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The QE2's Story (in-service) => Design, Concept & Build => QE2 Build => Topic started by: Andrew Collier on Jun 08, 2009, 07:54 AM

Title: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: Andrew Collier on Jun 08, 2009, 07:54 AM
Hi Everybody,

Heres a random one for the more technical minded! As we all know, the superstructure of QE2 is made of welded aluminium, and the hull of welded steel.

At the point where the two meet was a transition joint required to stop the two metals reacting with each other, this join was visible if you looked closely all the way down the side of the ship, does anyone have any really good close up photos that show that joint, and/or any other details about exactly how the two sections were joined, I have recently been reading about how the same job was carried out on the SS Oriana, very interesting, and now inspired to see how it was tackled on QE2!

Cheers  8)

Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: Rob Lightbody on Jun 08, 2009, 09:22 AM
This is covered in detail in Bruce Peter's recent book.  I think its also in the original Potter book and might also be on the VADS design website.

I'm curious to know - Norway had an aluminium top too didn't she?  Did she suffer from it ageing the way QE2 did?  Or did she have expansion joints making it matter less?
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: Andrew Collier on Jun 08, 2009, 09:48 AM
Agh THAT book!

I can see i'm gonna have to get a copy soon somehow!

I expect SS France/Norway would have had expansion gaps, but not sure, will have to look into it sometime....
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: Rob Lightbody on Jun 08, 2009, 09:49 AM
Agh THAT book!

I can see i'm gonna have to get a copy soon somehow!

Its showing up at £16.34 at the bottom of your screen just now, QE2 Story shop is calling you !
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: Andrew Collier on Jun 08, 2009, 10:06 AM
After payday, only a week to wait!!
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: Bob C. on Aug 07, 2009, 11:02 PM
This webppage that I just found (http://www.glesga.ukpals.com/transport/qe2.htm (http://www.glesga.ukpals.com/transport/qe2.htm)) has what I think is a good picture of the top of the steel 1 Deck before the aluminum Quarter Deck was installed.  

Look at the 4th picture from the top (first black and white picture) which shows a group of steel workers with a shipyard foreman.  To the left of the group you will see two rows of rivet holes that the aluminum superstructure will be connected to.  Here is a look at the joint in one of Isabelle's photos (https://www.flickr.com/photos/prondis_in_kenya/3412503870/ (https://www.flickr.com/photos/prondis_in_kenya/3412503870/)).
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: Andrew Collier on Aug 08, 2009, 05:25 PM
Thats good research Bob, there must be some sort of joining compound between the two metals in the middle of that joint to keep them apart, on SS Oriana (Orient Line 1960) a double row of rivits was used just like we see here on QE2 and some form of epoxy resin in the middle of the joint, finished off with a 'wedge' of Araldite on top of the steel on the outside, and under the aluminium inside to seal the whole joint, looks from these photos that QE2 might have been the same, still need to get that book Rob mentions to check though.... Cheers!
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: Isabelle Prondzynski on Aug 08, 2009, 05:41 PM
There's a good close-up here, from Carmen's Year :

https://www.flickr.com/photos/loumax/2925093634/

Ronald Warwick's book (1993 edition) devotes pages 52 to 54 to the subject. Just one quote here :

Quote
The firm of John S. Craig & co., Ltd., Glasgow, developed a flexible epoxy liquid that was applied to one of the two surfaces after an elaborate cleaning and curing process. The two metals were riveted together, and in the heating process a tight seal was formed, prohibiting contact between the two metals and the intrusion of water into the joint.
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: Twynkle on Feb 03, 2010, 09:07 PM
About this 'join'...
As Rob mentions above, Potter and Frost (1969) p 44, 43 in 'Queen Elizabeth 2',  give a thorough description of both the supply of the aluminium, the difficulties involved in it's welding, testing of it and something about details of the join.

'If aluminium is joined directly to steel, electrolytic action is set up in the presence of moisture., eventually causing corrosion of the metal.  The two materials had therefore to be insulated from each other, particularly at the principal steel-aluminum joint just above what is now called the quarter deck, where the ship changes from steel to aluminium.'

