NIST Standard Reference Materials had been available
to the builders of the Titanic in 1911, perhaps the
tragic sinking would not have occurred. The Titanic's
steel hull was held together with wrought iron rivets.
In 1998 a NIST metallurgist found that a number of these
rivets contained three times as much slag-a waste product
from ore smelting-than normal. The extra slag made the
rivets more brittle and prone to break on impact. This
may have been a major factor in the Titanic's sinking.