Stainless steel cables are often used for added support on structures, particularly ones that are near water or exposed to nature. They can be used on a wide variety of applications, from boats and airplanes to bridges or even exercise equipment.
Now, it is important to clarify the difference between stainless steel cable and wire rope. These terms are often used interchangeably since these two items are quite similar. However, stainless-steel cable has a smaller diameter than wire rope. Cables are also used for structural support, whereas wire ropes are used for securement and overhead lifting.
Stainless steel is one of the strongest and most durable materials used for construction. It is comprised of a combination of iron and carbon, along with alloying elements like chromium and nickel. This creates an extremely shiny and naturally corrosion-resistant metal that can withstand extreme weights. So, it is no wonder that stainless steel cable is used widely for construction purposes.
A stainless steel cable supplier can certainly offer insight into the design elements needed for specific applications. But it is helpful to learn about the components of this type of cable on your own.
Here are the key elements that work together to create a highly durable stainless steel cable.
Just like wire ropes, industrial cable is made of wire strands that are twisted together to increase its strength. This helps to distribute the weight more evenly along the entire cable.
A strand is made of at least two wires. Each wire is extremely thin and not very strong on its own, but when twisted together, it forms a stronger strand. Typically, each strand in an industrial cable has six individual wires wrapped together around a central core. This is referred to as a 1X7 strand. They may also be made from up to 19 wires, which is called a 1X19 strand.
There are different types of industrial strands apart from stainless steel. You can also purchase cables made from high carbon steel, iron wire, monel metal, or even bronze. However, the most common types are stainless steel cable and galvanized steel.
Galvanized steel is coated in a thin layer of zinc, which helps to protect the iron from rust and corrosion. However, it is not nearly as strong or durable as stainless steel and is best for uses that require less strength.
Stainless steel wire will not rust and it is also heat and fire-resistant. It has one of the highest breaking strengths of all wire types, so it is best for heavy-duty applications. It is more expensive than galvanized steel – but it is also longer-lasting and far stronger.
Industrial cable is also available in stainless steel vinyl coating, which helps to protect the wires from repetitive friction. This style is often used for pulley systems or outdoor applications.
The strand grouping is a measurement of how many strands are wrapped together to form the cable. Industrial cable with fewer strands is more rigid and best when additional sturdiness and strength are required. Cables with more strand groupings are more flexible and bendable, so these are often used for applications with movement or friction.
The most common groupings for stainless steel cable are 7×7 and 7×19.
7×7 stainless steel cable is made of 7 separate strands which are each comprised of 1X7 wire strands. Since this design is not very flexible, it is often used for general-purpose construction where strength is more important.
7X19 stainless steel cable has 7 strands which are comprised of 19 wires (one central core surrounded by 18 wires). This increases the wire’s strength as well as its flexibility, so it is often used for things like sailboat rigging.
Cable Strand Core
The wire strands inside of stainless steel cable can be made from one of three common core styles: fiber, wire strand, or independent wire rope.
The fiber core is less common for industrial cable and is typically used more with wire ropes. A fiber core is usually made from polypropylene, hemp, or sisal (natural plant fiber). This makes the strands extremely flexible, but it is not particularly strong – which is why you won’t often find stainless steel cable in this design.
A wire strand core has a singular strand on the inside that the additional strands are wrapped around to form the cable. This gives it more strength than a fiber core while providing a bit of flexibility. This style is most commonly used in utility cables.
Independent wire rope core (IWRC) is the strongest core type as it is made of a wire rope itself. This makes the entire cable far stronger and more crush-resistant. IWRC is the most common type of industrial cable core, especially for heavy-duty usage.
We don’t often think about all of the design that goes into important construction elements like industrial cable. But each individual component plays a role in the overall strength, durability, and flexibility of the cable itself.
If you have any further questions, you can turn to Elite Sales Inc. for help. We are a highly-regarded stainless steel cable supplier that has been in the business for many years. Our team of experts is glad to answer your questions and help you find the type of cable for any purpose.