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Rope Damage from Jumper Cables
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By Sarugo
Jul 10, 2013

I'd still climb on the rope... I just wouldn't fall on it.


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By Greg D
From Here
Jul 11, 2013
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W. <br />

mmainer wrote:
Just look at the damn thing. If the sheath is discolored, melted, cracked, funked up, softened, whatever, it's probably not good. If it looks and feels fine, than it probably is fine.


Ummm. Wrong. Sulfuric acid in the gasious form can damage a rope without visible signs.

That said, it is extremely unlikely that any solids that may have remained on the jumper cables could have continued to out gas any acid when the cables were removed from the battery, if they were even ever attached to the battery. Not sure the op said they were even ever used.

Please send this rope to me for testing.


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By Greg D
From Here
Jul 11, 2013
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W. <br />

Jaren Watson wrote:
I , how could it soak through and damage the core?



Vapors


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By Jaren Watson
From Rexburg, Idaho
Jul 11, 2013

Ok, I'll freely concede that vapors are harmful. However, let's be reasonable. The vapors will be present in small amounts for a few minutes after immediate use, after which they'll diffuse into benign negligibility. So, if the OP just got his battery jumped, then tossed his rope onto the cable, that's one thing. But if not (which seems rather likely), vapors are wholly irrelevant.


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Jul 11, 2013

Joshua Jones wrote:
Like LARRY said the accumulation of corrosion is generally lead sulfate and is not an acid.

I would avoid climbing on any nylon component that has had any chance of coming into contact with sulfuric acid. Awhile back I soaked a piece of webbing in a 30% diluted sulfuric acid concentrate (which is exactly what is in automotive batteries) and pull tested the sample. Webbing that normally failed at 22 kN in a loop failed at only 3 kN when exposed to the solution. It's not worth the risk.

Here is an old video of me pull-testing the sample:


And the link to the test: www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=2008369;s>>>


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By Kari Post
From Keene, NH
Jul 14, 2013

Jon H wrote:
I would most likely continue to use the rope as a TR anchor (only when part of a redundant system) but its days as your primary climbing are finished.


I was taught that dynamic rope shouldn't be used as a top rope anchor because when weighted the stretch of the rope can cause the sheath to rub excessively on the edge of the rock and shear, plus the stretchiness can actually create problems with equalization. Only static should be used as a part of a TR anchor.


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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Jul 15, 2013
...

THREAD DRIFT:

"I was taught that dynamic rope shouldn't be used as a top rope anchor because when weighted the stretch of the rope can cause the sheath to rub excessively on the edge of the rock and shear, plus the stretchiness can actually create problems with equalization. Only static should be used as a part of a TR anchor.".


TROLL?


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By Mark Pilate
Jul 15, 2013

No definitive answer here (can't go wrong with scrapping the rope), but if you really wanted to get another season from it, what I'd do is....

1. Inspect the cables....if they look clean with no obvious deposits go to 2.

2. Inspect rope (thoroughly)....if no obvious signs of damage (melting, discoloration, etc) go to 3.

3. Wash rope following manufacturers instructions.

4. Inspect again and if no problems found, continue to use rope with whatever mental de-rating you deem appropriate (no hard leads, etc)

5. Retire rope at end of season...you dodged the bullet. Don't press your luck.


Then again, you could follow this sage advice and die on your next outing, so take with a grain of salt and if in doubt, retire it. If you do retire it, do a pull test on it and post the info. My money is on no detectable damage (pull test will be in the expected range for said rope and age of rope). But I'd be betting with your life, not mine.

Greg - "Vapor" damage would not generally be a concern or plausibility in this case (as described by OP).


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By Boissal
From Small Lake, UT
Jul 15, 2013

Gaseous sulfuric acid isn't a thing. H2SO4 is a liquid in pure of dilute forms and the vapor pressure of the liquid is negligible.
Sulfuric acid can generate corrosive vapors (HCl gas) when it reacts with chlorine derivatives (bleach and other household chemicals) and those are probably not too great for your rope.
However, unless you're storing bleach next to your battery and routinely tossing your rope on top of that combo I think you're fine. If you do have bleach next to your battery, the rope is the last of your concerns.

