"Learn From My Fail"

The highly esteemed and world-renowned British ship, The Titanic, set out for voyage in 1912. At the time, Titanic was the largest ship ever built (made by the company White Star Line) and was boasted "practically unsinkable." The many mistakes made by the company owning the ship, engineers, and crew, all contributed to occurrence of the unthinkable: the sinking of the Titanic.

What events led up to the disaster?

Despite it's alleged "indestructible" nature, there were several occurrences leading up to disaster that ultimately caused it.

~There were three sections of the ship; the top section contained the most luxurious accommodations. The bottom section of the ship, however, was an over-crowded, window-less area with rooms the size of closets. These poor, mostly immigrant passengers were not taught the required life-boat drill. These passengers were all but forgotten in the mass confusion of the disaster.

~On April 12, 1912, the captain and crew received several warnings of ice in the area. Titanic disregarded those warnings and continued ahead. When the ship hit the iceberg, most passengers were completely unaware that anything had happened. Distress signals were sent, but the closest ship was 58 miles away.

~At 12:25AM, there were orders given to get women and children into the lifeboats. Despite it's occupancy capacity of 65 people, only 19 people were loaded into the boat. There were only 16 lifeboats and 4 emergency rafts, enough for only about half the passengers. This means that 1,178 passengers could have escaped in the life boats. Only 711 people were saved in these boats, suggesting 467 frivolously lost their lives.


Facts and Figures

Escaped safely: 711

Fatalities: approximately 1500

Injuries: Unknown

Money lost: 7.5 million to build the Titanic, in addition to food, jewels, clothes, appliances, etc lost in the sinking. Insurance claims occurring after the Disaster are estimated to be around 12 million dollars.


What was to blame/ Physics behind the failure

~The cruise line, captain, and crew all had several opportunities to avoid or lessen the severity of the Titanic disaster. The cruise line should have ensured their ship was built correctly with proper number of life boats. The captain and crew should have stopped when they saw the iceberg, instead of sailing on with no decrease in speed. The crew should have filled the lifeboats to full capacity.

~Investigation found that the rivets that held the ship’s hull together were not uniform in composition or quality and not been placed in a uniform fashion. This made the hull significantly less sturdy than the rest of the ship.

~The summer of 1912 was particularly warm, and at times when the weather is warmer than usual in the Caribbean, 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.

~In 1933, engineers argued that the steel plates of the ship were too weak for the size of the ship. Low-grade steel is subject to breaking rather than bending when confronted with freezing temperatures and collision. This is known as metal fatigue. Fatigue occurs when a material is subjected to repeated loading and unloading. If the loads are above a certain threshold, microscopic cracks will begin to form at the stress concentrators such as the surface, persistent slip bands, and grain interfaces. Eventually a crack will reach a critical size, the crack will propagate suddenly, and the structure will fracture. The shape of the structure will significantly affect the fatigue life; square holes or sharp corners will lead to elevated local stresses where fatigue cracks can initiate. Round holes and smooth transitions will therefore increase the fatigue strength of the structure. If better steel had been used, the ship may have withstood the collision, or at the least-- sunk more slowly.


New Regulations, Designs, Policies etc

After the Titanic disaster, every ship would be required to have enough lifeboat space for each passenger on board. It is now required for all passengers to perform lifeboat drills prior to the voyage. Ships also are required to keep a 24 hour radio watch. Another direct result of the disaster was the formation of the International Ice Patrol, whose members are to scout icebergs (via aircraft radar) and warn ships of icebergs in the North Atlantic. Not only was this committee formed, but shipping lanes were moved further South, away from any potential icebergs.

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