Sealant between hull plates


Feb 26, 2006
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Forgive me if this has been discussed before, but I was unable to find the information in another thread.

The hull plates were fastened to the structure with rivets, correct? What kind of sealant was placed between the individual plates of the hull to maintain watertight integrity?
 
S

Scott R. Andrews

Guest
Steven,

The answer is "none". The plates were "caulked" to one another; in steel and iron ship construction, "caulking" is a process of upsetting the material of the site edges of the plates, causing the faying edge of one plate to lay up hard against the face of the plate it overlaps. The rivets holding the plates did a fairly substantial job on their own of making the joint watertight because, as they cooled, they drew the joined surfaces tightly together.

Regards,
Scott Andrews
 
S

Scott R. Andrews

Guest
Steven,

This was typical of all riveted iron and steel ship construction as practiced all over the world, and not specific to any one ship. At this time, there is no reference work specific to the Olympic-class ships that outlines the process, but it is well-recorded in the numerous period books on the subject. Unfortunately, all of the books that deal with these practices are many decades out of print. In my opinion, the best work on the subject is a two volume set titled "Practical Shipbuilding" by A. Campbell Holms, published by Longmans, Green & Co., London. There's an outside chance you can find a copy of this in the reference holdings of a large library near you, though the library of a college or university with a course of study in marine engineering or naval architecture would be more likely to possess such a thing. If you are really interested in the details and don't mind spending a bunch of cash, you can still find copies on used and rare book sites like Alibris or Bookfinder. The first edition came out in 1904, but if you intend to get a set, I would suggest going for at least the 1916 third edition, or one of the later impressions of this third edition (June, 1917; Feb. 1918; or Oct. 1918).

If you decide to obtain a copy of this work, there is one word of caution I can offer to you. Be careful that the two volumes match, as the first volume is all text, while the second is an oversized book that contains all of the illustrations. Often, these sets were broken up, so a bookseller may have only one volume or the other, or sometimes they have two volumes, but from different editions. You may have to purchase copies from two different sellers to put together a complete set. The thing to keep in mind here is that with volumes from two different editions, the text in volume one may refer you to a figure which might not exist in another edition of volume two, or you may find you have a figure in volume two with no accompanying explanation in volume one.

Regards,
Scott Andrews
 

david wilson

Member
Feb 17, 2004
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Steven Rockwell,type"riveting & caulking steel vessels"in the google search box.This will take you to a shipyard on the great lakes where all will be explained in great detail.
regards.
seven degrees west.
dw.
 

Bill Balla

Member
Apr 6, 2009
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Looking at the diagrams on how edges of the riveted hull plates were sealed, I can't help but wonder if when a hull of this type were struck, if these water tight joints were vulnerable to leaking.

Is it possible that when the Titanic hit the burg that some of the water entering the hull could have been the result of these joints loosing their watertight integrity ?
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>Is it possible that when the Titanic hit the burg that some of the water entering the hull could have been the result of these joints loosing their watertight integrity ?<<

Can't really be ruled out. Take 52,000 long tons of mass and run into anything at 22 to 23 knots and you will have sheered rivets, split plates, sprung seams and buckled steel.
 
Dec 14, 2014
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Looking at the diagrams on how edges of the riveted hull plates were sealed, I can't help but wonder if when a hull of this type were struck, if these water tight joints were vulnerable to leaking.

Is it possible that when the Titanic hit the burg that some of the water entering the hull could have been the result of these joints loosing their watertight integrity ?
Even today's welded Ice breakers don't take on "OLD ICE" the type normally found in large glacier Iceburgs, the Iceburg Titanic hit would likely have been the size of a small island, popped rivets, bent hull plates and ribs would have been very likely. It may have even ran aground on the underlying ice of the burg. Without having a view of the damaged area we will never know, what we do know is the damage went back far enough to start to flood the foremost boiler compartment the 5th compartment.
 

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