how changes in temperature & strain rate can induce ductile to brittle transitions in metals & polymers?
- jareyn2002Lv 61 decade agoFavorite Answer
The effects of temperature on metal toughness can be critical in many applications. For instance,
it is hypothesized that the sinking of the Titanic ocean liner might have been averted if the steel
in the hull had had greater low-temperature ductility. Tests on hull samples from the Titanic
retrieved in recent years indicate that the steel had a high sulfur content, which caused it to
become brittle at temperatures as high as -1 deg C, which is substantially above the freezing
point of salt water. As a result, when the Titanic struck the iceberg, the steel in its hull
fractured rather than deformed, causing the fatal gash. If the metal had just buckled, it is
possible the ship would not have sunk. These properties were not well-understood or appreciated
until the 1940's.
As a matter of fact, this property has even co-starred in a 1951 movie with Jimmy Stewart and Marlene
Dietrich titled "No Highway in the Sky". It comes on TV periodically and is the story of a
metallurgist who learns that low-temperature induced metal fatigue is causing the mysterious
crashes of a new airliner. It is based on the book "No Highway" by Nevil Shute, published in