Vectran sample or embedded cable did not occur during tests carried out using DMaC. Further tests and sample analysis were also carried out by Ashimori Industry Co. Ltd.
Quasi-static bedding-in at 50% MBS and cyclic load endurance test with 6000 cycles between 3.57% MBS and 53.6% MBS was completed. The Effective Working Length (EWL) was 3.821 m before testing and 3.974m after testing. The resistance of the cable increased from 9.6962 Ω to 9.7693Ω during the test and importantly the embedded cable did not fail. Each tensile loading cycle of the rope caused a measurable variation in wire resistance; approximately 0.01Ω. The data obtained during these tests will provide insight into the behaviour of these materials, which will be of use to rope manufacturers and mooring system designers, in addition to offshore equipment and vessel operators.