Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Testing Shows Titanic Steel Was Brittle

Date:
December 27, 1997
Source:
University Of Missouri-Rolla
Summary:
Recent tests of steel from the Titanic reveal that the metal was much more brittle than modern steel but the best available at the time, a metallurgical engineering professor says in a new article.l

Recent tests of steel from the Titanic reveal that the metal was much more brittle than modern steel but the best available at the time, a metallurgical engineering professor at the University of Missouri-Rolla says in a paper to be published in the January 1998 issue of Journal of Metals.

The steel used to build the Titanic was not as "impact-resistant" as modern steel, according to Dr. H.P. Leighly, a professor emeritus of metallurgical engineering at UMR. But it was the best steel available at the time, says Leighly, who studied some 200 pounds of steel from the wreckage.

Leighly's paper, co-authored by UMR metallurgical engineering student Katie Felkins, will appear in the January 1998 issue of Journal of Metals, the publication of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers.

Inferior steel wasn't the only reason the luxury ocean liner Titanic sank in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912. Other factors -- such as flaws in the ship's design, the crew's negligence and the lack of lifeboats -- also contributed to the disaster, Leighly says.

"The naval architects can point their fingers and say, 'It was bad steel'" that caused the Titanic to sink, Leighly says. "It's easy to point a finger and say, 'Bad steel.' But it's uncomfortable to point at yourself and say, 'Bad design.'"

More than 1,500 of the liner's 2,227 passengers died after the Titanic struck an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean, some 350 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The ship struck the iceberg at 11:40 p.m. April 14 and sank at 2:20 a.m. April 15.

In 1996 and early 1997, Leighly, Felkins and one other undergraduate student tested steel from the ship's hull and bulkhead in an attempt to figure out why the steel-hulled ship cracked. The UMR analysis is the second -- and most comprehensive -- ever conducted on steel from the Titanic. The only other test was conducted by the Canadian government and involved a Frisbee- sized piece of steel, in which researchers concluded that the ship's hull fractured when it met the iceberg.

At UMR, chemical and stress tests of metal samples from the Titanic's hull and bulkhead show that the steel used to build the ship was very inferior to modern steel. Impact tests conducted by Felkins show that the steel from the Titanic was about 10 times more brittle than modern steel when tested at freezing temperature -- the estimated temperature of the water at the time the Titanic struck the iceberg.

Tests of the steel's chemical composition also showed a high content of sulfur, oxygen and phosphorus. High levels of those elements cause steel to be more brittle, Leighly says.

The chemical analysis also revealed a low level of manganese -- another symptom of brittle steel. Steel with a higher level of manganese is more ductile and less likely to break.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Missouri-Rolla. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Missouri-Rolla. "Testing Shows Titanic Steel Was Brittle." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 December 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/12/971227000141.htm>.
University Of Missouri-Rolla. (1997, December 27). Testing Shows Titanic Steel Was Brittle. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/12/971227000141.htm
University Of Missouri-Rolla. "Testing Shows Titanic Steel Was Brittle." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/12/971227000141.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

AP (Apr. 23, 2014) Speaking about the future of the United States Air Force, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh says the choice to divest the A-10 fleet was logical and least impactful. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jets Fuel Jump in Boeing's Revenue

Jets Fuel Jump in Boeing's Revenue

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 23, 2014) A sharp rise in revenue for commercial jets offset a decline in Boeing's defense business. And a big increase in deliveries lifted profitability. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins