Blog by Robert Pepper 16 November 2022
Overheating synthetic rope? Reader question
A reader writes:
Thank you for your in-depth videos,
A topic that I have not seen is the overheating caused by overuse of the winch (which is very easy to do) and how steel vs. synthetic cable responds to it.
One aspect is that the steel cable can act as a heat sink on the drum and help the winch to cool down faster whereas the synthetic cable would tend to act as an insulator and cause the drum to take longer to cool down.
Another is the heat damage that can severely damage the synthetic cable. I have seen videos where I can see that the cable is heat-damaged and it’s not even mentioned in the video. Just how much can the melting together of synthetic fibers weaken the synthetic cable?
I think this would make for a very interesting video.
Thanks again for your efforts
What you say is correct – ropes can be damaged by heat, and winches cannot easily dissipate heat when there’s lot of rope or cable around them.
However, it’s not a massive problem as you generally only winch for 20-30 seconds anyway to avoid overheating the winch itself, and to ensure the winching operation is working as it should.
I don’t know how much the winch rope is weakened; it’d be an interesting test, if I find some damaged rope I can see what it breaks at.