Anyone interested in joining—or avoiding—extreme sports likely has heard of and has opinions on bungee cords. The variety most of us are familiar with originates from military technology pushing the original invention, which is surprisingly old. The bungee cord has a much tamer origin and is still very useful today in many mundane applications. To better appreciate this helpful cord, let’s look at how bungee cords are made and how to use them.
Bungee cords are more than just your average elastic. They’re designed to be load-bearing. In other words, bungee cords are a type of cord that flexes significantly but won’t wear or snap suddenly. The original term comes from a British slang word for the original material. Bungee cords are traditionally made from natural rubber. Today, though, an array of synthetic alternatives are used depending on the shock and load-bearing needs of the cord.
Bungee cords use a strong elastic such as rubber. The core is made up of strands of elastic which are knitted into and surrounded by external strands of cloth. The addition of tightly wound cloth around elastic works much the same as with other humbler varieties of knitted elastic bands used commonly in clothing.
While you might think one solid hunk of rubber would work better, bungee cords derive their strength in numbers. The core is made up of numerous much smaller extruded ribbons of elastic and is tightly bound into working together by the exterior knitting.
How bungee cords are made and how to use them are closely related ideas. For instance, shock cord is the variety that daredevils and stunt performers use. It’s different in that it’s much thicker and can stretch twice its length. Household bungee cords stretch only half their length, which is more than enough for their many household uses. They’re most commonly used to bind hard-to-hold items together.
If you go to any airport, you’ll likely spy a rainbow of bungee cords helping hold people’s luggage in place. This type of bungee cord is ideal for when items need to be held together or hung when there isn’t an available hook or shelf. The best part about using bungee cords is they’re easy to place and remove yet strong enough to hold just about anything in place. Add bungee cords to your list of handy household tools and make housekeeping, transportation, and organization easy.