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Author: Subject: Dyneema Vs. Spectra
Jolt


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question.gif posted on 8-29-2009 at 10:56 PM
Dyneema Vs. Spectra


I've been looking around to replacing some older lines i have now, and am wondering which one is better? What are the pro's and con's? And if you guys recommend one over the other.



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awindofchange




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[*] posted on 8-29-2009 at 11:40 PM


Both lines are a form of UHMWPE = Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene, also known as High-Modulus Polyethylene (HMPE). Dyneema is a registered trademark of Royal DSM - a company out of the Netherlands who contracts the construction of the line out of Japan and East Asia. Spectra is a registered trademark of Honeywell, a U.S. based company who produces spectra line and other spectra made components in the U.S. These are the only two companies in the world that have the patented rights to produce either Dyneema or Spectra line.

Even though both lines are made from the same materials, they are somewhat different in the way they are formed, woven and constructed. Think of it like tires for your car. They are all made from steel belts and rubber but high performance racing tires are very much different in performance than tires created for Semi Trucks or 8 ply bias ply tires for trailers...or even tires for a bicycle -- they are all made from the same basic materials but very much different from each other. Kite lines are no different. Dyneema fibers are much smaller in diameter than Spectra fibers, this is from a patented and highly guarded construction and spinning process developed by Honeywell Corp. The larger diameter fibers of Spectra line means that it takes less fibers to create a line of specific weight than the same weight line created with Dyneema fibers. The individual fibers in Spectra line is stronger and can withstand more stress than the thinner individual fibers of Dyneema which can break down easier because of their smaller size. This is also why Spectra line has a creep rate (also referred to as stretch) of 2-3% and Dyneema line usually has a creep rate somewhere closer to 6-8%. This is also the reason that high modulus Spectra line is much thinner than comparable weight Dyneema line - it takes less fibers to create the required test than Dyneema line which takes more fibers. But....what is more important is the way the individual fibers are woven together to create the braided line. The process used to braid spectra fibers can be done in such a way to create round, oval and even square braids, these braids can also be solid core or hollow cores or a combination of both. The way these braids are constructed will determine just how much the line will stretch under loads or how tight they will lock - basically the entire performance of the line is based on how the individual fibers are braided together. This is the reason that spectra fishing line is not good for kites - fishing line is usually more of a square braid which is great for laying down flat as it is spooled onto the fishing reel but can actually bind or even cut into itself if it gets wrapped around itself (as constantly done with kite flying). Also, the way fishing line is braided allows the line to give more linear stretch through the long linear braiding of the weave under extreme loads. When slack, fishing line can deliver sharp snaps for setting the hook but when loaded, the braid will creep out quite a bit to help reduce the lines chance of snapping. Fishing line is also usually heavily waxed to give the line different colors - Spectra and Dyneema are naturally white and basically dye proof. The wax can also attract dirt, dust and other debris which can break down the line faster (like sandpaper inside the weave). Colored Dyneema and Spectra line has been doped with various substances and usually baked to seal the color into the line.

All that being said, both lines regardless of brand are 10 times stronger than Steel Cable of the same size. In my opinion, Spectra is better than Dyneema for overall strength and minimal stretch - and in most cases, slicker and can handle more twists before starting to bind.

To sum it up (again IMO) Spectra or Dyneema are some of the best kite lines you can buy and either one should give you excellent performance.

Hope that helps.




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[*] posted on 8-30-2009 at 01:06 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by awindofchange

both lines regardless of brand are 10 times stronger than Steel Cable of the same size.

Hope that helps.


Isn't that same weight, not same size?




fixed bridles, flying static, been two years now... ??? folks must be wondering....

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also a couple of arcs, 12 syn and 12 phanny, but i\'m not yet up to speed on them.

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[*] posted on 8-30-2009 at 07:43 AM


Yes, it's weight, not size, but thanks Kent for an excellent write up and clear explanation. When first saw the post I thought to stand by with the fire extinguisher, but Kent pretty much covered the bases enough to quash a lot of arguments.