Soaking webbing in 30% acid isn't representative of a rope coming in contact with lead sulfate residue. The sulfate ion is a weak base btw, not an acid. Unless you crack the battery open you shouldn't have acidic residues on the terminals.


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Jul 16, 2013

Boissal wrote:
Gaseous sulfuric acid isn't a thing. H2SO4 is a liquid in pure of dilute forms and the vapor pressure of the liquid is negligible. Sulfuric acid can generate corrosive vapors (HCl gas) when it reacts with chlorine derivatives (bleach and other household chemicals) and those are probably not too great for your rope. However, unless you're storing bleach next to your battery and routinely tossing your rope on top of that combo I think you're fine. If you do have bleach next to your battery, the rope is the last of your concerns. Soaking webbing in 30% acid isn't representative of a rope coming in contact with lead sulfate residue. The sulfate ion is a weak base btw, not an acid. Unless you crack the battery open you shouldn't have acidic residues on the terminals.

A member of the highlining community conducted some testing on the gases produced by automotive batteries. He placed a piece of type-18 nylon webbing in a closed battery box, isolated from the battery itself, for a month. After the month expired he pull tested the sample and found a slight decrease in the failure strength of the webbing when compared to the controls.

Speaking of bleach, I tested that too. I submerged a piece of webbing in Clorox bleach, let it dry overnight and pull tested it. The result: no worthwhile change in strength. So that has me wondering what, specifically, is the damaging agent in bleach, because it is not anything Clorox uses. Walking down the aisle at Wal-Mart, it would seem as if most bleaches used nowadays are chlorine free. So I am guessing chlorine is the damaging agent, which seems to be excluded from many commercial clothing bleaches.


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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Jul 16, 2013
Bucky

I think you guys advocating that she keep the rope are nuts....reminds me of why I am so careful with partners. Is buying a new rope really worth even a 1% chance that the rope is cooked? Not in my world. I want to die from something classy. You know, like having a heart attack while jerking it on the toilet.

As someone else recently pointed out, there was an accident at Pipeworks in Sacramento where someones rope exploded and the person decked. It was a relatively new rope that "never" came in direct contact with battery acid, but was often stored in their trunk. Guess what BD found out when testing the rope? Acid failure. Who knows where it came from, but my guess is that the trunk had a battery in it at one point and that is how the rope got exposed. Buy a new rope!!!


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By Boissal
From Small Lake, UT
Jul 16, 2013

20 kN wrote:
A member of the highlining community conducted some testing on the gases produced by automotive batteries. He placed a piece of type-18 nylon webbing in a closed battery box, isolated from the battery itself, for a month. After the month expired he pull tested the sample and found a slight decrease in the failure strength of the webbing when compared to the controls. Speaking of bleach, I tested that too. I submerged a piece of webbing in Clorox bleach, let it dry overnight and pull tested it. The result: no worthwhile change in strength. So that has me wondering what, specifically, is the damaging agent in bleach, because it is not anything Clorox uses. Walking down the aisle at Wal-Mart, it would seem as if most bleaches used nowadays are chlorine free. So I am guessing chlorine is the damaging agent, which seems to be excluded from many commercial clothing bleaches.

Mmm... Not sure off the top of my head what kind of battery emission would damage nylon. Lots and lots of things can happen with trace contaminants. I think the take home point of the experiment is that if one month in a closed system leads to a slight decrease in strength, a few hours in an open system should be innocuous. Should be.

