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Posted: February 28th, 2022

Material and Manufacturing Analysis of Engineering Components for the Titanic

Material and Manufacturing Analysis of Engineering Components for the Titanic
Titanic Engineering Components: Material and Manufacturing Analysis of Engineering Components

Summary of the Exucutive Summary

1. Greetings and introductions

2. Materials used in the construction process:

2.1 The chemical composition of the substance

2.2 Ferrous metals are metals that are made of iron.

2.3 Metal-to-metal bonding

3 Different Crystal Structures

cubical with the body as the center of gravity

2.1 Allotropes are a type of allotrope.

2.2 Steel Microstructure (Microstructure of Steel)

3.4 Carbon steel’s internal structure

3.5 The process of solidification

3 oats (or grains)

4. Recurrence of events

5. Standardized forms and the material’s overall quality

6. A furnace with an open hearth

Rivets were used on the Titanic.

8.1 Plates for attaching to the hull

8.2 Rivets that were a contributing factor to the disaster

8.3 Steel hull frame construction is used for the hull frame construction.

8.4 The ship’s hull failed to perform as expected.

8.5. The composition of the group

9. The causes of the Titanic’s demise

Materials with high levels of safety

11. The use of heat treatment

11.1 The application of heat (steel)

11.2 Quenching of the flames

11.3 The process of normalization (before rolling plate)

11.4 Tempering the metal (after rolling plate)

11.5 The concept of thermal equilibrium

Materials testing is number eleven.

Non-destructive testing (NDT) is the 12th method.

12.1 Penetrant examination

12.2 Testing with magnetic particles

Destructive testing (number 13)

13.1 Impact Testing (also known as a ‘impact examination’)

13.2 Testing for Hardness

Tensile Testing (Chapter 13)

There are 14 results.

14.1 Evaluation of the results of the impact test

14.2 Evaluation of the hardness test

14.3 Analysis of the tensile test

15 Concluding Remarks

16 Evaluation of the results of nondestructive testing

16.1 The outcome of the casting

16.2 The consequences of forging

16.3 The outcome of welding

17. Concluding Remarks

Bibliography (number 19)

Summary of the Report

The overall goal of this report is to draw attention to the critical failures that contributed to the Titanic’s sinking. There are several concepts covered in this section, including material and manufacturing failures in components, which ultimately played a significant role in the disaster that unfolded during the year 1912. Among the methods I used to carry out the analysis were destructive and non-destructive testing on various material specimens to determine whether the materials we have today could have had an impact on the disaster back then, as well as an examination of previous manufacturing methods to determine if they were at fault in any way for the catastrophe. Materials and the manufacturing process were found to be partially at fault for the disaster, and it was determined that alternative materials and manufacturing methods should have been sought in order to limit the damage to the vessel at the time of the disaster. The report includes a series of conclusions that detail the alternative materials and methods that could have been used at the time of the report’s writing. As a result of this report’s recommendations, we should make changes to the way we source and select materials for specific applications, without disregarding the unintended consequences of our actions. Additionally, the shipbuilding industry should be aware of the mistakes that have occurred in the past and ensure that they do not occur again.

1. Greetings and introductions

The Titanic was one of the most illustrious and prestigious British passenger liners ever built. It was commissioned by the White Star Line and built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, which is still in operation today. On the 31st of March in the year 1909, the historic ship’s manufacturers began production. The Titanic was an iconic structure, as well as the fastest and most impressive ocean liner ever built during that period of time.

When the titanic’s construction was completed three years later, the “deluxe streamline machine” was ready to sail from Southampton to New York with a large number of civilians, ranging from stingy millionaires to heartbroken emigrants, all seeking a new life in the United States, on board.

While the voyage was taking its toll on the Titanic on the fifth day, the ship was making lightning-fast progress across the Atlantic Ocean to its destination. The captain of the ship changed course because he had previously heard previous ships’ commentary that ice would be in the path of the Titanic. All of these factors combined to create ice in the sea that was difficult to detect in the ocean on Sunday, February 14, 1912. Temperatures were severely destabilized, the sky was clear, and the sea was calm like a floating river on this night of Sunday, February 14, 1912.

