Simulating realistic strand behavior

Hi, I’m trying to use Blender to simulate the behavior of strands of steel cable, just as a quick reference so I can model them “by hand” and not get results that are overly fictitious. I’m having troubles though setting up a convincing simulation, and I don’t know whether to use hair particles or curve objects, applying soft bodies or cloth simulation, etc.

I’m interested on getting approximations to how vertical strands of cable deform as they get larger and larger(so a short strand is almost straight and a very large one is mostly horizontal, curved under its own weight). I’m not a 100% sure if this is the proper place to post this, sorry if it isn’t.

Well, can anyone think of the proper way to do this? I’d be very thankful.