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Lubricants Used To Protect Wire Ropes

There is only one wire strand in every rope. Ropes also have an inner core. Initially, cores were made with sisal ropes. Plastic materials were also used. In this article, we are going to look into lubricants used in wire ropes to prevent corrosion.

Lubricating wire ropes is a very crucial and challenging task. Wire ropes with fiber cores are easier to lubricate as compared to those made from steel materials. Considering field relubrication is very important when choosing rope for an application.

Lubricants have two primary functions:

• They help in friction reduction. When wires move over each other, friction is generated. Therefore, lubricants minimize this effect.

• Corrosion protection. This applies to the exterior services, in the core, as well as inside wires.

Wire rope lubricants are broadly categorized into two;

i. Penetrating lubricants

They contain a petroleum solvent that conveys the lubricant into the rope core. It then leaves behind a heavy lubricating film after evaporating. This film protects each strand.

ii. Coating lubricants

This is different from penetrating lubricant because it penetrates slightly. It seals the outside of the rope from moisture, hence reducing corrosion and wear. Corrosion is mainly caused by external bodies.

In most cases, a combination of both lubricants is used. This is to ensure that both the core and rope surface receive proper lubrication. Most ropes fail from the inside, giving the necessity of providing sufficient lubrication at the core. The core gets good saturation when the two are combined, while its surface receives a coating seal.

Lubricants available for use include:

a) Asphalt – it dries to a very dark surface, and it makes inspection difficult.

b) Petrolatum – gives excellent corrosion that is water resistance


Surface corrosion and friction effects are prevented by the use of lubricants, as stated above. It is essential to know the proper lubricant type before use.