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RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on 15 April 1912 after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden from Southampton, UK to New York City, US. The RMS Titanic was the largest ship afloat at the time of her maiden voyage. She was the second of three Olympic class ocean liners operated by the White Star Line, and she was built by the Wolff shipyard in Belfast. On her maiden voyage, she carried 2,224 passengers and crew. After leaving Southampton on 10 April 1912, Titanic called at Cherbourg in France and Queenstown (now Cobh) in Ireland before heading westwards towards New York. 2] On 14 April 1912, four days into the crossing and about 375 miles (600 km) south of Newfoundland, she hit an iceberg at 11:40 pm ship’s time. The glancing collision caused Titanic’s hull plates to buckle inwards along her starboard side and opened five of her sixteen watertight compartments to the sea; the ship gradually filled with water and foundered around 2:20 AM. Cause : Design and material failure When the Titanic collided with the iceberg, the hull steel and the wrought iron rivets failed because of brittle fracture.

A type of catastrophic failure in structural materials, brittle fracture occurs without prior plastic deformation and at extremely high speeds. The causes of brittle fracture include low temperature, high impact loading, and high sulphur content. On the night of the Titanic disaster, each of these three factors was present: The water temperature was below freezing, the Titanic was travelling at a high speed on impact with the iceberg, and the hull steel contained high levels of sulphur. Along with the material failures, poor design of the watertight compartments in the Titanic’s lower section was a factor in the disaster.

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The lower section of the Titanic was divided into sixteen major watertight compartments that could easily be far part sealed off if part of the hull was punctured and leaking water. After the collision with the iceberg, the hull portion of six of these sixteen compartments was damaged, as shown in Figure 3. Sealing off the compartments was completed immediately after the damage was realized, but as the bow of the ship began to pitch forward from the weight of the water in that area of the ship, the water in some of the compartments began to spill over into adjacent compartments.

Although the compartments were called watertight, they were actually only watertight horizontally; their tops were open and the walls extended only a few feet above the waterline [Hill, 1996]. If the transverse bulkheads (the walls of the watertight compartments that are positioned across the width of the ship) had been a few feet taller, the water would have been better contained within the damaged compartments. Consequently, the sinking would have been slowed, possibly allowing enough time for nearby ships to help.

However, because of the extensive flooding of the bow compartments and the subsequent flooding of the entire ship, the Titanic was gradually pulled below the waterline. Ethical Issue: The ethical issue I would like to point here is the negligence on the part of the shipbuilders. Also, the inadequate knowledge of the manufacturing and design engineers who were involved in the building of the Titanic. The Titanic was the largest passenger ship build during its time with a capacity of about 2200 odd passengers.

It was the duty of the design team to ensure the safety measures and well being of the ship during its voyage. The very fact that for only 700 people survived out of the 2200 people on board shows the ignorance of the safety team to such an unfortunate event. Maybe if they had paid more attention to worst case scenarios and prepared well for emergencies and ensured they had enough resources more lives could have been saved. The engineers should have performed several tests to ensure the material strength and durability.

They should have considered the routes that the Titanic was going to be exposed to throughout its service time, keeping in mind different climatic conditions (temperature variations). Number of deaths: The sinking of Titanic caused the deaths of 1,502 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in modern history. Improvements: Ship Design and Safety Measures: The design and manufacturing engineers should have used a steel with a high yielding point and smaller grain size.

I would suggest to avoid such disasters the ship design should be such, that it can accommodate sufficient number of lifeboats and also should have a separate team of safety and testing engineers. The transverse head of the watertight compartments should be raised and a double bottom should be constructed on the ship using two layers of steel so that even if it hits an iceberg, the water will only enter between the inner and outer layer of the sidewalls. Use of wireless communication and increased number of lifeboats would have reduced the number of deaths due to the sinking.

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Kylie Garcia

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