Curiously, there seems to be no mention of Araldite (epoxy resin) in their text. The other day I came across the reference to Araldite in the join - will find again, and post here!
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: Jeff Taylor on Feb 03, 2010, 10:46 PM
It would be interesting to know how they handled that transition on the United States--despite her obvious woes she's nearly 60 years old and I've never heard of problems with the aluminum superstructure.
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: skilly56 on Feb 04, 2010, 08:16 AM
Aha, another lovely technical subject to get involved in! The steel-to-aluminium transition joint.

I'm not sure exactly how QE2's insulation procedure was carried out between the dis-similar materials at the joint, but as the years went by, continual modification (one easy example being the addition of pipework for services to and from the 'penthouse suites' that were added later on in her life) must be adding up to help defeat the insulation barrier that the steel-aluminium joint was trying to provide. The electrical insulation barrier was intended to prevent or reduce the galvanic action (ie, eddy currents & voltages that cause corrosion and metal wastage) that is normally set up between dissimilar metals (eg, the steel & the aluminium).
In 2003 I spent a year as QA manager in a shipyard that manufactured superyachts (or tried to - they never ever got it right!), often with high-strength steel hulls and alloy superstructures. The 'Bang Stick' strips we used to insulate the steel from the alloy were manufactured in Belgium by using explosives to bond a strip of alloy to a strip of steel. By totally bonding the grain structure of the two materials, electrical galvanic action was greatly reduced between the two materials. Until some silly twerp would ignore the instructions on the build drawings and install a pipe incorrectly (or use a pipe of the wrong material), thus giving an electrical path which would totally defeat the insulating properties of the 'Bang Stick'. Or incorrectly weld in a new access ladder and totally negate the "Bang Stick by giving a new path to the electrolosis.
I have inserted a link below for those who are interested - it shows all the areas in which explosively bonded materials are now used to build modern ships.

http://www.dynamicmaterials.com/data/brochures/1.%20SNAME%20paper%202-04.pdf

Cheers

Skilly
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: Twynkle on Feb 04, 2010, 09:01 AM
That's really interesting, Skilly!

Potter and Frost covered the subject of aluminium and welding - comprehensively. There's much about the need to cover each area as the welding was done, in order to keep it free of moisture - they make an oblique reference to the climate!
But I can't find any ref. to the sticky stuff!

I had wondered about the possibility of problems to do with the weight of additional structures stressing the join - not just in connection with the 'penthouse suites' but what about the the funnel as well?
Not knowing, yet, what this was / is now made from - did the same joint-work become necessary?
Similarly - would this be how the mast is 'stuck' on?
(I remember sticking formica onto wood and 'metal' - with Araldite, in the '60's. Highly inflammable and effective sticky stuff!)

Cheers, and thanks too!!

Rosie
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: Rob Lightbody on Feb 04, 2010, 09:38 AM
It would be interesting to know how they handled that transition on the United States--despite her obvious woes she's nearly 60 years old and I've never heard of problems with the aluminum superstructure.

Most of QE2's problems with the aluminium are to do with the fact that the ship does not have expansion joints, and the aluminium was intended to bend and flex along with the steel.  Bruce Peter's book covers this in depth.  The steel hull is deliberately weaker higher up to allow this to happen.  It was this flexing that has caused all the problems.  For the mega-refit in the 80s, they considered retro-fitting them to ease the problems.

SSUS's hull and superstructure have also led a leisurely life compared to the 800+ express transatlantic crossings that QE2 has had to endure!  I bet QE2's aluminium would be in much better condition if she'd spent most of her time at the dockside.
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: skilly56 on Feb 04, 2010, 10:11 AM
Gotcha Rob,

I didn't know there were no expansion joints in her hull, so the biggest problem would probably be that, with the coefficient of expansion for the aluminium being much greater than for steel, and the stresses have nowhere to dissipate. I wonder what crevice cracking and fractures do exist under all that paint?

Painting the hull black would increase the heat (ie, expansion) in the steel, and painting the superstructure white would help to keep the expansion of the aluminium down, but there would still have been considerable stress.

I just watched the 'Queen's Conversation' on your Facebook - broadband here is Sssooo slow I had to hit the play button then go away for 15 minutes while it downloaded, but she still has a good voice.