At 11:40 p.m. on the same day, a lookout spotted a massive iceberg in the path of the barge and raised the alarm; however, the alarm was too late, as the iceberg slashed a series of holes in the side of the hull 40 seconds later; the titanic had six sections that were supposed to be water tight, but they were breached; five of the water tight areas were invaded within an hour; as a result, the ship began

2. The materials that were used in the construction

The following materials were used in the construction of the Titanic:

Mild steel plates with a thickness of one inch are used in thousands of construction projects.

Approximately three million rivets made of steel and wrought iron

The plates used in the streamline machine were made of low-grade steel to save on costs.

The hull of the Titanic was riveted three times; mild steel rivets, which were metal, and double rivets, which were wrought iron, were used on the central length of the barge, where they anticipated the greatest amount of tension to exist.

Table II shows the chemical composition of steels from the Titanic, a lock gate, and ASTM A36 steel, respectively.

P S Si Cu O N MnS: C Mn P S Si Cu O N MnS: Ratio

Titanic Hull Plate 0.21 0.47 0.045 0.069 0.017 0.024 0.013 0.0035 6.8:1 0.21 0.47 0.045 0.069 0.017 0.024 0.013 0.0035

Lock Gate* 0.25 0.52 0.01 0.03 0.02 — 0.018 0.0035 17.3:1 0.25 0.52 0.01 0.03 0.02

The ASTM A36 standard is comprised of the following parameters: 0.20 0.55 0.012 0.037 0.007 0.079 0.0032 14.9:1

A lock gate at the Chittenden ship lock, which connects Lake Washington and Puget Sound in Seattle, Washington, made of steel

The use of wrought iron rivets and mild steel rivets was ultimately one of the contributing factors to the Titanic disaster; instead, steel rivets could have been used, which are a ferrous metal with extremely high tensile strength, whereas iron rivets are not as strong.

Composition of steel (Titanic) shown in Table 1. (Felkins, 1998)

2.1 The chemical composition of the substance

Several studies have recently asserted that the hull of the Titanic had a low nitrogen content, indicating that the steel was not produced using the proper processes, which are typically used to produce steel; this process is known as the Bessemer process. They did, however, use the hearth furnace, which is similar to the one used to make steel and involves placing the steel on a shallow hearth and burning gases and hot air over it.

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQVL5DEp sNtCvGMF5s1dDF oz9tQ9dFKp09t-JxWzFaThl9F 0sQ

Figure 1: Steel samples from the Titanic that have undergone testing (Gannon, 1995)

Metals are a type of material that can be used in a variety of applications and have a wide range of properties. Because of its direct structure, metals have a variety of properties and are used for a variety of applications. Metals are typically characterized by a glossy surface, high strength, and excellent electrical and heat conductivity. Metals are also commonly malleable and easy to bend, which is advantageous in the manufacturing industry.

Metals that are ferrous

Metals that contain iron are known as ferrous metals; cast iron, stainless steel, and carbon steel are some examples of ferrous metals. These metals are typically high in density, malleable to shape, and do not corrode when exposed to air.

3 oats (or grains)

Grain is the term used to describe the growth of a crystal.

The grain structure of the metal has a significant impact on the properties of the metal.

Metals with a small grain structure will have greater strength, hardness, and impact resistance than those with a larger grain structure.


The grain structure is depicted in Figure 7.

As we all know materials have small grains concealed within their structure, I can infer from what I know that that the metals were manufactured to a poor quality which resulted in the grains in the material being bigger than normal, as from previous research metals with small grains will normally have a good strength, hardness and good resilience to impact, I can therefore assume the steel on the titanic didn’t have these properties, which may have contributed to this terrible event to take place.

4 Recurrence or regularity

Steel was used in the construction of the Titanic; however, steel does not appear in the periodic table because it is not an element, and the periodic table only contains elements. Steel is composed primarily of iron, which serves as a transition element.


Table 2 shows the periodic table.

These are the many properties of iron, which are stated below:

Iron is the first element in the eighth column of the periodic table. It is classified as a transition metal.

