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Metallurgical Analysis of Wrought Iron From the RMS Titanic

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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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  • Marine Technology is dedicated to James Kennedy, 1867-1936, marine engineer, and longtime member of the Society, in recognition and appreciation of his sincere and generous interest in furthering the art of ship design, shipbuilding, ship operation, and related activities.

    The Technical papers in this quarterly flagship journal cover a broad spectrum of research on the latest technological breakthroughs, trends, concepts, and discoveries in the marine industry. SNAME News is packed with Society news and information on national, section, and local levels as well as updates on committee activities, meetings, seminars, professional conferences, and employment opportunities.

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