Poor choice of materials made Titanic more vulnerable – Quirks and Quarks
Studies of the steel that made up the hull and rivets of Titanic have shown that the ship was made with lower-grade metals that were more brittle, suggesting that lives might have been saved had the vessel been constructed with better material.
As memorial services this weekend mark the 100th anniversary of the famous disaster at sea, scientists who have studied samples of the hull brought up from the wreck have found the ship was built with sub-standard steel. They suggest that there might have been less damage from the collision with the iceberg had the ship been made with a higher grade of metal.
Titanic might have stayed afloat longer if the damage has been less severe, allowing more time for rescue ships to arrive before the ship slipped beneath the waves.
The problems with steel quality arose from the attempt by the builders of Titanic – Harland and Wolff – to construct two other vessels of equal size at the same time, Britanic and Olympic, intended to be the largest passenger ships in the world. But this massive feat of construction was hard on suppliers of steel and rivets, causing shortages that were greatest during the construction of Titanic.
When pieces of hull were brought up from the famous wreck on the ocean floor, laboratory tests in the 1990s showed the steel contained higher levels of sulfur than was customary for ship construction at the time. It made the metal more brittle, especially in the icy waters of the North Atlantic. The edges of the steel fragments were also jagged, indicating that it had shattered on impact, rather than being bent and torn as lower-sulfur steel would have been.
In addition to a shortage of steel plates for the hull, there was a shortage of steel rivets and expert riveters to piece the hull together. The company was forced to use lower grade wrought iron rivets which, under impact tests, also turned out to be more brittle.
Strange Random Steel Quote:
“Men are like steel. When they lose their temper, they lose their worth.” – Chuck Norris
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- Titanic: was it all right when it left here? (sluggerotoole.com)
- Why the Titanic Sank (gizmodo.co.uk)
- Why the Titanic Sank [Video] (gizmodo.com)
- Rusted Titanic Wreck Will be Painted and Sold? (socyberty.com)
- Poor quality rivets sank Titanic (indiavision.com)
- Titanic tale continues to fascinate (teddyoshea.wordpress.com)
- Titanic centenary marked worldwide (scotsman.com)