The discovery of the RMS Titanic has led to a number of scientific studies, one of which addresses the role that structural materials played in the sinking of the ship. Early studies focused on the quality of the hull steel as a contributing factor in the ship's rapid sinking,
but experimental results showed that the material was "state-of-the-art" for 1911. Instead, it was suggested that the quality of the wrought iron rivets may have been an important factor in the opening of the steel plates during flooding. Here the quality of RMS Titanic wrought iron
is examined and compared with contemporary wrought iron obtained from additional late 19th-/early 20th-century buildings, bridges, and ships. Traditional metallurgical analysis as well as compositional analysis, mechanical testing, and computer modeling are used to understand the variation
in the mechanical properties of wrought iron as a function of its microstructure.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: April 1, 2003
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