Iron which is known as pure is fairly soft, it is very reactive and will readily corrode or rust. It is malleable and a good conductor of electricity and heat.

From all the elements in the periodic table iron is the greatest naturally magnetic of the elements.

Iron becomes significantly tougher when alloyed with other elements such as carbon.

Iron can be found in four allotropic forms. The most stable form of iron at normal temperatures is alpha iron and is known as ferrite.

These are typical properties of a transitional element:

Transition elements will form colored compounds

Every transition element, we know on this earth, has a good conductivity of heat and electricity.

All transition elements can be beaten in to shape using a mallet and can be deformed into shape easily.

Transition elements are usually hard as well as tough

Higher densities are usually acquired by transition elements.

5 Standard forms and quality of the material

When the titanic was constructed the hull of the ship was formed by 2000 steel plates, which were held by 3 million rivets. The rivets of the titanic were made out made out of no 3 round bar, the rivets were manually made by casting into bar. The rivets and plates were used to hold the hull of the titanic together by reinforcing it by using a t-section. Please refer to figure 8




Figure 8 T-sections used to reinforce plate

The steel plates used on the titanic was inadequate as it was low- grade as well as being brittle which was incorporated in its properties as solid state. The steel was manufactured by using open hearth furnace, the hearth process was used for the bulk of the cheaper grades of steel. This process affected the quality of the plates used on the titanic and the toughness and other properties of the steel which was like they were unknown, when this tragic disaster took place.

8.2 Rivets which contributed to the disaster

In the first picture shown, the rivets were used to seal the plate’s hull together, which therefore hammered the end on exterior.

In the second picture, the pressure which was from the iceberg may have caused some of the rivets to come open, which therefore caused the seams to open, when this collision happened.

In the third picture, the steel could and rivets couldn’t take the any more pressure from the iceberg. This caused the water to torrent in.

Figure 9 Diagram of how the rivets were fastened

8.3 Steel frame of the hull construction

During that period of time it was a well-known practise, that warship production and most trader ship construction to construct an inner skin, which had the exact distance away from the outer skin, which was along the bottom of the titanic and it was from the keel all the way to bilge, which means it was covering huge areas of the hull.

The keel aimed at the titanic was placed upon blocks of keel, the vertical kneel plate were placed, then the double bottom. Well over 500,000 rivets were used to secure the double bottom. After using the keel blocks rib framing began, whilst this was under way, the stern frame and the deck beams were riveted in to place, this was done so the rib framing could be produced into a strong structure. It took just under a year for the framing to be done. After this the steel plates were formed which was then known as the hulls skin, these plates were then riveted to the frame manually as well using heart-piercing hydraulic machinery. The rivets which were made out of iron and steel were done hydraulically and the wrought iron rivets were done by hand. The places where double tension on the hull may have been presumed, this was double then plated.

8.4 The failure of the Hull of ship

At the time, of the titanic ship colliding with the iceberg, the wrought iron rivets failed because of a brittle fracture which occurred in the hull of the ship.

The brittle fracture occurred because of freezing conditions, below sub-zero, and really bad sulphur content, which made the metal more brittle. From recent studies, “it’s been verified that the steel used for the titanic had low levels of manganese, which also caused the brittleness of the material, steel with higher amounts of manganese is more ductile, meaning the chances of it breaking were slim. End of the day the water was cold, the titanic was travelling at really blistering speeds and the hull steel contains large fragments of sulphur”. (Bassett, 1998)

Impact test were carried out, to see how brittle the material used was the wrought iron was found to be very brittle compared to the steel sample. Please refer to figure 1

Before the titanic crashed in to the huge bulk of ice, the rivets would normally have deformed before the failing this was because of their ductility, however the temperature of the water was cold, so therefore the rivets have become exceedingly brittle.

