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Synthetic Webbing - Material Science

The Power of Synthetic Webbing Solutions

By: Dawnerz


Time to read 8 min

The world of lifting and towing equipment has undergone a revolution. Gone are the days of bulky, heavy chains and cumbersome steel cables. Today, innovative synthetic webbing solutions have taken center stage, offering a new level of strength, flexibility, and safety for all your lifting and rigging needs. 

These lightweight yet powerful materials are changing the game, allowing you to tackle even the most demanding tasks with greater ease and efficiency.

This article delves deeper into the world of synthetic webbing solutions, exploring the unique properties of four key materials -  Polyester, Nylon, Dyneema® (UHMWPE), and aramid fibers (Kevlar®). We'll unveil their strengths and weaknesses, helping you choose the perfect material for your specific needs, whether you're a professional rigger or a weekend warrior tackling a DIY project.

Polyester Webbing

A widely used and cost-effective synthetic material, polyester webbing offers a good balance of strength, abrasion resistance, and UV resistance. Its versatility makes it a popular choice for a variety of lifting, towing, and rigging applications.


Excellent UV Resistance: Maintains strength and resists degradation from sunlight.

Lower Strength: Generally not as strong as nylon webbing, though still suitable for many applications.

Limited Chemical Resistance: Can be susceptible to some acids and strong chemicals.

Higher Cost: Typically more expensive than nylon webbing.

Stiffness: May be slightly stiffer than nylon, especially at lower temperatures.


Lower Strength: Generally not as strong as nylon webbing, though still suitable for many applications.

Limited Chemical Resistance: Can be susceptible to some acids and strong chemicals.

Higher Cost: Typically more expensive than nylon webbing.

Stiffness: May be slightly stiffer than nylon, especially at lower temperatures.

Nylon Webbing

Offering a strong and affordable option, nylon webbing is renowned for its high abrasion resistance and good moisture absorption. While not the strongest among synthetic materials, nylon provides a dependable solution for many lifting and rigging tasks.

Nylon Towing Strap with Shackles


High Strength: Excellent for heavy lifting applications.

Abrasion Resistance: Resists wear and tear well in harsh environments.

Good Chemical Resistance: Generally handles weak acids and some oils/greases.

Moisture Absorption: Absorbs some moisture, increasing strength but potentially leading to mildew in damp conditions.

Wide Temperature Range: Performs well from -40°F (-40°C) to 180°F (82°C).

Cost-Effective: Generally less expensive than polyester webbing.


Loses Strength When Wet: Strength can decrease by up to 15% when wet.

Poor UV Resistance: Degrades and loses strength over time with prolonged sun exposure.

Melting Point: Relatively low melting point around 410°F (210°C).

Susceptible to Alkalis: Can weaken and degrade when exposed to strong alkalis.

Dyneema® (UHMWPE)

Renowned for its exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, Dyneema® is a high-performance synthetic fiber. Its unmatched UV resistance and superior chemical resistance make it ideal for demanding applications where weight reduction and durability are crucial.

Dyneema Rope - Red Braided


Exceptional Strength-to-Weight Ratio: Dyneema® boasts the highest strength-to-weight ratio of all these materials. This translates to lighter slings and straps for easier handling, especially when dealing with very heavy loads.

Unmatched UV Resistance: Unlike nylon and polyester, Dyneema® exhibits exceptional resistance to ultraviolet (UV) light degradation. This makes it ideal for outdoor applications with prolonged sun exposure.

Superior Chemical Resistance: Dyneema® demonstrates superior resistance to a wider range of chemicals compared to nylon, polyester, and even aramid fibers. This makes it suitable for use in environments with exposure to harsh chemicals or solvents. 

Good Abrasion Resistance: While not indestructible, Dyneema® offers good abrasion resistance compared to other synthetic webbing materials.


Higher Cost: Dyneema® is generally the most expensive among these four materials.

Susceptibility to Sharp Objects: Dyneema® fibers can be susceptible to cuts from sharp objects.