Cheers

Skilly
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: Peter Mugridge on Feb 04, 2010, 10:17 AM
There is also the problem that salt water really corrodes aluminium quite quickly, and the upper parts - especially in winter North Atlantic conditions - are going to spend a great deal of their time in a salt spray environment.

I am wondering if the obviously instensive paint maintenance required to keep the aluminium sealed in had, over time, any effect on the joint itself?  Is the paint a special formula to reduce any possible conductive bridging effects, for example?



Of interest, aluminum / steel combinations are used in some railway traction current live rails - the Waterloo and City Line, for example, has a steel conductor rail which is mounted directly on an aluminium base.  As in, the top half of the rail is steel and the lower half is aluminium.
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: pete cain on Feb 04, 2010, 07:58 PM
Peter, I was witness to many QE2 deckhands 'painting' the Aluminium during the  let's call it dark hours, all they (seemed) to do was have a can of what appeared to be clear fluid  (in the tin) ,roller it around the affected area , & hey presto it came out white, no prep involved, I might add the same proceedure was applied to steel  handrails & etc, is that why all older ladies have layers & layers of 'clag'?. As a postcript to the transition joint   problems , well poor old QE2 as well as ORIANA (the leader in these in retrospect problems) were constructed over years & years in the open, no such luxury as covered construction halls  in them days , so, I guess condensation did have an affect. ( bet the shipwright got a friendly welder to warm the affected area  before Araldite was applied)
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: highlander0108 on Feb 10, 2010, 01:39 AM
There is also the problem that salt water really corrodes aluminium quite quickly, and the upper parts - especially in winter North Atlantic conditions - are going to spend a great deal of their time in a salt spray environment.

Actually, salt water does not corrode aluminum like you might think.  It oxidizes when left exposed and forms a protective coating.  There are alot of aluminum boats, particularily in the Pacific Northwest, in service with absolutely no paint whatsoever.  The problems arise with dissimilar metals, crevice corrosion, and electrolysis.  Here is a better explanation I found from a naval architect.
http://www.kastenmarine.com/aluminum.htm
It was clear that the aluminum plating on the boat deck was flexing, as it was designed to, as witnessed to all the patches at the stress points of windows, even with the corners rounded to minimize the built up stress.  In fact, I even saw cracks in several of the patches and repairs made over previous repairs. 
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: Twynkle on Feb 26, 2010, 08:12 PM
Apologies for the grainy images -
it was surprising to note that the base of the windows are set just inches above joint

https://www.flickr.com/photos/watch_keeper/4389887995/sizes/l/in/photostream/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/watch_keeper/4389887989/sizes/l/

Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: holynougat on Feb 26, 2010, 08:29 PM
The ship carried a deck carpenter who was a certified Lloyds welder until she finished the transatlantic runs. (Welding aluminium is very difficult)

The Aluminium was very prone to cracking in bad weather and the superstructure is covered like a patch work quilt with doubling plate over welded cracks.

The steel hull however is built like nothing else and I never recall any problems with structural cracking in the hull, unlike modern cruise ships which crack all over the place

If they had chopped everything off above deck 2 with a gas axe then they could have rebuilt on the old hull and the ship would probably have lasted longer than a brand new one!



Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: highlander0108 on Feb 27, 2010, 01:26 AM
Apologies for the grainy images -
it was surprising to note that the base of the windows are set just inches above joint

https://www.flickr.com/photos/watch_keeper/4389887995/sizes/l/in/photostream/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/watch_keeper/4389887989/sizes/l/



Rosie, are these your photos?  I have tried to view, but I get a message that these photos are private.
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: Twynkle on Feb 27, 2010, 08:25 AM
Ken
Many apologies!
They are mine - try these links and let me know if you can re-size them, too
as the double row of rivets are visible in the larger sizes!

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4019/4389887989_6aaf94b982_b.jpg
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4036/4389887995_33f8dd6f0f_b.jpg

They are very hazy - QE2, Geiranger and failing camera wasn't easy!!
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: highlander0108 on Feb 27, 2010, 01:37 PM
Here's a shot I took from the pier, starboard side, illustrating Holynougat's comments.  You can see the aluminum patch welded over the upper right corner of the window, obviously patching a crack at that stress point.  The aluminum cracked even though the windows have radiused corners to reduce this.  Next to the patch, you can see another crack has developed at the upper left corner of the patch, where it appears that the patch just transferred some of the loading to the plating beyond.  To the lower right of the patch, there is a ghosting of something round, possibly another repair job.  The aluminum/steel rivet joint is right below all of this with some minor rusting, but still looking good in outward appearance.  

