Shock Vibration and Structural Trauma of a Torpedoed Ship

M. G. Wood*, D. I. Smith, M. R. Hayns

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


On an afternoon in May of 1915, whilst sailing to Liverpool from New York, the Cunard Liner Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-boat and she sank costing the lives of nearly 1200 passengers and crew. Eye-witness accounts of the events surrounding that tragedy include reports of shock-impact, explosive-excitation, motion-induced vibration, and consequent structural trauma. Those phenomena were the signatures of compounding effects that ultimately accelerated the demise of the ship. The consequencies of those effects, and also the associated failure of the shipboard safety systems, are discussed in the light of the speed at which the liner sank.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-302
Number of pages8
JournalMaterials Science Forum
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2003


  • Sinking
  • Steamship
  • Structural Failure
  • U-Boat
  • Vibration
  • WW1


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