SEM images after cut resistance tests

Published: 2 February 2023| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/w2tvzrgnnk.1
Daniel Sedlacek


The dataset consists of raw scanning electron microscopy images of nylon 6 fibers taken from climbing ropes after undergoing cut resistance tests. The cut resistance of climbing ropes remains an unsolved problem despite numerous attempts in the last 20 years. In recent years, new laboratory test methods have been developed (Edelrid, Elmenzwick, and UIAA 101). This dataset presents fiber failure modes they induce and compares them with those after a simulated accident. The fiber fractography revealed four main failure modes. These failure modes included lateral pressure with high-stress concentration, lateral pressure with low-stress concentration, high-speed tensile break, and molten and fused fiber ends. In very isolated cases, ductile breaks were found. None of the test methods could comprehensively imitate the overall rope-breaking mechanism. They mimic failure modes in either the sheath or the core. Edelrid's test mimics the failure modes of a simulated accident rather in the sheath but not in the core. On the contrary, the Elmenzwick method mimics the failure modes rather in the core but not in the sheath. The dynamic test method from the International Climbing and Mountaineering Association (UIAA 101) best mimics failure modes in the core but not in the sheath.


Steps to reproduce

The fiber fractography was performed using a FIB-SEM system Quanta 3D 200 scanning electron microscope (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Hillsboro, OR, US) in the NanoLab at the University of Innsbruck. After the cutting tests, the ply yarns from the sheath and strands from the core approximately 30 mm long were carefully cut and extracted from the ropes. In tests for which the cutting direction could be determined (Elmenzwick and Edelrid), samples from five distinct regions along the cutting direction were taken (Figure 6a in the article). In tests for which it was not possible to determine the cutting direction (UIAA 101 and accident simulation), samples from nine distinct regions were taken (Figure 6b in the article). Samples were coated with gold using an Agar Sputter Coater AGB7340 (Agar Scientific Ltd, Stansted, UK) with a chamber pressure of 0.1 mbar, a current of 30 mA, and an application time of 60 s. The images were taken using a high vacuum mode, an accelerating voltage of 7 kV, and an Evenhardt-Thornley secondary electron detector. The magnifications used were 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, and 3200x to cover the entire range from ply yarn or strand overview to details of broken fibers. On average, ten images were taken per region, making a total of more than 1,500 images.


Universitat Innsbruck Fakultat fur Technische Wissenschaften


Scanning Electron Microscopy, Polyamide, Fiber Failure, Rope, Fractography


Universität Innsbruck