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Fibre towing cables lighten up seismic research

Understanding earthquakes can take you to strange places -- like the middle of the ocean, where seismic research vessels constantly deploy measuring devices, sometimes on the ends of towing cables tha...


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November 1, 2010 by Canadian Plastics



Understanding earthquakes can take you to strange places — like the middle of the ocean, where seismic research vessels constantly deploy measuring devices, sometimes on the ends of towing cables that reach lengths of up to 12 kilometers.

Problem is, towing cables made from traditional steel wire wear out fast, with a typical lifetime of just four to five months.

A new cable made from DSM Dyneema ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fibre might just change all that.

Towing cables made from UHMWPE Dyneema fibres have recently been installed on the seismic research vessels “Ranform Sovereign” and “Ramform Sterling”, owned and operated by Norway-based offshore service company Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS).

“Ropes made with Dyneema are very strong, lightweight, resistant to harsh environments and require replacement only every two years,” said Brad Bertsch, mechanical supervisor at PGS. “Also, the low weight and low diameter of the ropes played an important part in our being able to fit greater lengths of rope onto existing winches, and in controlling costs — such as fuel usage — that are associated with towing weight.”

DSM Dyneema LLC (Stanley, N.C.); www.dyneema.com;1-800-883-7404