Regarding nylon + bleach, that's another odd one. I don't think chlorine is the damaging agent since the chemical structure of nylon doesn't have - on paper - a reactive site for chlorine under "normal" conditions. Pump enough heat and UV light in the system and watch the radicals start doing funny things to the polymer though... Chlorine-based bleach is a solution of sodium hypochlorite which slowly decomposes in water to yield chlorine, oxygen and sodium hydroxide. That last one is a strong base and although bleach is typically dilute enough that you'd never reach a high enough concentration of hydroxide to damage the amide backbone of nylon, I prefer to keep my rope out of the bleach bucket.

Chlorine-free bleach is peroxide-based. It can be any number of peroxides but in water they all generate hydrogen peroxide and various weak bases. Again, dilute weak base + nylon = nothing in theory (a very very very very disfavored reaction if you want to get technical).
Anything + peroxide however and all bets are off. Oxygen radicals are highly reactive and can add to just about any bond. The nylon backbone is rock stable but again, I wouldn't try to turn my rope blonde by soaking it in 30% peroxide overnight...


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By bearbreeder
Jul 16, 2013

well the solution is of course to buy CHEAP ropes ...

if yr a cheap bastard like me and buy the 85$ tendon 10mm 60m ropes ... it doesnt hurt as much

or just use a rope bag ... even a cheap ikea one dollah one works fine

;)


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Jul 16, 2013

Boissal wrote:
Mmm... Not sure off the top of my head what kind of battery emission would damage nylon. Lots and lots of things can happen with trace contaminants. I think the take home point of the experiment is that if one month in a closed system leads to a slight decrease in strength, a few hours in an open system should be innocuous. Should be. Regarding nylon + bleach, that's another odd one. I don't think chlorine is the damaging agent since the chemical structure of nylon doesn't have - on paper - a reactive site for chlorine under "normal" conditions. Pump enough heat and UV light in the system and watch the radicals start doing funny things to the polymer though... Chlorine-based bleach is a solution of sodium hypochlorite which slowly decomposes in water to yield chlorine, oxygen and sodium hydroxide. That last one is a strong base and although bleach is typically dilute enough that you'd never reach a high enough concentration of hydroxide to damage the amide backbone of nylon, I prefer to keep my rope out of the bleach bucket. Chlorine-free bleach is peroxide-based. It can be any number of peroxides but in water they all generate hydrogen peroxide and various weak bases. Again, dilute weak base + nylon = nothing in theory (a very very very very disfavored reaction if you want to get technical). Anything + peroxide however and all bets are off. Oxygen radicals are highly reactive and can add to just about any bond. The nylon backbone is rock stable but again, I wouldn't try to turn my rope blonde by soaking it in 30% peroxide overnight...

I assumed chlorine was the damaging agent because the following website says that chlorine has very negative effects on nylon:

www.coleparmer.com/Chemical-Resistance

For reference, "sulfuric acid <10%" has a better chemical comparability rating than anhydrous liquid chlorine.

It is also interesting you referenced bleaching your rope. I actually tried to turn a piece of webbing white, for entertainment purposes, by soaking it in bleach. I found the bleach did absolutely nothing to the color of the nylon so then I washed it in a washing machine with a large quantity of bleach thinking maybe the lack of water in the first test may affect the results. Again, nothing, it was still as colorful as a new piece of webbing.


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By Mark Pilate
Jul 16, 2013

Many have posted some interesting stuff, however soak tests in various chemicals, ropes stored in battery boxes, and spurious vapors are not necessarily relevant to the original query....I would inspect the cables and unless they were dripping with goo, I wouldn't give it another thought and use the rope (or follow my previous post). But I work with 180 C H2SO4 and other nasty chems on a regular basis as an engineer and a Hazmat Tech so I tend to have a more cavalier attitude towards the issue...and posting cheap advice to others on the internet is also easy when I won't be the one using the rope.

But I'll put my money where my mouth is and buy Kim a new rope and post any further great ideas of mine to these forums under the name "dumbass" (for 6 months) if that rope pulls less than 80% of the mean of a new one.


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By Kim Schreiber
Jul 17, 2013

Thank you all for the insightful comments. Mark, I'll take ya up on that!


