In 1997, [Tim Foecke], a metallurgist with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, first examined two of the wrought iron rivets that had been salvaged from the wreck. A look under the microscope showed that the wrought iron rivets contained large stringers of slag, which can cause cracking and eventually fracture across the material. With this microstructure, the wrought iron would have been weak where the head of the rivet meets the shaft.
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