'Titanic could have sunk due to faulty rivets'

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New York, Apr 15 (UNI) The passionate love of Jack and Rose could not find its path as the magnanimous Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg 96 years ago , but now scientists claim that the Ship's doom was also due to the use of low quality and faulty rivets.

Each of the great ships under construction required three million rivets that acted like glue to hold everything together.

US researchers have discovered that the builder of the Titanic struggled for years to obtain enough good rivets and riveters and ultimately settled on faulty materials that doomed the ship.

The builder's own archives, scientists say, harbour evidence of a deadly mix of low quality rivets and lofty ambition as the builder laboured to construct the three biggest ships in the world at once-- the Titanic and two sisters-- the Olympic and the Britannic, a report in the New York Times says.

For a decade, the scientists have argued that the storied liner went down fast after hitting an iceberg because the ship's builder used substandard rivets that popped their heads and let tonness of icy seawater rush in. More than 1,500 people died.

When the safety of the rivets was first questioned 10 years ago, the builder ignored the accusation and said it did not have an archivist who could address the issue.

Now, historians say new evidence uncovered in the archive of the builder, Harland and Wolff, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, settles the argument and finally solves the riddle of one of the most famous sinkings of all time. The company says the findings are deeply flawed.

''The board was in crisis mode, It was constant stress. Every meeting it was, 'There's problems with the rivets and we need to hire more people,'' said Jennifer Hooper McCarty, whose doctoral thesis at Johns Hopkins University analysed the Titanic's rivets.

The company also faced shortages of skilled riveters, the archives showed. Dr McCarty said, for a half year, from late 1911 to April 1912, when the Titanic set sail, the company's board discussed the problem at every meeting.

Steel beckoned as a solution. Shipbuilders of the day were moving from iron to steel rivets, which were stronger. And machines could install them, improving workmanship.

The scientists discovered that Harland and Wolff also used steel rivets, but only on the Titanic's central hull, where stresses were expected to be greatest. Iron rivets were chosen for the stern and bow.

And the bow, as fate would have it, is where the iceberg struck.

Studies of the wreck show that six seams opened up in the ship's bow plates. And the damage, Dr Foecke noted, ''ends close to where the rivets transition from iron to steel.'' On her inaugural voyage, on the night of April 14, 1912, the ship hit the iceberg around 2340 hrs and sank in a little more than two and a half hours. Most everyone assumed the iceberg had torn a huge gash in the starboard hull.


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