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Maximize Service Life

To obtain reasonable service life from your aircraft cable or wire rope, you must choose the optimal diameter of rope and sheave for your application. In general, the larger the size of the drum or pulley with respect to the wire diameter, the longer the service life. The opposite is also true: in general, the smaller the size of the drum or pulley with respect to your wire rope, the shorter the service life. Keep these relationships between cable, rope, and pulleys in mind when specifying the competence you use in your application.

The tables below provide the minimum recommended pulley diameter as well as the approximate bend radius of the rope. You’ll notice that the calculation is approximately half of the minimum recommended pulley tread diameter. Whether running fully over the sheave or drum, or some fraction thereof, check your design against the recommendations to better understand the service life you can expect in relation to the other factors involved.

Recommended Bend Radius

Constructions: 3×7, 6×7, 6×42, 7×3, and 7×7

Rope Diameter Minimum Recommended

Pulley Tread Diameter

Approximate Bend Radius
.009″ 3/8″ 3/16″
.014″ 5/8″ 5/16″
.018″ 13/16″ 13/32″
.024″ 1″ 1/2″
.027″ 1-5/32″ 37/64″
.030″ 1-9/32″ 41/64″
.031″ 1-5/16″ 21/32″
.032″ 1-11/32″ 43/64″
.035″ 1-1/2″ 3/4″
.036″ 1-17/32″ 49/64″
.047″ 2″ 1″
.063″ 2-5/8″ 1-5/16″
.075″ 3-9/32″ 1-41/64″
.094″ 3-15/16″ 1-31/32″
.125″ 5-1/4″ 2-5/8″
.156″ 6-9/16″ 3-9/32″
.188″ 7-7/8″ 3-15/16″
.250″ 10-1/2″ 5-1/4″
.313″ 13-1/8″ 6-6/16″
.375″ 15-3/4″ 7-7/8″

Recommended Bend Radius

Constructions: 6×19, 7×19, and 19×7

Rope Diameter Minimum Recommended

Pulley Tread Diameter

Approximate Bend Radius
.024″ 19/32″ 19/64″
.027″ 21/32″ 21/64″
.032″ 25/32″ 25/64″
.036″ 7/8″ 7/16″
.038″ 15/16″ 15/32″
.047″ 1-1/8 9/16″
.063″ 1-1/2″ 3/4″
.094″ 2-1/4″ 1-1/8
.125″ 3″ 1-1/2″
.156″ 3-3/4″ 1-7/8″
.188″ 4-1/2″ 2-1/4″
.219 5-1/4″ 2-5/8″
.250″ 6″ 3″
.313″ 7-1/2″ 3-3/4″
.375″ 9″ 4-1/2″
.438″ 1-1/2″ 5-1/4″
.500″ 12″ 6″
.563″ 13-1/2″ 6-3/4″
.625″ 15″ 7-1/2″

Recommended Bend Radius

Constructions: 6×37 and 8×19

Rope Diameter Minimum Recommended

Pulley Tread Diameter

Approximate Bend Radius
.188″ 2-1/4″ 1-1/8″
.250″ 3″ 1-1/2″”
.313″ 3-3/4″” 1-7/8″
.375″ 4-1/2″ 2-1/4″
.438″ 5-1/4″ 2-5/8″
.500″ 6″ 3″
.563″ 6-3/4″ 3-3/8″
.625″ 7-1/2″ 3-3/4″

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