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Updated: Nov. 24th, 2007

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The Shipbuilder / Author’s collection

A view looking aft along Olympic’s hull, with the frames of Titanic to the left. Here, the plating has been nearly completed to the Bridge Deck (B) level, while temporary wooden staging has been erected preparatory to commencing the framework of the Promenade Deck (A). The Shipbuilder / Author’s collection

Engineering / Author’s collection

Pneumatic Porthole-Cutting Tool - A pneumatic porthole-cutting tool in use during construction of the Aquitania. Engineering / Author’s collection

400-01 Shell Plating Plan. Illustration by Bruce Beveridge based on the original H&W Shell Plating Plan.

   Nomenclature - The method of plating the hull of Titanic consisted of a combination of two well-known practices. The bottom shell plates from the keel up to the turn of the bilge were fastened in the “clinker” method, sometimes referred to as the “clincher” method. In this type of construction, the inboard edge of each strake rested upon the outboard edge of the preceding strake. The shell plates above the turn of the bilge were fastened in the “in-and-out,” or “sunken-and-raised,” system. In this method, the inner plates rested against the frame while the outer plates lapped over the inner plates. In both systems, the individual plates were arranged in horizontal rows called “strakes.”

   For convenience, the strakes and plates of all ships are identified with some system of letters and numbers. On Titanic, the strakes were assigned letters and the individual plates within these strakes were numbered. The first strake was actually the keel plate, identified as the “A” strake. This strake was 52 inches wide
. . . . (continued)


Image above, 400-01 Shell Plating Plan - A portion of the starboard profile shell plating plan for Olympic and Titanic. This drawing shows both ships “as launched,” hence the configuration of the B Deck windows. The amidships area of the profile view is where some of the more generalized notes are located, such as the size of sidelights and the heights of bulwarks, etc. The letters which identify the strakes are called out here, too, and also at the -length amidships markers towards either end of the profile.
Illustration by Bruce Beveridge based on the original H&W Shell Plating Plan.


   Size and thickness of plates - The shell plating below the load line in the vicinity of the stern frame and shaft brackets was of greater thickness than the surrounding plates immediately above and just forward of this area, and made of the same heavy 1-inch plating used amidships. The additional thickness of the plates added greatly to the overall strength of the shaft bosses and brackets, structures which were often subjected to severe vibration as the propellers were lifted above the surface and then submerged as the ship drove through heavy seas. Due to the often-complex compound curves of the boss plates and the shell plating around the propeller aperture, these plates had to be furnaced and hammered in order to be brought to their required shape; these plates were then annealed before being fixed in position.

   The shell plating at the fore end of the hull, commencing about 20 to 30 feet before the stem, was often made thicker than the surrounding plating to enable the vessel to more effectively resist “panting” action and to minimize the tendency in lightly-built vessels to “fall hollow” between the frames owing to the pressure upon the bow when driving ahead. The increased thickness also allowed for navigation through the 4 to 6 inches of ice which commonly choked northeastern American and eastern Canadian ports in the dead of winter
. . . . (continued)


   Bilge keels - Bilge keels were fitted for about 295 feet of the vessel’s length amidships to minimize rolling in a seaway. Bilge keels are projecting fins attached to the outside shell plating along the turn of the bilge, the resistance of which, as they oscillate with the rolling movements of the vessel, reduce the rolling motion of the vessel. The bilge keels were placed to give the least possible resistance to propulsion and were kept as clear as possible from shell landings, tank-side riveting, etc. They were formed from steel plates measuring 12/20 inch thick and 25 inches deep. These plates were attached to the hull by double angles, and were strengthened by doublers and straps where the end connections were made. . . . (continued)


Other topics in this chapter:
Liners - Preparation of plates - Shell openings and doors - Plus specifications (thickness) for all individual strakes of plating

Copyright 2007 Beveridge, Hall, Andrews, Klistorner and Braunschweiger.

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