A Mössbauer Spectral Study of the Hull Steel and Rusticles Recovered from the Titanic


The recent recovery of steel from the Titanic has permitted a 295 K conversion electron Mössbauer spectral study of the Titanic hull plate steel oriented with the gamma-ray direction either perpendicular or parallel to the microstructural banding directions. The two spectra reveal virtually identical average orientations of the magnetization close to the plane of the plate. The hyperfine parameters are virtually identical to those of α-iron, a finding which agrees with the chemical analysis which reveals at most 0.21 wt% carbon corresponding to 3 wt% of cementite in pearlite. A 4.2 to 295 K transmission Mössbauer spectral study of the rusticles reveals small particles of geothite undergoing superparamagnetic relaxation with a blocking temperature of ca. 300 K. In addition approximately two percent of the Mössbauer spectral absorption area corresponds to a quadrupole doublet with hyperfine parameters typical of green rust. The identified iron containing components in the rusticles agree with the powder X-ray diffraction results which reveal the predominant presence of small particles of poorly crystallized goethite and traces of quartz and green rust. An average size of 20±5 nm for the goethite particles is obtained from both the average hyperfine field and the broadening of the X-ray diffraction peaks. The magnetic anisotropy constant of the goethite particles deduced from the hyperfine field and the particle size is 8×10 3 J/m 3.



Second Department

Materials Science and Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Carbon; Iron; Steel; Chemical Composition; Crystallization; Gamma Radiation; Magnetism; Mössbauer Spectroscopy; Particle Size; Ship; Temperature; X Ray Powder Diffraction; Corrosion; Goethite; Green Rust; Steel; Superparamagnetism

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Article - Journal

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© 2004 Springer Verlag, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Sep 2004