Analysis of Richmond Shipyard No. 3 HAER # CA-326, Chapter five, Section B

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April 23, 2016








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This stress can prove damaging after construction, as in the case of the SS Schenectady, which suddenly fractured transversely while moored in the still waters of the Willamette River on 16 January 1943. Official investigations found that, while some of the steel used in the construction did not meet standards, most of the steel that failed did, and "The principal cause [of the failure of the hull] was an accumulation of an abnormal amount of internal stress locked into the structure by the process of construction...
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the proper welding sequence had not been followed in construction, causing the residual stresses to accumulate rather than dissipate as planned. These residual stresses, combined with a small number of poorly welded joints and a few design detail flaws (such as ?notching', where sharp corners are introduced into the structure, such as in a hatch opening with square corners) caused the sudden catastrophic failure of the Schenectady, strongly emphasizing the requirement to follow proper procedures, including weld inspections and other quality control practices, at all times...
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