In this article, we look into static rope vs dynamic rope and when best to use each type.
In a sentence, static rope is not designed to stretch under load. This is in contrast to dynamic rope, which is designed with a certain degree of stretch. Lead climbing should always be done on a dynamic rope, as the use of a static rope may lead to serious injury.
Static ropes have many applications, including (but not limited to); abseiling, rappelling, fire rescue operations and caving. The low stretch properties of static ropes allow for a controlled, bounce-free descent. As an example, abseiling ropes typically have a ~2% when under a standard body weight load.
Here at Access Ropes, we stock a great range of static ropes to suit every application. We keep up to date with the latest developments in rope manufacturing, working closely with our suppliers. We’ve just started stocking a very impressive Reflective LSK Static Line that incorporates a reflective strip into its fleck, using the same concept as Cats Eyes. This allows greater visibility in low light conditions such as deep sea diving, caving and night work.
Our static lines are kernmantle constructions. The interior (known as the kern) is protected by a woven sheath (the mantle). The strength of the rope is attributed to the core whilst the outer sheath provides protection from abrasion. Kernmantle ropes are particularly useful in climbing, caving and the marine industry, where a high degree of abrasion can be expected. Kernmantle construction can be used in both dynamic and static lines.
Dynamic rope is a rope that’s constructed to be somewhat elastic. it is used primarily in rock climbing, ice climbing and mountaineering. Its dynamic characteristics allow the rope to absorb the energy of a sudden load more quickly than a static line. This leads to a reduction in peak force, lessening the chance of catastrophic failure and reducing the risk of injury.
Like static ropes, kernmantle construction is most common, with materials such as nylon replacing natural fibres such as hemp.
We stock a fantastic 11mm dynamic line with a fall arrest peak of 11.2kn and an elongation of 26.89%.
Dynamic ropes come in many different lengths. We offer many standard lengths and will happily prepare a custom length or a factory fresh reel to meet your requirements. Just drop us a message and we’ll get back to you.
So next time you get into a static rope vs dynamic rope discussion, remember that these two very different lines are used for different purposes and knowing the differences could prevent serious injury or catastrophic failure.
To put it simply, dynamic rope for climbing (cushions falls), static rope for descending (prevents bounce and allows a controlled descent).
To prolong the life of your rope, it needs to be treated well, have a look through our handy guide to rope care and maintenance to make sure that you get the best from your kit.