(http://highlander0108.smugmug.com/photos/798043277_ZzNpi-L.jpg)

The ships aluminum superstructure is full of repairs like this.  I just refer to them as beauty marks, scars of her many rough crossings! ;D
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: Andrew Collier on Feb 27, 2010, 03:31 PM
Great photo!

it has always amazed me that despite being a bit of a mess close up, as this photo and many others show, the ship still looked amazing!

I can't think of another ship that would still look awesome if covered in patches like this one was, in some views when the light catches them they really stand out, but still the otherall effect isnt spoilt, what a design.... :-D
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: Isabelle Prondzynski on Feb 27, 2010, 05:06 PM

I can't think of another ship that would still look awesome if covered in patches like this one was, in some views when the light catches them they really stand out, but still the otherall effect isnt spoilt, what a design.... :-D

I looked at the exterior of the Rotterdam this afternoon in the spitting rain and found much the same patchwork of patches in the superstructure. Which raises the question whether it too is of aluminium, something we had previously thought was not the case...

And certainly for QE2, I used to regard these patches as heightening her looks, much as the wrinkles on a elderly face often add a lot of interest to that face, all the signs of someone having lived to the full!
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: Peter Mugridge on Feb 28, 2010, 12:13 AM
Isabelle, there is no indication of aluminium in Rotterdam ( 1959 ) from this:

http://www.shipmotions.nl/DUT/PapersReports/1166-PRADS-98.pdf

which incidentally makes brief mention of QE2 on page 8...
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: highlander0108 on Feb 28, 2010, 01:22 PM
Here's another interesting repair of a repair.  I believe this was taken on the starboard side, Queens Grill or lounge windows.
(http://highlander0108.smugmug.com/photos/798834335_fcKrg-M.jpg)
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: Rob Lightbody on Feb 28, 2010, 05:09 PM
Have a look at "Reltco" 's photo here - https://www.flickr.com/photos/33120597@N03/3451255013/ - its from 1972 and shows, i think, patches already present in the corner of the windows. 
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: Twynkle on Feb 28, 2010, 05:46 PM
This is a great set, Rob!

If you go to the transition joint on this image (needs to be the original size - very large!!)
then up to the higher rectangular windows...
There's a 'strip' of metal 'stuck on' stretching along beneath them.
Is this a patch, do you think?
If so - it must have been one mighty long 'crack!
Now wondering what could have caused it - and are there other 'strengtheners' like this one?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/lightbody/1414248239/sizes/o/in/set-72157602100953447/
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: Beardy Rich on Feb 28, 2010, 06:07 PM
And to think that they make aircraft out of this stuff  :o :o :o
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: Bob C. on Feb 28, 2010, 09:06 PM
And to think that they make aircraft out of this stuff  :o :o :o

Yep, had one of those fatigue cracks in my helicopter in it's keel (which is overhead in a heli).  It was one big scary 4 inch long crack.  Fortunatley it was found before anyone went for the next flight. 

All metal fatigues and cracks but thanks to the inspections cycles on ships and aircraft, catastrophe very, very rarely occurs!
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: Rob Lightbody on Jun 21, 2010, 09:21 PM
Here's a great shot of the aluminium riveted join from inside, in 1968

Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: Rob Lightbody on Jun 21, 2010, 10:34 PM
and here's a great diagram (attached) of the join of the steel and aluminium

Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: Bob C. on Jun 22, 2010, 03:04 AM
Rob,
    Where did you get this diagam?  It shows that QE2's hull has a bit of tumblehome (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tumblehome) between 6 and 3 Deck?  I did not think she had any but it is evident in this drawing.

Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: Andrew Collier on Feb 20, 2011, 06:40 PM
Hi Bob,

The hull deffinatly had a small tumblehome on decks 4 and 5, as shown in the drawing Rob posted.