When the titanic was hit the gigantic mountain of ice, a brittle fracture occurred which meant holes were created, unleashing tonnes of water to torrent in. There were three major safety reasons relating back to material flaws which were incorporated in the material. This brittle fracture occurred due to the freezing waters the titanic was situated in, the speed the vessel was travelling at and the sulphur in the ships material. Researchers have been analysing the samples of ship’s hull and found some interesting findings. The hull sample had sharp wrecked edges so they determined it crushed upon impact, meaning that it did not bend or deform like the inferiority and ductility, which the steel normally has, which means it could have stopped the holes for occurring. Additional flaws have been found in the safety of the rivets which were connected to the plates of the hull. The impact to the vessel resulted in the rivets being scraped off from the side of the hull by the huge ice burg. The rivets used on the titanic should have been stronger this would have increased safety to passengers and reduced causalities.

11 Heat treatement

11.1 Heat treatment (steel)

The steel on the titanic will have been heat treated; this would have created a mass diversity within their micro- structures and properties. When heat treatment is used it uses a phase transformation, during heating and cooling the micro- structure, so it changes in to a solid state.

This diagram is about iron and carbon- diagram established on heat treatment.

Figure 11 Cast-iron diagram

When we were being talking about ferrous and non- ferrous alloys, thermal equilibrium diagrams are good because they show the changes of what happens in an alloy. Engineers which often study materials, have a look at these diagrams, which results in them realising the typical changes on how the liquid occurs into a solid and this a type of information know as thermal information.

Engineers also observe how two alloys perform on the solidification process, and how they associate with each other, when referring back to the titanic, the hull steel of the titanic it was a mixture of an alloy, which contained carbon and iron.

12 Non-destructive testing

Non- destructive testing is when a series of tests are carried out for a certain material. This is done so we are able to determine if there are any defects in the material without it needing to be destroyed.

12.1 Penetrant test

I carried out a number of tests to prove the sustainability of a range of materials for their intended purpose.

The first test I did is called dye penetrant testing; I did this process on a mechanical component called a casting, weld and finally a forge which is made out of metal. Doing this test will help me to see if there any defects on each one of the individual components, which normally can’t be seen by the naked eye.

This test is done to identify cracks and surface defects, by checking for these impurities in the component as it helps us to see if the component is fit for use, as in industry any component which is not up to standard will be scraped, as this can affect the production line further on.

These are steps below that we did on the dye penetrant casting:

First, I got some solvent and started to clean the work piece, this is done thoroughly and all-round the piece, the purpose of doing this is to make sure the dirt and dust on the cast doesn’t affect my results.

The second step is to take a visual inspection of the piece to see if you can see any defects to the piece.

Apply the die, make sure you are about 30cm away from the work piece you are spraying it to, as adding to much won’t make difference, make sure the whole cast is covered and the sides. Let it dry for 4-8 mints.

Now use a dry wipe to remove the die, this process can take about 3-5 minutes to clean the cat depending on size.

Next, use a solvent wipe to remove excess which the dry wipe failed to do, with the dry wipe you couldn’t take all the dye off the cast, that’s the reason why we use a solvent wipe again, this to make sure the dye is totally off.

After doing the previous step, I added the developer, the purpose of adding this is to make any of the defects to the material visible.

Check for any impurities and surface defects in the cast and record them down below, after doing this make sure you clean the cast with the solvent cleaner.

Penetrant Testing

Figure 12 Processes of dye penetrant application

13 Destructive testing

At Sheffield Hallam University, we did a series of destructive testing; the descriptions of the tests are visible below:

13.1 Impact Testing

In this experiment, we use different metals and put a little cut in them so that impact testing machine has a starting point. We test all 4 (50 mm long) metals: low carbon steel, pure zinc, brass and aluminum alloyed at 5 different temperatures: -78, freezing point, room temperature, 50C and boiling point. One by one we put the metals inside the impact testing machine and line the metal there the cut is with the (2 mm) notch and close the grad and press start, the hammer comes from 150C angle with energy of 50J.

13.2 Hardness Testing

In this experiment, we polish the 4 metals and place them in the machine and press start and the machine makes the diamond shape on the metal and then we us the machine to measure the diamond from both side and write the results in my book.

13.3 Tensile Testing

In this experiment, we measure the elongation and the radiation then we place the metals inside the machine and reset all the reference values to 0 and press start and when the metal breaks take it out and measure the elongation and radiation and note it down in your book.


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