Chain Grades: Comparing Grade 30, Grade 43, Grade 70, Grade 80, Grade 100, and Grade 120 Chain

We turned one our most popular posts, “What are the Differences Between Grade 70 Chain, Grade 80 Chain, Grade 100 Chain, and Grade 120 Chain?”, into a simple chart for quick and easy chain grade comparison.

We also added information on the Grade 30 chain and Grade 43 chain. While we don’t sell these chain grades on our website, you can always call in to order them.

chain grade information

Typical Chain Uses

Grade 30

General purpose economical chain. Used in a variety of industries and jobs including light construction, agricultural applications, and the marine industry.

Grade 43

Typically used for container securement, logging, farming, towing, marine applications, and as general purpose utility chain.

Grade 70

Made from a higher strength, heat-treated carbon steel that has a load rating approximately 20 percent higher than Grade 43. The gold chromate finish makes it easy for DOT officials to recognize. Typically used by truckers, loggers, and highway crews for load securement and towing.

Grade 80

A high strength, heat treated alloy chain that can be used as a sling component for overhead lifting as well as heavy duty tow chain. The most economical choice that is suitable for overhead lifting.

Grade 100

A high strength, heat treated alloy chain. Primarily used as a sling component for overhead lifting.  Has approximately 25 percent higher strength than Grade 80. Popular in construction, manufacturing, and rigging applications.

Grade 120

An ultra-premium high strength chain designed specifically for the rigorous requirements of overhead lifting applications. The links have a unique square shape and it has approximately 50 percent higher strength compared to Grade 80. There are currently no official standards for Grade 120 chain in the U.S. or Europe, however, it does meet or exceed the standards of Grade 100 chain.

chain working load limits

Safety Standards for Chain

Organizations like ASTM (American Society of Testing & Materials), ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), and OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) have released safety standards and regulations for various materials and grades of a chain.  

Essentially, it’s a formal way of recognizing and documenting that not all chain is created equally and therefore, it should not all be used for the same applications. 

ASTM Chain Specification 

What does A413, A391, and A973 all mean? Those are simply how the ASTM categorizes and references their specification standards. Each specification outlines the different manufacturing and testing requirements as well as the appropriate performance standards, grades, and applications.  

Determining Chain Grades

Chain grades are a standard method for showing the ultimate breaking strength (tensile strength) of a chain. Grades help determine what sort of applications are appropriate for a given chain. 

Chain grades are determined by calculating newtons per square millimeter, using the formula “N/mm2”.

Where “mm” is the area of the two cross-sections of a single chain link, and “N” is newtons. A newton is approximately 0.224805 lbs. 

So, to determine a chain grade, manufacturers must find the ultimate breaking strength. Then, divide that number by .224805 to determine ultimate breaking strength in newtons. Next, take that number and divide by the total area of two cross-sections of a single link. That number is the chain grade. 

You could reverse this formula to determine ultimate breaking strength if all you know if the chain grade.  

Note: chain grades advertised by manufacturers are one-tenth of the actual mathematical grades. So grade 80 is really 800, and grade 120 is 1,200. 

Determining Chain Working Load Limits

Working load limit (WLL) of a chain is another designated safety measure. WLL is a weight significantly less than the weight that would cause a chain to fail (tensile strength).

WLL = MBL / SF. Where MBL is minimum breaking load and SF is the safety factor.  

A safety factor is the ratio between allowable stress and actual stress. In other words, it’s the ratio between the chain strength and the expected maximum stress.

In lifting and rigging applications, factors such as gravity and the additional force caused by angles must be considered.  

Always adhere to the WLL to ensure a chain does not break or wear quicker than it should.  

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4 Responses to Chain Grades: Comparing Grade 30, Grade 43, Grade 70, Grade 80, Grade 100, and Grade 120 Chain

  1. Paul Hepworth April 24, 2018 at 1:39 PM #

    It would be neat if this document was in a printer friendly format, so we print and keep for reference purposes.

    Thank you

    • Colton Radford April 24, 2018 at 4:16 PM #

      Hi Paul,

      If you are looking to get a large printout of these charts, try this: right click on the chart image and then choose “open image in new tab”. Then click “file” and then “print” or (“command + p” on your keyboard) and print in landscape orientation. I will also go ahead and email you an original version of these charts.

      Thank you for reading and for the feedback!

  2. Craig April 24, 2018 at 12:35 PM #

    > We turned one our most popular posts into a simple chart for
    > quick and easy chain grade comparison.

    Thank you for your work in producing this page!

    It has a lot of helpful information in one place.

    • Colton Radford April 24, 2018 at 3:59 PM #

      Craig- Glad you found this helpful. Thank you for reading!

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