What Makes Effective Chafing Gear?
Abrasion resistance is obvious. Chafe gear must be able to resist marine abrasions, such as that from piers, chocks, poor fair-leads, etc.
Chafe gear needs to be flexible so that it can conform as closely as possible to a line’s dynamic deployed configuration (DDC). The DDC is particularly important for a line that undergoes a tight bending radius. Chafe gear that is semi-rigid (i.e. due to the use of polymer coatings, etc.) tend to develop cracks in the coating. This results in abrasion and delaminating of the coating material. For example, some manufacturers who use semi-rigid materials for eye units sew to a shape that will conform to that of the intended eye. This would be satisfactory if eyes maintained their shapes under load – but they do not. Nylon, as used in Chafe-Pro® products, is flexible and readily conforms to any lines’ DDC under both static and dynamic load conditions.
While not directly providing any abrasion resistance, tensile strength is actually an important characteristic in the manufacturing of chafe gear. One’s not going to use chafe gear to tie a vessel to a pier or to tow a barge or a ship, that’s what lines are for. However chafe gear must be strong enough to respond to the stretching that a line undergoes during surging. Preferably the chafe gear will stretch if the line stretches and recoil if the line recoils. Nylon has these characteristics. Several other materials used in the manufacturing of chafe abrasion products do not. They will break, whereas nylon will not. Chafe-Pro®’s product line uses our proprietary weave, providing unparalleled abrasion protection under stress.