The precision Revolution fliers are rabid about using Spectra, and particularly the Laser Pro Gold brand of weave over anything else. With that kind of precision flying though, that little bit of difference in stretch would seem to be a big deal. But after watching someone like John Baressi fly, if he told me that angel hair pasta was the best, I would simply say "yes sir!"

For us mortal traction clods, the Dyneema that comes with the European products does the job just fine, I think.




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furbowski


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[*] posted on 8-30-2009 at 07:47 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by acampbell
Yes, it's weight, not size, but thanks Kent for an excellent write up and clear explanation.


absolutely, one little word swap / slip of the keys and the rest is right on!




fixed bridles, flying static, been two years now... ??? folks must be wondering....

sting 1.7, dp power 2.5, crossfire 3.2, ace 5, blade iv 6.5, ace 8, ace 12...

also a couple of arcs, 12 syn and 12 phanny, but i\'m not yet up to speed on them.

(13.11.09)
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[*] posted on 8-30-2009 at 07:52 AM


The Rev and stunt team types also will fly in tight group formations -where you could have 2, 5,10,20 sets of dual or quad lines all wrapping together. You can see why they'd want the slipperiest, thinnest lines they could find.
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[*] posted on 8-30-2009 at 08:06 PM


So in all, if im not getting a rev to d some crazy tricks with, dyneema or spectra, it doesn't matter, so long as its rated to hold the weight...

Thanks for the replies...




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[*] posted on 8-31-2009 at 12:49 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Jolt
So in all, if im not getting a rev to d some crazy tricks with, dyneema or spectra, it doesn't matter, so long as its rated to hold the weight...

Thanks for the replies...


Weeeelllll....basically, yea.

Even with the power kites I have noticed quite a difference between Dyneema and Spectra line. Spectra seems to be locked in much better and gives you a more solid feel of what the kite is doing. I have also had some Dyneema lines that have broken where the same weight lines in Spectra have not and also seem to have noticed that Dyneema lines do stretch out faster and more often than Spectra lines - I usually have to re-adjust my Dyneema linesets much more than my spectra ones. I really do prefer to fly on Spectra.

Now - to clarify and also throw in the scenario's - there could have been some hidden abrasions in the Dyneema lines that the Spectra lines did not have - or any other unseen or unknown factor. Again these are just my personal findings over the last some 12 years of flying kites. The tough part of all of this is that it is not usually the actual material that the lines are made from (Spectra fibers or Dyneema fibers) but more the way those fibers are inter-woven to create the actual line. This means that not all Spectra or Dyneema line is created equal!!! A cheap brand of Spectra is not going to give you near the performance that a high quality brand is going to give - the same goes for Dyneema. If you have a Dyneema lineset that is made to the highest standards, woven extra tight, pre-stretched, matched and either tied or sewn then you will have a good lineset to use - and it will probably be better in performance, minimal stretch and durability over a cheaply made Spectra lineset.

I have had line sent to me to try out that (claimed to be) 100% spectra (Ok, how do you really know what the actual fibers are without taking the persons word for it or having your own chemist lab?) The line was very rough looking, the weave was very loose and when you flew with it, it had what I considered a terrible amount of bungee cord type feel (stretch). The other problem is that after 2-3 twists of the lines, they would start to lock up and bind. Compared to either Shanti or Laser Pro Gold that you can get 10-12 twists before really starting to feel some resistance in the lines but still not locking up solid and you still had good control of the kites.

The best advice I can give is to purchase name brand lines from a reputable retail outlet that will stand behind their product. I won't go out and actually say that that there "could" be less reputable shops that mark poor quality cheaply made garbage line as name brand Spectra or Dyneema so they can rape the customer for a couple more dollars ..... but it could happen. :no: If you are in the market for some new lines, try out a different brand or type and see just how you like them. Basically any of the top name brands are going to work great for your power kites. Don't forget Q-Power either. :)

Hope that helps.

Oh yea...and I did mean size as in overall diameter of the line - if you went by the weight of the line then spectra weights much less than steel so the comparison between the two would be even more (spectra weighs about 1/100th that of steel). If you went by the rated poundage of the line as in 200# or 500# then both steel and Spectra would be the same as they would both have the same breakage rating.

