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Poor quality rivets sank Titanic

United Kingdom,Science/Tech, Mon, 02 Apr 2012 IANS

London, April 2 (IANS) Poor quality of rivets holding the Titanic's hull together may have come loose after colliding with an iceberg, sinking the ship a century ago, a study says.


The weather too may have been responsible for the presence of the iceberg, said science writer Richard Corfield, who took a fresh look at the events culminating in the tragedy.


Corfield highlighted the work of two metallurgists, Tim Foecke and Jennifer Hooper McCarty.


They combined their own analysis with historical records from the shipyard in Belfast where the Titanic was built, the journal Physics World reported.


They found that the rivets that held the ship's hull together were not uniform in composition or quality and not been inserted in a uniform fashion, according to a statement from the Physics World.


This meant that, in practice, the region of the Titanic's hull that hit the iceberg was substantially weaker than the main body of the ship - Foecke and McCarty speculate that the poorer-quality materials were used as a cost-cutting exercise.


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


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 1912, the Caribbean experienced an unusually hot summer. So the Gulf Stream was particularly intense.


The Titanic hit the iceberg right at the intersection of the Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current.


"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," writes Corfield.


On Sunday April 14, 1912, at 11.40 p.m., the Titanic, bound from Southampton to New York, struck an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland and sank in the Atlantic.


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