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By Boissal
From Small Lake, UT
Jul 17, 2013

20 kN wrote:
I assumed chlorine was the damaging agent because the following website says that chlorine has very negative effects on nylon: www.coleparmer.com/Chemical-Resistance For reference, "sulfuric acid <10%" has a better chemical comparability rating than anhydrous liquid chlorine

Weird. Anhydrous liquid chlorine is basically a liquefied version of chlorine gas stored in high pressure cylinders. It's a pretty gnarly oxidant so it makes sense it would munch on nylon about as well as an acid. I've worked with it a couple times and it's always pretty tense.
Once it's in solution in water chlorine disproportionates to produce hydrochloric acid which is also damaging to nylon.

Anyway, I'd still climb on that rope but from now on I'd keep it in a rope bag...


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By Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Jul 17, 2013
OTL

Battery acid/fumes/whatever probably freak me out the most regarding soft goods and exposure/storage.

blackdiamondequipment.com/en/qc-lab-acid-harness.html

www.caves.org/section/vertical/nh/52/RopeBreakagefinal.pdf

Apparently you shouldn't throw your gear in the back of your pool-cleaner buddies pickup, either.


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Jul 18, 2013

Matt N wrote:
Battery acid/fumes/whatever probably freak me out the most regarding soft goods and exposure/storage. blackdiamondequipment.com/en/qc-lab-acid-harness.html www.caves.org/section/vertical/nh/52/RopeBreakagefinal.pdf Apparently you shouldn't throw your gear in the back of your pool-cleaner buddies pickup, either.

Interesting. It says Woolite contains sulfuric acid. I find that ironic considering many answers to the question "what soap should I clean my rope with" are replied with "Woolite."


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By Bob Dobalina
Jul 18, 2013

It's done. Retire it.


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By SexPanther aka Kiedis
Jul 18, 2013
Thumbtastic

J. Albers wrote:
I want to die from something classy. You know, like having a heart attack while jerking it on the toilet.


^^^^Classiest post in a while. My personal death fantasy scenario involves getting stuck in an elevator with Blair from The Facts Of Life right after she took E and I accidentally ingested an eventually fatal dose of Viagra, but to each his own. And Tootie and Mrs. Garrett have to be there, too, call it a group thing but I haven't got the details nailed down yet.

So, anyone know someone who routinely tosses down gear in parking lots and talks about how it's impossible that damage might occur from this practice? Seen this a few times in Vegas. Also fun: the "rope bags are stupid" speech made while belaying directly from a sand dune in the Black Corridor followed a couple hours later by the "hey why is my act getting all grooved out? This thing is brand new!" Speech....


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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Jul 18, 2013
tanuki

I think Blair got Jesus. Not saying that she wouldn't be a freak after a Bunch of E, but you really never know. She might just want to turn the lights off and do it missionary for a hours.., and that's ok too.


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By GLD
Jul 18, 2013

So I was climbing and it rained. I live near a city and have heard of this thing called acid rain?? should I be concerned? I also left my rope on the route for no good reason while bailing (see the rain thing above)-someone took it the next week (I know it was up for 5 days since I drive by every day) and I had to call the cops. They recovered the rope but pepper-sprayed the guy since I asked them to treat that thief like the scum he is. The pepper-spray may have hit my rope and I think his dog also slept on it.

So to get to my real question: is any one here a chemist, knows enough about the exact situation my rope went through, and can make lots of meth while speculating about my rope?


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By GLD
Jul 18, 2013

To answer OP question, if the cables looked clean I wouldn't have any worries using the rope. If you are worried bag the cables and figure out how to get the potential acid into solution. Then get make the solution and check the pH. If there's nothing I would continue not worrying about it.


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By GLD
Jul 18, 2013

Oh I also forgot to mention 2 posts ago that I was projecting the 5.7 which also explains why I left my personal property in a public place. If my rope got in your way you should just have climbed on it.


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