It was 6 inches on each side, making the top part of the hull and the superstructure a foot narrower than the maximum beam at the waterline.

http://www.thamesshipsociety.org.uk/images/Images2008/Queen-Elizabeth-2-26-Apr-2008-2.jpg

Many images of the ship, such as this one show the light catching the tumblehome differently to the rest of the ship so 'prove' its existance, and show the extent of it.

Cheers  8)
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: Bob C. on Feb 20, 2011, 08:29 PM
Great photo that dramatically demonstrates QE2's tumble home with reflective lighting.  I had to look at the photo for awhile but I eventually got it.
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: Peter Mugridge on Jul 08, 2011, 12:34 AM
A strong lesson here about the care needed for the transition joint:

Ten years ago, a fleet of trains was built which have aluminium side panels.  To save money, the factory simply used steel bolts to fix them in place.

Despite the area of connection involved being proportionately much smaller than the transiition joint on QE2 ( or any other ship with one ) and the relatively short timescale to date, there are now severe corrosion problems on these specific trains which are having to be repaired quite extensively.

Two points here:

1) If anyone doubts the need for such a joint, the above is a very graphic proof of the need!

2) The quality of the workmanship on QE2's hull, and the degree of skill involved with it, is amply demonstrated by the lack of any such corrosion after over 40 years in frequently harsh conditions in a salt environment and with a vastly greater area of potential contact to consider. :)
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: Bob C. on Oct 06, 2011, 05:16 PM
Does anyone know if steel was used in any of the modifications to QE2's superstructrure?

QE2 was essentially aluminum from Q-Deck on up when put into service but I'm wondering how much if any steel went in to the penthouse suites and funnel and aft deck changes as well as the galley modifications to include the "mystery box" forward.

Impacts on the ship's stability, mostly roll stability, must be taken into consideration for these sorts of modifcations (as well as galvanic ones too) but wondering how much tolerence there is/was for using steel versus aluminium. 
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: Rod on Oct 06, 2011, 08:12 PM
Some random thoughts here.
QE2 was one of the first ships built at JB's to extensively use aluminium or aluminum for our US brothers and sisters. So much so that JB's opened up and aluminum welding school so they would have enough welders.
The biggest problem with the "bi-metallic joint" (proper name) was if saltwater intruded into it. A battery is no good without acid.
There was a rubber composite insulator between the metals and then "araldite" was used to seal the joint. I believe the rivets were stainless steel. Every year during drydock the araldite was cleaned out using very high pressure water, around 17,000 psi and new applied.
Cracking was a constant problem with the aluminium. One cabin I was in for a long time came complete with a roll of "Denso" tape so when the repair cracked again you could go outside and do a DIY repair.

Contrary to popular belief, in rough weather, windows in the Boat, Upper and Quarter deck did not get broken they "popped" out due to the flexing of the aluminium. Had the misfortune to be near one when it did this. Thats when you heard the tannoy..."carpenters to Double down port side etc.
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: pete cain on Mar 21, 2012, 01:42 PM
Am currently reading  ORIGINS, ORIENT, and ORIANA. Charles F. Morris. ( 1980 ).
   
   Have got to admit that I've skipped quite a few chapters ,(with the intention to return) just to get to Oriana
   & her design & construction, re steel/aluminum mix, & expansion joints or lack of.
    Chapter 11 p261. ''THE ORIENT COMPANY was very fortunate(or , perhaps, should I say very discerning) to
    have chosen the firm of Vickers, at Barrow, to build their ships after the second World War - particularly the
   Oriana- because Vickers were at that time, in my opinion, the most advanced and skilfull builders of
    passenger liners in Britain and, possibly , in the world.  The building of the all-welded hull and aluminium
   superstructure of the ship could have been disasterous in the hands of lesser builders''.

   ''So far as I am aware no other ship at the time had used the alloy as a 'strength' material when added 
     to the steel hull of a ship in the form of a superstructure''.

   ''In the Oriana, the steel construction was 'married' to the alloy in such a way to ensure that the structure
     worked together as one in resisting the forces arising from loading the ship, from rolling and pitching
    and from the seas through which the ship was to sail''.
       To achieve this amalgamation of the two materials, transverse webs were chosen at intervals along the
     ships length and were carried from the keel and double bottom structure through the main steel hull
     and strength deck (the uppermost steel deck) upwards through all the alloy decks which were 'fore-and
     -aft', or longitudinally framed. All the accomodation requirements were subservient  in importance to the
      structure requirements and were adjusted  around the need to preserve structutal integrity''.

