Braided rope is one of the two general categories of rope, with the other being twisted rope. Braided ropes are generally made from nylon, polyester or polypropylene, though they can also be made from cotton, manila or other natural fibers.
Ropes are very important industrial utilities, and they have many uses in commercial and consumer products contexts as well. Particularly in marine contexts, ropes are essential for securing watercraft to docks, and they can also be important in securing cargo on ships. The largest ships as well as the smallest recreational watercraft must all be secured when in port or when docked.
In marine contexts, braided rope is used almost exclusively because of its strength. Docked watercraft are almost always pushed or pulled by currents, which flow with variable intensity and can at times be very strong. In order to withstand the constant pulling caused by currents, mooring lines and mooring ropes must be strong enough to withstand frequently changing tensions as well as demanding weather conditions and constant exposure to moisture.
Three general categories of braided rope construction exist, including diamond braid with a core, diamond braid with a hollow braid (without a core), and solid braid. Diamond braided rope is manufactured by weaving ends of yarn over and under in the same fashion as a maypole. When a core is present, braided rope cannot be spliced. When no core exists, the rope is referred to as a hollow braid.
The greatest benefit of hollow braided rope is its ability to be spliced. If both the rope and the core are braided, the rope is known as braid-on-braid, or double braid. This type is the strongest and most expensive of all rope. Solid braid is very firm, round, and tightly woven with a special lock-stitch construction that prevents unraveling when cut or torn. Solid braided rope stands up especially well to chafing of blocks and pulleys. However, it cannot be spliced.
Different rope compositions offer different qualities. Polypropylene rope, for example, floats on water, making it particularly useful for the docking of small, recreational watercraft; if accidentally dropped into water, a polypropylene rope will not sink. Other fibers offer varying qualities of buoyancy, strength, mold resistance, heat resistance and other important characteristics. Selecting the correct rope composition in advance of the rope’s application is essential.