America's Largest Maritime Disaster

Course Number: ET-2029
Credit: 2 PDH
Subject Matter Expert: James S. Bluma, P.E.
Price: $59.90 Purchase using Reward Tokens. Details
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Overview

In America’s Largest Maritime Disaster, you'll learn ...

  • What caused the largest maritime disaster in American history
  • Lack of knowledge and false assumptions at the time of the disaster that increased the hazards associated with boiler operation
  • Why boiler maintenance procedures on the Sultana were ineffective
  • Poor decisions, corruption and unethical behavior that contributed to the large loss of life in the disaster

Overview

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Credit: 2 PDH

Length: 17 pages

Within days of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, a series of events would take place that caused the boarding onto a Mississippi river steam boat of over six times the legal capacity of persons on the vessel. The overloaded ship, The Sultana, was a large side wheel river steamer that had been built and launched just over two years earlier. The Sultana was one of only a few Mississippi river steam boats built and operating with a new, more efficient boiler type.

This course will present the background and basis of this new type river boat boiler and the design oversights in this new river boat’s application of it. The inadequate engineering considerations of the boilers installed in the Sultana for the conditions under which they would be operated are what caused the catastrophic failure.

The magnitude of the disaster in terms of lives lost (1,700) when the boilers exploded and the ship burned, was the result of decisions made by several individuals and also resulted from the corruption and unethical behavior by officials responsible for ensuring the public safety.

 

Specific Knowledge or Skill Obtained

This course teaches the following specific knowledge and skills:

  • Theories regarding the cause of the boiler explosion that were prevalent at the time but have since been shown to be incorrect
  • The actual cause of the explosion based on modern knowledge of boilers and materials
  • Properties of the material used in the Sultana boilers and the incompatibility of this material with the operating conditions of the vessel
  • Boiler maintenance procedures that were in place at the time and are still used successfully today but were completely ineffective on Sultana and why
  • Critical knowledge of thermodynamics, boiler physics and operation that were absent at the time and the false assumptions that increased the hazards associated with boiler operation
  • How the introduction of a new technology into an existing infrastructure without adequate consideration of existing operational conditions can have catastrophic results
  • Why the fear and suspicion of corruption and bribery of officials caused the decision by other officials to overload the Sultana

Certificate of Completion

You will be able to immediately print a certificate of completion after passing a multiple-choice quiz consisting of 15 questions. PDH credits are not awarded until the course is completed and quiz is passed.

Board Acceptance
This course is applicable to professional engineers in:
Alabama (P.E.) Alaska (P.E.) Arkansas (P.E.)
Delaware (P.E.) Florida (P.E. Other Topics) Georgia (P.E.)
Idaho (P.E.) Illinois (P.E.) Illinois (S.E.)
Indiana (P.E.) Iowa (P.E.) Kansas (P.E.)
Kentucky (P.E.) Louisiana (P.E.) Maine (P.E.)
Maryland (P.E.) Michigan (P.E.) Minnesota (P.E.)
Mississippi (P.E.) Missouri (P.E.) Montana (P.E.)
Nebraska (P.E.) Nevada (P.E.) New Hampshire (P.E.)
New Jersey (P.E.) New Mexico (P.E.) New York (P.E.)
North Carolina (P.E.) North Dakota (P.E.) Ohio (P.E. Self-Paced)
Oklahoma (P.E.) Oregon (P.E.) Pennsylvania (P.E.)
South Carolina (P.E.) South Dakota (P.E.) Tennessee (P.E.)
Texas (P.E.) Utah (P.E.) Vermont (P.E.)
Virginia (P.E.) West Virginia (P.E.) Wisconsin (P.E.)
Wyoming (P.E.)
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PDHengineer Course Preview

Preview a portion of this course before purchasing it.

Credit: 2 PDH

Length: 17 pages

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