     ''The superstructure sides(about 12 feet inside the extreme breadth of the hull) were carried upwards 
        through several decks in order to tie the aluminium superstructure structurally to the strength deck
      (at this point the author directs the reader to an illustration not unlike that of Robs post no 31 above
       not knowing the copyright thinggys I deceided not to add it to this post, the illustration also shows
      Oriana with a marked Tumblehome). The aluminium superstructure and the steel hull were all- welded
      with the exceptions imposed by Lloyds Classification Society-the stringer angle connecting the edge of
      the strength deck to the sheer strake plating (uppermost plates of the hull and an important strength 
      member of the hull), and a treble-riveted seam of the hull plating at the turn of the bilge plating.These
      'crack-arresters' are now regarded by many as being rather 'old hat' and could be dispensed with in
      favour of (perhaps) special alloy steel''. (p262)

      'Each joint had to be a 'strength' connection which had not featured in ships before,--------
     The rivetted  connection which was finally selected and used in the Oriana ( is further illustrated, but
     looks not unlike  the method used on QE2 & has been posted previously ).There appears to be very
   little on which I may comment in this design of joint, but so far as I know, there has been no failure to
   date, and Oriana is now 18 years old at the time of writing' (p265).
   
     The cracking of any structure can be taken as a sign of relieving of high points of stress and often, in
    cases where such cracking has taken place in a relatively unimportant part of the structure, the crack
    can be left------- in my experience, if cracks of this sort are repaired, another crack will appear nearby,
   because the high stress caused by movement of the ship's structure is still there and must be relieved.
   (p267)
               The design of the structure to incorporate the aluminium alloy as a structural asset was checked
    at the time of the ship's launch, since this event causes high straining to take place and gives the
    builders an opportunity to investigate the contribution to the ship's strength made by the superstructure.
   Hitherto, 'expansion joints'had been fitted into the upper works of Orient ships. These joints allow the
   superstructure to move as the main hull of the vessel bends when the ship is at sea, or when she is being
   loaded or discharged, with the result that it is , therefore, not subjected to any major forces created by
   the movement of the hull. In the Oriana the usual 'expansion joint' was ommitted and , for the first time
   in the companies ships, a superstructure was made to work for its living. The builders invited a team of
   specialists from the British Shipbuilding Research Association to install instruments to take readings of
   stress on the ship's hull and superstructure during the launch, and subsequent findings of the
    investigating team were bothh reassuring and satisfactory''.(p268)

     This book is extremely detailed,giving the history behind the Orient line, finishing with their last liner
   Oriana, her design, construction & trials,I wish there was a book giving as much insight to the building of
    QE2. Will now have to search & look/see if Oriana suffered with any cracking in her superstructure.
    Although they were both steel hull, alloy upperworks, is that the only thing they had in common,
    were their designs completely different regarding stresses & subsequent cracking?. I know it can be
  argued that QE2 had a harder life, but she had cracks appearing early in her life did she not?.
       

     
   
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: Rod on Jan 16, 2013, 10:08 PM
https://www.theqe2story.com/images/ScottishDailyMail12-1-12_1.pdf

https://www.theqe2story.com/images/ScottishDailyMail12-1-12_2.pdf

Excellent article. Apart from doing a very fair job on the current situation, I was also fascinated by the story about the aluminium superstructure, which I had not read before.

Isabelle, what the article didn,t mention is that John Browns did NOT have more than 2 people capable of welding aluminum!!!!! They had to set up welding school when they got the contract!
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: Isabelle Prondzynski on Jan 18, 2013, 09:24 AM
Isabelle, what the article didn,t mention is that John Browns did NOT have more than 2 people capable of welding aluminum!!!!! They had to set up welding school when they got the contract!

Fascinating, Rod! Any additional information / stories, etc. welcome.

