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With the continuous increase of the shipping industry demands, worldwide trading vessels are operating in various climate conditions, including extremely low ambient temperatures or hot climates.

KATRADIS MARINE ROPES INDUSTRY SA has developed the new LCPSiri® S12 (with Vectran) Covered ropes, as one of the latest innovations in the field of High Modulus synthetic fiber mooring lines, ideal for worldwide trading vessels and compliant to the latest guidelines of the shipping industry (MEG4, IMO SOLAS Circulars).

The construction is made by a 12strand LCP load-bearing core (Vectran fibers by Kuraray Ltd.) which is overbraided by a non-load bearing protective cover.

 

The rope is processed with Katradis LSP (Linear Structural Preformation technology) for enhancement of the mechanical properties such as abrasion resistance and tensile strength.

 

Vectran® is a high modulus multifilament fiber developed by Kuraray Ltd, offering a unique combination of properties for demanding applications. It’s highly oriented structure is locked in directly during the melt spinning process, thanks to the molecular structure and crystalline nature of the starting polymer.

 

Currently, LCP-Siri S12 is the only commercially available mooring line in the world with a Vectran™ liquid crystal polymer core. This exclusivity is due to Katradis being the sole mooring line manufacturer licensed by Kuraray™ to develop and produce Vectran-based mooring lines. Kuraray, a leading global chemical company founded in 1926 in Kurashiki, Japan, has over half a century of experience in the maritime sector and is the world’s largest producer of thermotropic liquid crystal polymer fibers, with all Vectran™ mooring line fibers being produced in Japan.

Vectran molecular structure

 

 

Fiber Properties
Specific GravityMelting pointTenacityElongation at breakChemical resistanceUV Resistance
1.40330°C> 30 gr/den4.5 %Very GoodVery Good

Key benefits

Unlike other superfibers, such as (para-aramid and HMPE), Vectran™ is made from thermotropic Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP), a type of polymer with stiff, rod-like molecules that align in both solid and molten states, creating a highly ordered structure. This alignment occurs during the melt extrusion process, where the polymer is pushed through microscopic nozzles, aligning the molecules parallel to the fiber’s axis. This unique process results in fibers with exceptional tensile strength.

Vectran™ is one of the strongest and lightest commercially available fibers today. Originally developed in the 1980s specifically for maritime applications, it emerged in response to the US Navy’s dissatisfaction with the performance of existing high-performance fibers (sometimes called superfibers) in saltwater environments. These fibers often suffered from poor abrasion resistance, absorbed water, making them heavy and difficult to handle and had a tendency to creep (become longer) over time.
Vectran™ was designed from the beginning to be the ideal maritime fiber:

• High Strength-to-Weight Ratio: It can withstand immense forces, crucial for securing large vessels, while its light weight simplifies handling and deployment.

• Hydrophobic: It repels water, avoiding the weight and performance issues associated with water absorption, and retains its strength in saltwater.

• Abrasion Resistance: It is ten times more resistant to wear and tear than para-aramid fibers, ensuring durability.

• Temperature Resistance: Vectran™ has three times the temperature resistance of HMPE, making it suitable from the Arctic chill to the Persian Gulf’s heat.

• No Creep: Creep is the permanent elongation when fibers are working in conditions of constant load and is a factor that can reduce the rope service life. Vectran® fibers show the lowest values of creep elongation, meaning higher durability and increased service life of the rope . When underload Vectran™ is not permanently stretched and does not gradually become longer, unlike HMPE. This prevents mooring lines slackening, which leads to ship and jetty damage due to surging. Additionally, Vectran™ has best-in-class damping properties, further reducing surging risks.

Here’s how Vectran differs from the other superfibers:

  • Aramid Fibers (Kevlar, Technora): These are solvent-spun and don’t melt at high temperatures, whereas Vectran™ is melt-spun and melts at high temperatures.
  • HMPE Fibers (Dyneema, Generic HMPE): These are gel-spun and melt at low temperatures, unlike Vectran™, which withstands high heat due to its thermotropic nature.

 

Field Testing Case Study – LNG carrier vessel equipped with Katradis LCP-Siri S12 (with Vectran) Covered ropes

The one word that best describes Vectran™ is “consistency.” Whether in hot or cold, wet or dry conditions, it performs consistently. Remarkably, 2000 hours of testing on an LNG tanker in adverse climates revealed that LCP-Siri S12’s Vectran™ core retained 100% of its original strength with no visible signs of wear.

Monitoring the performance and condition of used LCP-Siri® ropes has shown excellent residual strength after testing. Samples from real-time working mooring lines have been taken for in-house testing in order to evaluate the planned operational service life time.

LCP-Siri® ropes are designed to endure the demands of mooring operations for long term service life.

 

Upon internal visual inspection, the fiber core, after the removal of its protective jacket, shows no signs of damage or degradation.