Among the many problems arising from the use of steel in naval construction, none is more important than that of protecting the under-water body of a vessel from the corrosive action of sea-water. The problem is a modification of the old one of protecting the bottoms of wooden or iron vessels, as steel is much more liable to corrosion under water than iron, and steel vessels, being generally constructed of much lighter scantling, are proportionally more injured by an equal amount of chemical action. So far as the purposes of construction are concerned, no material equals steel; but if steel ships cannot be protected against the destructive action of the medium in which they must exist, the question assumes another phase, and economical results might be obtained by reverting to iron or wood. As, however, the use of steel enables the naval architect to obtain results in speed and strength and lightness of hull which are otherwise unobtainable, this reversion is practically out of the question. Steel must be used and protected.
The Protection of the Hulls of Vessels by Lacquer
By Lieutenant J. B. Murdock, U.S.N.