Materials Science and Engineering
Journal or Book Title
The Journal of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society
During World War II, 2710 Liberty ships were built in the United States across 18 ship yards. The rate of production of these ships was at a scale not previously witnessed, reflecting a strategic marshaling of national assets critical to the war effort. For the metallurgist, metallurgical engineer, or materials scientist, these ships also struck commanding images regarding their catastrophic failures. The study of these failures led to increased understanding of brittle fracture, fracture mechanics, and ductile-to-brittle transition temperatures. The post-mortem studies of Liberty ships highlighted the importance of composition and microstructure in controlling the properties of steel in fracture-critical applications. This study examines a rivet from the SS “John W. Brown”, which was assembled in Baltimore, Maryland, and launched in September 1942, The “John W. Brown” was restored between 1988 and 1991. Classical metallurgical analysis of a rivet from the original 1942 vessel is compared with modern rivets used during its restoration. The rivets provide an analogue to the plate material used in these ships. A comparison of these materials is presented along with a discussion of the importance of composition–microstructure–property relationships that concomitantly evolved.
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Harris, M. D.; Grogg, W. J.; Akoma, A.; Hayes, B. J.; Reidy, R. F.; Imhoff, E. F.; and Collins, Peter C., "Revisiting (some of) the Lasting Impacts of the Liberty Ships Via A Metallurgical Analysis of Rivets from the SS John W. Brown" (2015). Materials Science and Engineering Publications. 260.