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Innovation or Overreach? UH Research Casts blame on OceanGate's Submersible Design says: Low quality carbon fibre lead to the accident

University of Houston researchers have speculated new theory for why submersible imploded in the ocean

Photo of Titan submersible

A team at the University of Houston claims to have uncovered the cause of the tragic Titan submersible implosion that occurred in June 2023 during an expedition to the wreck of the Titanic.

The submersible, owned by OceanGate Expeditions, vanished while en route to the doomed ocean liner, sparking a desperate search for the five people on board.  The U.S. Coast Guard ultimately determined the vessel had imploded, with no chance of survival for those inside. Debris recovered from the ocean floor offered clues, but the reason for the implosion remained a mystery.

Latest findings about the case:-

New research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, utilizes computer simulations to suggest that the submersible's design and construction materials might have been critical factors in the disaster.

Unlike most spherical submersibles that distribute pressure evenly, the Titan boasted a cylindrical design to provide more passenger space. While a perfect cylinder can withstand immense pressure, imperfections can cause uneven distribution, leading to hull buckling.

Furthermore, the Titan's construction employed a combination of carbon fiber and titanium, a departure from the usual titanium or steel hulls. While strong, carbon fiber is more susceptible to wear and tear. Any weakness in this material could have triggered the implosion.

Carbon fibre surface

These findings align with theories proposed by experts following the disaster. OceanGate's innovative design, a deviation from standard deep-sea submersibles, had raised concerns.  Safety anxieties were voiced by previous passengers, those who declined expeditions, and even some of OceanGate's own engineers and diving specialists.

In the wake of the implosion, OceanGate halted all operations.

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