Black Rope Syndrome – what’s up with ropes and aluminum?

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Messages 41 - 58 of total 58 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
jopay

climber
so.il
Feb 6, 2013 - 06:49am PT
I have the Mammut Infinity 9.5 which gets some of that but nothing like my partners Sterling 9.8 which is a lot worse even if he washes the rope the black comes right back. I think that is one of the reasons so many people are wearing gloves. If we use my partners rope I'll have to wash my hands off at least once during the day. I was getting some and changed to a anodized belay device which seemed to help.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Feb 6, 2013 - 10:18am PT
buy a black rope-- good to go!
locker

Social climber
Whitebread
Feb 6, 2013 - 10:59am PT


BrassNuts...

be glad that you've asked an RC.n00b question and not gotten a lot of guff for it...

LOL!!!...

climbbillings?

Trad climber
Billings
Feb 6, 2013 - 11:19am PT
The way to get rid of the black stuff is to wash the rope in a MACHINE!! Daisy chain the rope and throw it in your wife's top loader with a little bit of woolite. Here's the key, It's the spin cycle that gets the black out. Cycle it through a short wash cycle with spin twice, then run it through the spin cycle two more times. This spins the black stuff out, and gets a lot of the water out of your rope too.
Mike Friedrichs

Sport climber
City of Salt
Feb 6, 2013 - 11:52am PT
I too have a sterling 9.8 that turns black in one day of climbing. I wash my ropes a lot (I believe it prolongs the life of ropes and is good for them), but this particular rope is the worst ever. Sometime and the distant past it used to be orange, I think.

I also wonder about rope diameter? I've been climbing on 9.5 and 9.4 ropes lately and they seem to stay cleaner. On the other hand, they also seem to wear out much more quickly. Oddly, they have less material but cost more. Much easier to clip and lighter though. Can't go back after going smaller. Beware.
Snowmassguy

Trad climber
Calirado
Feb 6, 2013 - 11:53am PT
You people are all racist...how dare you talk in a disparaging manner about a rope being BLACK. Some people will never get it.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Feb 6, 2013 - 11:56am PT
I just keep a tube of this in my truck:

http://goophandcleaner.com/products/orange-goop/

Don't bother washing the rope, just wash your hands.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Feb 6, 2013 - 12:17pm PT
Lose the old, oxidizing biners.

Shiny new ones don't do this.

Problem solved.

DMT
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Feb 6, 2013 - 12:26pm PT
Cosmic is right, its aluminum oxide not aluminum metal. Aluminum does oxidize (rust) but oxygen can't penetrate through Al oxide very well, so only a thin surface layer is affected, and like stainless steel, it doesn't "rust". Its possible that the alloying changes the bonding between the oxide layer and the metal underneath, but that would not be my first guess. It's also possible that different coatings on the rope would bond to aluminum oxide to a greater or lesser extent. Surface chemistry is not simple or easy to predict. However, I would think that one Al2O3 particle would be like any other and whatever alloys are in the metal should not be in the oxide.

I would just put the rope in the washing machine like some else suggested. I don't worry about ropes breaking unless the sheath is cut.
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 6, 2013 - 12:36pm PT
Some good input and discussion here. Pell & Don Paul - thanks for the tech talk, that's really helpful. I'm thinking that different biners and belay devices could be subject to more aluminum transfer depending on the hardness and durability of their respective anodized finishes, the radius/shape at the mechanical wear points as well as the base alloy composition.

So far it's looking like the best/most practical way to minimize BRS is to stick with teflon coated ropes, which seem to be a minority out there. I just wrote Bluewater asking if their 9.4 or 9.7mm ropes have a teflon coating as it's not clear from the product info on their website. It would be nice to have a reference list of teflon coated ropes to help folks in their search for a new cord...
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Feb 6, 2013 - 01:07pm PT
I'd like to see a uv-resistant coating, particularly for webbing. Webbing gets seriously degraded - Jim Donini almost bought it a couple weeks ago by rapping off a UV-damaged sling that couldn't even hold body weight any more. That was a wake up call, as was the Euro guys who leave fixed biners, that wear in a way that gives them a sharp edge that then cuts the rope. These are serious safety concerns, but not ones that get much attention.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Feb 6, 2013 - 01:16pm PT
I'd like to see a uv-resistant coating, particularly for webbing.


I soak all my slings in sunscreen. Minimum SPF 50.
JimT

climber
Munich
Feb 6, 2013 - 01:28pm PT
The black is technically called "smut" and is the bane of the aluminium treatment industry and welders though you can remove it easily enough chemically. It´s a mixture of aluminium oxide, magnesium oxide and a few traces from the rest of the alloy. Aluminium oxide has various colours but it is fundamentally transparent (you can´t see it on the polished parts of the karabiner) BUT the particles are so small they work as a light trap and appears black. Nano technology strikes again!
Curt

climber
Gold Canyon, AZ
Feb 6, 2013 - 01:29pm PT
Cosmic is right, its aluminum oxide not aluminum metal. Aluminum does oxidize (rust) but oxygen can't penetrate through Al oxide very well, so only a thin surface layer is affected, and like stainless steel, it doesn't "rust".

I believe it's actually just the opposite--and the "black" results from the rope passing over aluminum metal--and not Al2O3. Dingus is correct that a brand new carabiner with a nice shiny anodic oxide still intact will not cause this problem. A new non-anodized biner, however, will--and the anodized carabiner will too, as soon as the anodic oxide is worn through.

Curt
pell

Trad climber
Sunnyvale
Feb 6, 2013 - 06:57pm PT
To be more precise: rope abrades aluminium. Thin layer of abraded aluminium oxidates and becomes black. It's possible after your binners protective layer is worn.

Thus we have another option mentioned earlier by Dingus Milktoast.
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 7, 2013 - 12:41pm PT
I contacted Bluewater to see if any of their ropes utilize a teflon coating as their website does not indicate this feature for any of their dynamic rope models. Here is the sales manager's reply:

"Thank you for contacting us. We played around with Teflon back in the early 90’s but it never caught on. We still use our proprietary dry treatment which we feel is the best on the market. I know that Tendon ropes is using Teflon now but I didn’t know about Mammut."

Interesting. To me, there doesn't seem to be a downside to using a teflon treatment for at least some rope models given the performance of the Mammut Infinity. I wonder if there is a way to apply a PTFE coating to a rope after purchase. Maybe a company like Nikwax might develop a product like that...
locker

Social climber
Whitebread
Feb 7, 2013 - 01:04pm PT


...

Of course using it means...

"yer GONNA die!!!"...
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 7, 2013 - 08:27pm PT
So I'm sitting in the dental chair for a 3 1/2 hour reconstructive process yesterday.
The dental tech starts hammering 11 of my teeth with a miniature sandblaster for the prep.

"Say sweetheart, what sort of abrasive does that thing sling?"
All perky and happy in her work she says:
aluminum oxide!
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