As a basic general example:
1/4" diameter steel cable (twisted carbon steel) has an average breaking strain in the range of 1200# to 2000# rated.

I have 1/8" diameter spectra cord that I use to fly my large single line kites on - and it has a breaking strain of 2800# rated. This spectra cord is nearly double the strength as the steel cable above, but is only half the size in diameter.




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[*] posted on 8-31-2009 at 02:42 PM


synthetic steel AKA Dyneema! I love this stuff


http://www.sherrilltree.com/Professional-Gear/Amsteel_2/Amst...




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[*] posted on 8-31-2009 at 03:55 PM


Amsteel is some pretty nice stuff. 5/16" diameter - whopping 13,700 lb tinsel strength...and it floats on water. :) Just to put this into perspective, you have a cord smaller than 1/2" in diameter that will suspend in mid air, the entire weight of 4 Toyota Camry's or two fully decked out Cadillac Escalades!!!:eekdrull:



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[*] posted on 8-31-2009 at 04:51 PM


you should see the 3 and 4 inch sizes they use on ships. They use it to tow, and mooring lines for storms.



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[*] posted on 8-31-2009 at 09:14 PM


AWOC, say i was gonna grab some strings off your site, what would you recomend?

I know trancein1 told me to go for the ozone because he trusts the brand, but i decided to do a little bit of research before jumping into buying anything...

Ps im using these for a Quadrifoil Comp. XL,

EDIT::

actually going through your site, the premade q-line bundle looks pretty tempting...




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[*] posted on 8-31-2009 at 09:41 PM


Ozone makes a very high quality line that would work good for your XL. The Q-power line is excellent stuff as well. The pre-made Q-power sets listed are more designed for surfing applications as they are rated at 600 pound test.

If you can't find what you are looking for on our site, send me an e-mail or give me a call and I can make up a set for you of pretty much any weight or length.




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[*] posted on 8-31-2009 at 09:51 PM


Well i was looking for something in the 25m range, so roughly 85feet or so. Does it really matter if the premade Q-power sets are made for surfing? would they still work for general use and snow kitting...



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[*] posted on 8-31-2009 at 10:41 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by awindofchange


As a basic general example:
1/4" diameter steel cable (twisted carbon steel) has an average breaking strain in the range of 1200# to 2000# rated.

I have 1/8" diameter spectra cord that I use to fly my large single line kites on - and it has a breaking strain of 2800# rated. This spectra cord is nearly double the strength as the steel cable above, but is only half the size in diameter.


alright, that makes it clear. there must be a lot of variance in steal cable strength tho, die-formed aircraft quality cable is quite a bit stronger than the plain carbon stuff ...

If I could have any lineset I wanted, it would be q-power for mains and shanti gold for brakes, although the last could be called a waste... two sets one with 300# for light winds, one with the 600# for the normal stuff.




fixed bridles, flying static, been two years now... ??? folks must be wondering....

sting 1.7, dp power 2.5, crossfire 3.2, ace 5, blade iv 6.5, ace 8, ace 12...

also a couple of arcs, 12 syn and 12 phanny, but i\'m not yet up to speed on them.

(13.11.09)
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awindofchange




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[*] posted on 9-1-2009 at 11:49 AM


Furb:
Yea, there are many variations of steel cable including stainless and special alloy's but I don't know of any off hand that has the same strength per size as Spectra. The only drawback to Spectra would be the low melting point which limits its use in a lot of applications.

Jolt:
You can use Q-Power for pretty much any kiting application and it works excellent on snow kites. I use Q-power for a lot of my power kites but only use the larger 600# stuff on the really big kites. 600# on the smaller kites is really quite a bit of overkill. We do stock Q-Power in 300# and 200# test as well. Usually the Q-Power line costs appx. $1.00 per foot for quad line sets, so a set of 60 foot Q-Power in pretty much any test or configuration would be 60 bucks.




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[*] posted on 9-1-2009 at 09:43 PM


So what would you recommend would be the best deal for 25m or roughly 83 feet or so...

i wouldn't mind overkill so long as the rig works...




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