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Publication Date


First Advisor

Susannah V. Howe

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science




UV radiation, Mechanical properties, Rope fibers, Weathering, Ultraviolet radiation, Materials-Mechanical properties, Textile fibers-Effects of ultraviolet radiation on


Most of today's ropes are composed of synthetic fibers because of their superior tensile strength when compared to natural fibers. However, synthetic fibers are also susceptible to degradation due to environmental factors such as ultraviolent (UV) radiation. Rope manufacturers such as Sterling Rope Co, Inc are particularly interested in being able to better characterize and compare UV resistance across a variety of materials. This project examined and compared the effects of UV radiation on the mechanical and structural properties of nylon, polyester, and Technora fibers by use of mechanical testing, FTIR measurements, and SEM. Individual braided strands were exposed to 24, 96, and 144 hours of xenon lamp irradiation. The results suggest after UV radiation, in most cases, the mechanical properties of the sample decreased, and UV radiation caused surface damage via chain scission. This surface damage and evidence of chain scission may have contributed to performance loss experienced by the fiber. Yet, there were also cases where there were no net changes in mechanical properties after irradiation. Additionally, the effects of UV radiation cannot be fully compared due to the lack of sufficient data. The treated Technora fibers could not achieve a valid break under the same set of conditions as treated nylon and polyester during the mechanical tests. The inconclusive results demonstrate the limits of current rope testing methods and the need for further work to be done in this field.




ii, 68 pages : color illustrations. Includes bibliographical references (pages 33-36)