Lower Melting Point: Compared to aramid fibers, Dyneema® has a lower melting point. While still suitable for most applications, it's a factor to consider in high-heat environments.

Aramid Fibers (Kevlar®)

Known for its outstanding heat resistance and superior cut resistance, Kevlar® is a type of aramid fiber. This high-strength material finds use in applications where extreme temperatures or sharp objects pose a risk.

Kevlar Lifting Sling - Blue and Orange


Exceptional Heat Resistance: Kevlar® is renowned for its outstanding heat resistance, making it a valuable material for applications involving high temperatures. It can withstand significantly higher temperatures than nylon, polyester, and even Dyneema® before melting or losing strength.

Superior Cut Resistance: Kevlar® fibers offer excellent resistance to cuts and abrasions, making them ideal for applications where sharp objects might be present.

Good Strength-to-Weight Ratio: While not the strongest by weight like Dyneema®, Kevlar® still offers a good strength-to-weight ratio, making it a lighter alternative to steel for many applications.


Lower Strength Compared to Dyneema®: For pure weight capacity, Kevlar® may not be as strong as Dyneema® when comparing similar weight materials.

Susceptible to UV Degradation: Over time, Kevlar® can degrade when exposed to UV light. While not as dramatic as nylon, it's a consideration for extended outdoor use.

Higher Cost: Compared to nylon and polyester, Kevlar® is generally more expensive.

REMEMBER: This is a simplified overview. Specific properties of these materials may vary depending on the exact grade or blend used. The best material selection depends on your specific needs. Consider factors like weight capacity, temperature exposure, chemical environment, and cut risk.





 Aramid Fibers




Exceptional (highest strength-to-weight ratio)


Abrasion Resistance





Chemical Resistance


Weak Acids, some Oils



UV Resistance




Susceptible to Degradation

Melting Point

482°F (250°C)

410°F (210°C)

347°F (175°C)

800°F (427°C)

Temperature Range

-40°F to 200°F 

-40°F to 180°F 

-40°F to 180°F 

Excellent Heat Resistance

Moisture Absorption










Cut Resistance





** Manufacturers can treat the material to improve its resistances so always confirm these details before making a purchase **


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Additional Considerations:

This table provides a general overview. Specific properties may vary depending on the exact grade or blend used for each material. The best material selection depends on your specific application. Consider factors such as:

  • Weight Capacity: How much weight do you need to lift, tow, or secure?
  • Temperature Exposure: Will the slings or straps be exposed to high heat or extreme cold?
  • Chemical Environment: Will they come into contact with any chemicals?
  • Abrasion or Cut Risk: Is there a risk of cuts or abrasions during use?
  • Weight Considerations: Is minimizing weight a priority?

By understanding the unique properties of each material, you can make informed decisions about selecting the most suitable synthetic webbing solution for your towing, lifting, or rigging needs.

Advantages and Considerations of Synthetic Webbing vs. Traditional Lifting Materials

Wire Rope VS Webbing

When choosing lifting and towing equipment, there are various options available, each with its own advantages and limitations. Here, we'll compare synthetic webbing (nylon, polyester, Dyneema®, Kevlar®) to traditional materials like chain, wire rope, and steel.

Advantages of Synthetic Webbing:

  • Lighter Weight: Synthetic webbing offers a significant weight advantage over chain, wire rope, and steel. This makes them easier to handle, transport, and maneuver, especially for lifting or towing heavy objects.

  • Flexibility: Synthetic webbing slings and straps conform better to the shape of the load, distributing weight more evenly and reducing pressure points. This can be beneficial for lifting delicate or irregularly shaped objects.

  • Abrasion and Cut Resistance (Some Materials): While abrasion and cut resistance vary by material, some synthetic fibers like Kevlar® offer superior resistance compared to chain or wire rope.

  • Easier Inspection: Synthetic webbing is generally easier to inspect for signs of wear and damage compared to chain or wire rope, where internal deterioration might be harder to detect.

  • Corrosion Resistance: Unlike steel, synthetic webbing is not susceptible to rust or corrosion.

