Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Titanic wasn’t all right when it left here, says rivetting analysis

The "unsinkable" four-funnelled ship the SS Titanic. Part of the White Star Line, Titanic sank off Newfoundland on her maiden voyage to the USA after striking an iceberg (14-15/4/1912). Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland. Collection Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The Titanic Ship 401 left Belfast on the 2nd April 100 years ago and to mark this centenary The Titanic Foundation with Titanic Belfast launched 401 balloons into the air with the help of pupils from Victoria College, RBAI and Methody.
Colin Cobb's Titanic Walking Tours. The Thompson graving dock and pump house where the Titanic's hull inspection and propeller work was done

Poor workmanship was a major factor in the Titanic disaster, a scientist has claimed.

Rivets holding the hull together were sub-standard, he says, meaning the section of ship which hit the iceberg was weak.

The weak rivets led to the bursting of sealed compartments which were meant to keep the vessel afloat, according to a review of evidence published by Physics World.

Concerns about its manufacture were rejected by people in Belfast with the famous line: “She was all right when she left here.”

But an analysis by Dr Richard Corfield raises new questions about the vessel’s seaworthiness.

Dr Corfield highlights the work of two metallurgists, Tim Foecke and Jennifer Hooper McCarty, who combined their analysis with historical records from the Belfast shipyard where the Titanic was built. They found that rivets which held the ship’s hull together were not uniform in composition or quality and had not been inserted in a uniform fashion.

This effectively meant the region of the Titanic’s hull that hit the iceberg was substantially weaker than the main body of the ship — with poorer-quality materials possibly used as a cost-cutting exercise.

It also appears the climate thousands of miles away from where the ship actually sunk may have had a hand in events.

At times when the weather is warmer than usual in the Caribbean — as it was in 1912 — the Gulf Stream intersects with the glacier-carrying Labrador Current in the North Atlantic in such a way that icebergs are aligned to form a barrier of ice. “No one thing sent the Titanic to the bottom of the North Atlantic.

Rather, the ship was ensnared by a perfect storm of circumstances that conspired her to doom,” states Dr Corfield.

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