Digital Optical Microscopy
Optical microscopy is used to examine rope components at the yarn level. It generally reveals the tell-tale signs of mechanical wear and failure mechanisms. When this is coupled with yarn tensile testing, a good picture of the rope condition may be gained.
Scanning Electron Microscopy
Scanning electron microscopy reveals deterioration at the filament level. Tensile failure, for example, often results in some filamentation, whereas brittle failure can indicate other forms of wear. By reference to TTI's database of filament failure, the underlying cause of filament failure can generally be determined.
Agressive environments accelerate wear. Acids and alkalis can break down a polymer's molecular structure. An unexpected change in finish can cause increased internal rope wear. Chemical analysis helps understand these environmental factors.