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The comment on a previous question I posted here:

I am not sure whether this biner was aluminum, but it could be, so a warning (please excuse me if the biner is steel): Aluminum biners are not suited for constant high loads (even less if the forces change around a high value). You should always use steel biners for slacklines and if an aluminum was used, retire it

Got me thinking. When setting up this slackline I used a dyneema at one end to extend the rope slightly. I actually picked dyneema purposly as I didn't want it to stretch. It was under tension (from the slack line and people using the slack line) for a number of hours. I noticed afterwards that the sling had become slightly "stiff".

Should I now retire this sling? Is it ok to expose dyneema to this type of load or does it act like the aluminium crab mentioned in the comment? Would a Nylon one of held out any better?

Just to clarify, my question is, having used this sling for a slackline anchor and having had it under load, is it now OK to use while climbing?

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    You should consider just keeping your slack line gear separate from your climbing gear. – StrongBad Jun 23 '17 at 12:42
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What you describe is called creep. According to this technical manual

Creep is a material property frequently misunderstood and can be defined as the continued extension of a material when subjected to constant, long-term static loading.

There are several types of dyneema and some of them have lower creep resistance. Balance community says

Some of the earlier versions of Dyneema suffer from severe creep issues. Creep is the process of plastic deformation under load. That means when you tension a piece of Dyneema, it will continue to loose tension and physically become longer over time. New versions of Dyneema have started to mitigate this issue, with the creep properties of SK-99 being substantially better than all of it's predecessors. This issue only becomes a problem when using the fiber near it's breaking strength or if left under substantial tensions for a long period of time.

Now, is that an issue? Should you retire your dyneema sling because of creep? Reading about creeping in applications more serious than slacklining (for example, in ropes for boat anchoring), a mooring company says:

Creep has two important effects in ropes. Loads will equalize between the different yarns, thus rope strength will increase in use. Secondly, it can be used to estimate the safe working life of a rope. In addition to permanent deformation or creep, a higher elongation will occur in a new rope while the fibres or rope adapt to the structure of the load. A worked rope or pre-stretched rope will therefore show less elongation than a new one. As the rope is put under tension for the first time, the fibres rearrange to provide better load sharing, resulting in a gain in the breaking load of 10%.

Which means that, since you're not worried about the fact that the sling got longer, but if it got weaker, the answer is no - at least superficially. You can confirm your sling is still intact by looking at its fibre structure (taken from balance community's website):

enter image description here

This figure is obviously about ropes, but it also applies to slings. Check you sling fibre structure: if it looks as anything above a 4 in the picture, retire it.

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  • This is great. It does miss the point of my question slightly though. I mainly use the sling for climbing, not slacklining. Should I still use the sling while climbing? – user2766 Jun 22 '17 at 8:15
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    @Liam Does it make a difference? Forces in climbing are either lower when continuous or just a short-time load (and still hardly as high as in slack-lining). Elongation/creep according to this source does not reduce breaking strength and as it is "static" (within reasonable limits) ab initio, it can't loose elasticity. I have seen degradation being addressed in a climbing accident report with old slings and they had a similar graphic to demonstrate how to judge the state of a sling. – imsodin Jun 22 '17 at 8:22
  • It was your comment that got me thinking @imsodin. If this is an issue for a carabiner, I'd guess it's an issue for slings (particular dyneema). If it's not then it's not? – user2766 Jun 22 '17 at 12:03
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    @Liam metals and polymers have extremely different physical properties, so no. The fact that aluminium alloys are too soft to withstand constant forces does not imply that a polymer chain, built to withstand constant forces, will not withstand constant forces. – QuantumBrick Jun 22 '17 at 13:14
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    I put brittle into quotation marks, as I used it totally non-technical. I dont have any real knowledge of this topic. This reddit post (sorry) has a good answer on this with some links. – imsodin Jun 22 '17 at 20:32

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