What is stainless steel wire rope and why do we use it?

Posted on Thursday 3rd September 2020

What is stainless steel wire rope and why do we use it?

Stainless steel wire rope is a unique and widely used product in many industries around the world. Due to the complexity of stainless wire rope we have created a short buyers guide to help educate the industry on what is available in Australia and New Zealand. 

What is stainless steel wire rope?

Wire rope is a machine with dozens – even hundreds – of individual wires which are formed and fabricated to move or operate at close tolerances to one another.

Wires are the basic building blocks of wire rope and are manufactured by “drawing down” rod to specific sizes required.

The wires are then organised to lay around a “center” in a specified pattern, in one or more layers, to form a strand.

Strands then lay around a “core” to form a wire rope.


Image of cross section of multi-strand wire rope

The size and number of wires in each strand, as well as the size and number of strands in each wire rope, determines the flexibility and the resistance to abrasive wear.

Each wire rope and strand has many variable components that are important to understand so that you are able to choose the appropriate product for your industry. These components include:

  • Construction;
  • Size/Diameter;
  • Lay;
  • Core;
  • Preforming;
  • Tensile Strength; and
  • Types of Wire Used


Why Stainless Steel Wire Rope?


Stainless steel wire rope is often chosen for its high corrosion resistance compared to a typical steel wire rope.


Grade Selection


AWG stocks both Grade 304 and Grade 316 stainless steel wire rope. More recently Arcus Wire has also become one of the worlds first distributors of Duplex wire rope.

Due to Australia and New Zealand’s harsh conditions, Grade 316 is more suitable for most applications, especially when use will be close to the coast. Duplex is an ultra high grade material more frequently used in highly corrosive environments and offers superior corrosion resistance and tensile strength.


Grade 316 has a higher corrosion resistance than Grade 304. Corrosion occurs when the iron in steel naturally reacts with oxygen in the presence of water or air moisture to create iron oxides – commonly known as rust. If salt is present in the air moisture then steel tends to rust more quickly as it accelerates the electro-chemical reaction.

Due to the presence of certain elements, namely chromium, stainless steel protects from corrosion by creating a “passivation layer” of Chromium (III) Oxide. This passivation layer stops oxygen from reacting with the iron.

Stainless steel requires a minimum of 10.5% chromium content by mass too create the protective oxide film.

Detailed below is the typical chemical composition of Arcus Wire



Arcus Wire – Typical Chemical Composition


Carbon (C)

Chromium (Cr)

Nickel (Ni)

Molybdenum (Mo)

















As well as being made from the highest quality raw material to AISI specifications, Arcus Wire and HAMMA Strand are manufactured to ensure that impurities are minimised on the finish product.

Impurities such as dust and grease, which attach themselves to the wire during the manufacturing process, can severely impact the passivation layer of stainless steel and are the major cause of premature tea-staining and corrosion.

Contact us

If you have any questions or need help selecting the right fitting for your needs call our expert team on 1800 272 879 or email sales@arcuswire.com.



Back to Articles