lay

1. A term used to decribe how the fibers in a rope or the wires in a cable, are twisted as a natural part of the manufacturing process. A rope with all the fibers going the way they want to is said to be "in balance" or "in equalibrium." Fighting the kinks in rope or multi-cable will just lead to heartache. One of the best methods is to raise one end in the air (such as tied to a batten) and letting the free end twist as it wants until it comes to rest.

From http://www.inventionfactory.com/history/rhawire/wireengn/wire/whatis.html:
Wire rope can be made either "right lay" or "left lay." Most of the wire rope furnished, however, is "right lay." This means that the strands composing the rope are laid around the center in the direction that causes them to form a right hand spiral. This can probably be better understood by referring to a right-hand screw thread. The strands in a right lay rope will advance along, and around the axis of the rope, in the same manner as do the threads in standard right-hand screw. Another way of expressing this would be to note the direction of rotation of the strands around the rope as you follow the strand from a point near to you to a point farther away. If this direction of rotation is clockwise, it is a right lay rope. Left lay would naturally be the reverse. In other words, the strands form a left-hand spiral in the rope. Since right lay is the standard lay, this is always furnished, unless left lay is definitely specified on the order.

Wire rope is furnished either Regular Lay or Lang Lay. Regular Lay wire rope is one where the wires in the strands and the strands in the rope are laid in opposite directions. That is, the lay of the wire in the strands in a right lay rope would be "left lay" in making a Regular Lay wire rope. Naturally a left lay Regular Lay rope would have the wires in the strands laid "right lay." Regular Lay is the standard type of construction and, unless otherwise specified, is furnished on orders for wire rope.

What is known as "Lang Lay" rope is also made Right Lay or Left Lay; however, right lay is more frequently used. In this construction the wires in the strands, and the strands in the rope, are laid in the same direction, or, in other words, the wires in the strands of a right lay Lang Lay rope would be laid "right lay." This particular type of rope is slightly more susceptible to abuse and, therefore must be handled with greater care, and should be used only where it is especially recommended.
2. To put or place gently, usually on a horizontal surface: "Now I lay me down to sleep..."

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