Wire rope is a type of rope which consists of several strands of metal wire laid (or ‘twisted’) into a helix. Initially wrought iron wires were used, but today steel is the main material used for wire ropes.
Historically wire rope evolved from steel chains which had a record of mechanical failure. While flaws in chain links or solid steel bars can lead to catastrophic failure, flaws in the wires making up a steel cable are less critical as the other wires easily take up the load. Friction between the individual wires and strands, as a consequence of their twist, further compensates for any flaws.