Considerations for Synthetic Webbing

  • Degradation Over Time: All synthetic materials degrade over time, especially with exposure to UV light, chemicals, and heavy use. It's crucial to follow proper inspection and replacement guidelines to ensure safety.

  • Lower Working Load Limits (WLL): While strong, synthetic webbing generally has lower WLLs compared to steel chains or wire ropes of similar size. Always choose slings or straps with a WLL exceeding your lifting or towing needs.

  • Susceptibility to Melting (Some Materials): Certain synthetic materials, like nylon, have lower melting points than steel. Consider temperature limitations when selecting slings or straps for high-heat environments.

  • Susceptibility to Chemical Exposure: Some chemicals can weaken or damage specific synthetic materials. Choose the appropriate webbing based on the anticipated chemical environment.

Traditional Lifting Materials

  • Chain: Offers high strength and durability for heavy lifting applications. However, chains are heavy, inflexible, and susceptible to rust.

  • Wire Rope: Provides high strength and flexibility compared to chain. However, wire rope can be susceptible to internal corrosion and requires careful inspection.

  • Steel: Incredibly strong and durable, ideal for heavy lifting and towing. However, steel is heavy, inflexible, and prone to rust.

Choosing the Right Material

Chains VS Webbing

The best material selection depends on your specific needs. Consider factors like:

  • Lifting or Towing Capacity: How much weight do you need to handle?

  • Frequency of Use: How often will the slings or straps be used?

  • Environment: Will they be exposed to UV light, chemicals, or high temperatures?

  • Application: Does flexibility or ease of inspection matter for your use case?

By understanding the advantages and limitations of both synthetic webbing and traditional materials, you can make an informed decision about the most suitable equipment for your lifting and towing tasks.

Why Polyester is a Popular Choice for Synthetic Webbing

While all synthetic materials offer advantages over traditional lifting and towing equipment, polyester webbing stands out for several reasons:

Cost-Effectiveness: Generally, polyester is the most affordable option compared to Dyneema® and Kevlar®. This makes it a cost-conscious choice for many applications.

Excellent Balance of Properties: Polyester offers a good balance of strength, abrasion resistance, and UV resistance. While not the strongest or most UV resistant among synthetic options, it provides adequate performance for many lifting and towing tasks.

Wide Range of Applications: Due to its affordability and good balance of properties, polyester webbing finds use in a wide variety of lifting and towing applications. From general cargo straps to vehicle recovery slings, polyester offers a versatile solution.

Availability: Polyester webbing is widely available from numerous manufacturers, making it easy to find the specific size, length, and working load limit (WLL) needed for your application.

User-Friendly: Polyester webbing is generally easier to handle and inspect compared to some other synthetic materials.

Polyester Use Cases

Polyester webbing, due to its versatility, is a popular choice for Type 3 lifting slings. These slings are ideal for various applications across industries. In construction sites, their flexibility allows for easy maneuvering around tight spaces. Manufacturing facilities utilize Type 3 slings for their high weight capacity when handling heavy machinery. 

Additionally, the lightweight nature of these slings makes them a valuable asset in the transportation sector for better load management on vehicles.

Polyester Strap Highlight Infographic

Not Always A Perfect Choice, But Often The Best Fit

It's important to remember that while polyester offers many advantages, it might not be the best choice for every situation. For exceptionally heavy lifting or applications with extreme temperatures or harsh chemicals, Dyneema® or Kevlar® might be more suitable.


When it comes to lifting and towing tasks, choosing the right synthetic webbing solution is no small feat. By understanding the unique properties of polyester, nylon, Dyneema®, and aramid fibers, you're empowered to make an informed decision. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all answer – the optimal material depends on your specific application's weight capacity, temperature exposure, chemical environment, and potential for cuts or abrasions. 

With this knowledge in hand, you can select the synthetic webbing solution that delivers superior performance, safety, and efficiency for your next project. Don't settle for bulky and cumbersome – embrace the future of lifting and towing with the power of synthetic webbing solutions!

Ready to explore the world of synthetic webbing solutions? Check out our wide selection of high-quality lifting slings and towing straps.

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