Will a steel cable become longer if it is heated while under load?

Submitted by: Administrator
Even the heaviest steel cables stretch under load, whether they heat or not. Heating the cable will certainly elongate it. Friction caused by guides or pulleys can greatly increase the temperature of a cable under load.

You might consider the possibility of total failure if the heat is high enough and I am not sure but the cable might act in unpredictable ways when it fails. Applying heat to a steel cable under load is probably dangerous to your health and the health of anyone nearby.

When steel is heated, steel expands. It does not need to be under load. That is the reason that in the old days before advanced electronics and optics surveyors used chains rather than cables for measuring land. Had they used cable they would have gotten different measurements in summer and winter based on the difference in temperature and the coefficient of expansion of the material. The coefficient of expansion is a number that informs just how much a given material will expand or contract for a given change in temperature. To find the coefficient of expansion and other interesting information consult a materials handbook, available in better libraries or your local college of engineering. Another example of expanding steel and the necessity for dealing with this characteristic is the overlapping slip joint found on bridges that allows horizontal structural members to expand and contract without damaging the bridge.
Submitted by: Administrator

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