When comparing lubricated cable to nonlubricated cable, it may be tempting to ask yourself, “does lubrication Affect strength?” While the simple answer is no, because it does not change the inherent break strength of the cable, it does still impact cycle life which is equally as important. To understand this relationship, first consider that cable is a machine with many moving parts. As it rotates over a pulley or hoists a load, individual wires and strands work together, creating friction as they rub against each other. Over time, this friction naturally weakens the cable.
Though not essential for all applications, lubrication reduces the impact of friction on cable. In the same way that motor oil prevents engine components in a car from rubbing directly against each other, lubrication protects the internal structure of a cable with a relatively thin, low-viscosity fluid. If a non-lubricated, or commercial grade cable were to pass over a pulley, its individual wires would press and slide against each other without any cushion to mitigate the abrasion. With repeated bending and straightening, the individual wires would wear rapidly, thus reducing the cable strength.
Jacketing a lubricated cable helps to lock in moisture by preventing it from escaping. It keeps the fluid circulating around the individual strands throughout service, ensuring each wire stays appropriately lubricated at all times. Accordingly, when comparing jacketed and bare lubricated cables of identical size, construction, and material, the jacketed version will offer a longer service life due to its added protection. Though the two cables will not differ in numerical break strength, the lubrication will reduce wear and increase cycle life considerably.
For more information about how lubrication impacts cable and wire rope, check out our previous blog post, Lubricated vs. Non-Lubricated Cable and Wire Rope where we answer some common questions. To see our wide range of aircraft cable, visit https://www.loosco.com/products/aircraft-cable/.