Presumably QE2 always needed to carry someone skilled in welding, to carry out the regularly necessary repairs whenever they arose...
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: andy liney on Jan 18, 2013, 09:48 AM
Wasn't one of the big problems the interface between the aluminium superstructure and the steel, where aluminium and steel couldn't be allowed to be in conductive contact for electrolytic corrosion reasons (thus requiring the rather ugly resinous joint that used to be evident)?
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: Rod on Jan 18, 2013, 09:50 AM
Nobody on the ship was able to weld aluminium. Nor did we have the equipment. Several people, myself included were able to weld steel, copper brass etc. But we were not certified. Any boiler work for example we had to hire outside welders.
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: pete cain on Jan 26, 2013, 08:42 PM
Rod, have belatedly looked at this topic, & wish to (very nicely) contradict you, we were onboard QE2 in 2007, on 1deck, stbd side to the right of the Pavillion was a room , showers & changing;  my memory fails me here, but, there might 've been another small room aft of  it, used for storing towels & misc bits, there might not , I really am uncertain, however the crew had cut a piece of ally bulkhead , just above deck level about 1ft square with what I assume was a plastic drain through it, over the coming days , a new piece if ally complete with assembled pipework was back in place & welded up.
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: Rod on Jan 26, 2013, 09:02 PM
Rod, have belatedly looked at this topic, & wish to (very nicely) contradict you, we were onboard QE2 in 2007, on 1deck, stbd side to the right of the Pavillion was a room , showers & changing;  my memory fails me here, but, there might 've been another small room aft of  it, used for storing towels & misc bits, there might not , I really am uncertain, however the crew had cut a piece of ally bulkhead , just above deck level about 1ft square with what I assume was a plastic drain through it, over the coming days , a new piece if ally complete with assembled pipework was back in place & welded up.

Pete, you are not contradicting me! You saw this in 2007. I left in very late 88. 18 years.  Welding technology and simplicity had come on so much.
When the welding schools were started, that was the way of the future....as was the QE2 and so much in her. But, when the ship was built, and for much of MY ship lifetime, Ally welding was not available, without much specialised equipment and training, that Cunard, ships bosses, whomever were not prepared to pay for. After our first Bayonne refit, and I saw what and how, I asked if we could get and carry, and of course for me to be trained, in similar equipment.... NO they said...what happens if you are on leave?
But  a similar story... the helicopter deck.
Somebody decided that they needed to "train" the pin pong paddle boys to land a helo....so they did... first helo to land..they were both on leave!
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint
Post by: Hank Hargrove on May 07, 2014, 03:49 AM
It would be interesting to know how they handled that transition on the United States--despite her obvious woes she's nearly 60 years old and I've never heard of problems with the aluminum superstructure.

I think they used some sort of special tape between the steel and the aluminum. Then they welded it together. The ship has just been sitting around for the past 45 years, so it's hard to say. I've never heard anything either.
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: Adam Hodson on May 07, 2014, 07:50 AM
Thanks for that information Hank.
Title: Re: Steel/Aluminium Transition Joint & repairs/patches to the superstructure
Post by: Lynda Bradford on May 21, 2019, 10:52 AM
When Rob was showing slides of the building of QE2, at the QE2 Story Event on 4 May 2019, there was a question regarding why the aluminium structure had been left unpainted for some time whereas the hull had been painted "as soon as possible".

George C Griffiths was good enough to get this explanation from a friend, an Industrial Chemist and Metallurgist who took time to write this easy to understand write up:

Quote
Even in the atmosphere an aluminium SURFACE is not metal but consists of a micro layer of aluminium oxide.
It is extremely difficult to paint and would require the use of special etching primers.
 
When joining it to a ship's hull you have the added problem that aluminium metal is extremely anodic to steel and would corrode very quickly. 
Naturally it would require to be wet or damp to do this.
Not really difficult on a ship!

The easy way out is to use a non-conducting layer between the steel hull and the superstructure. 
The steel hull must then be painted but the aluminium itself can be left alone for a time, as the micro layer of aluminium oxide (ref. above) will act like a layer of paint thereby protecting the base metal.
Eventually the aluminium would require to be coated for long life - by first using the etching primer (applied any way at all) and then the paint.
If the aluminium was painted without the use of this etching primer the paint would just flake off.

So in short - it is the natural presence of the micro layer of oxide that protects it and negates the need for coating/painting for some considerable time.