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May 6, 2003
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Would the stern have stayed afloat if she had broken all the way (instead of to the keel which caused the attached bow to pull the stern up and down under) it's hard to describe but after the bow broke completly off instead of pulling the stern up would the water tight doors keep her afloat? Imagine that in the newspapers "titanic front sinks but all passengers safe on stern" I hope everybody gets my point.

Stefan
 
Jul 9, 2000
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I doubt it very much. The short version of what happened is that the break occurred when the strain on the hull girder exceeded...apparently by a very wide margin...what the hull's structure could possibly survive. A break-up is a particularly violent event and the Titanic was no exception, and could scarcely have done much good to what looked to be otherwise intact.

All else aside, I suspect that what remained would have been so leaky and unstable that it would have just rolled over on it's beam befor going under.
 
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Tom Pappas

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I doubt it even more than Mikey does.
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Think of the hull girder as a hollow tube being bent by the force generated by the weight of the unsupported section. Not only is such a tube going to bend, but it will be flattened out in the process. This will detach the side walls of the tube (shell plating) from the internal structures (ribs and bulkheads), completely destroying the watertight integrity of the broken-off piece.
 

Jamie Bryant

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If Titanic's steel had been less brittle, would the break up of been any different.
And did she break through the First Class Smoking room?
J.B
 
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Less brittle then what? You might want to check out Marconigraph.com then follow the links to Sparks's Titanic FAQs by Parks Stephenson where he goes into the question of brittle steel.

Or ,more correctly, the myth of brittle steel. I don't think it would have been any different for two reasons, one being that the steel itself played little if any role in the sinking itself and also that the weaknesses which lead to the break-up were a matter of design weaknesses in the hull itself. In normal service, it wouldn't have been a big deal as the ship could have handled the enormous bending loads that comes with the territory.

Have the stern come out of the water where it's weight is supported by nothing more substantial then thin air, and you've got problems.
 
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robert s hauser

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Charles Pellegrino seemed to think the stern might have floated if not for the fact that the engineers opened the watertight door separating the recipricating engine room from the turbine whilst rigging suction hoses from the more powerfull pumps in that part of the ship. According to Charles, that door caused an opening of 18 square feet that would have submerged the stern sever to E deck level in less than a minute. How he arrived at that figure I don't know, but he's the NASA geek, so I imagine he must have some basis. It seems logical that the turbine engine bulkhead might have remained intact, since most of the reciprocating engines are still there. I don't know if Cameron, or anyone else has flown ROVs far enough in there, or bothered to examine that bulkhead. But it was one of the higher ones in the ship. It seems plausible that, had the engineers done nothing to save the ship and never opened the turbine door, that the stern might have floated. I dunno. Maybe I just like Charles Pelligrino's writing too much. Oh, in Pelligrino's "Ghosts of the Titanic" there are some illustrated drawings that pretty well show his take on it. The guy has seen the wreck a few times, and his grasp of forensics is at a level where he was asked to participate in the TWA 800 disaster, so its hard for me to dismiss him as a complete crackpot.

-Rob---
 
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robert s hauser

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"Sleep soundly young Rose. I've built you a good ship, strong and true. She's all the lifeboat you'l need."
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Robert, can I make a suggestion? Take anything Charles Pelligrino claims with a very large grain of salt. The kind of forces at work here which caused the stern to break off from the rest of the ship would have also done a number on anything inside the hull, particularly anything close to the break. Far more so then a single door could have dealt with.

If you want to get a better overview of what was going on from the perspective of an engineer who's made an in depth study of this, click on Roy Mengot's The Wreck of the RMS Titanic
 
Oct 28, 2000
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The stern might have floated. Oswald's bullet might have missed Kennedy. To quote myself, "History does not reveal its alternatives."

Open or closed, the W/T door between the recip and turbine engine rooms was not the determining factor. As the final breakup took place the hull was far enough rolled to port that the internal bulkheads were meaningless. Water would have (and probably did) enter the stern around them.

Also, even with portable pipes run through, that door would not have remained fully open. The automatic release would have caused it to start closing as soon as water reached the foot of the door. The closure would not have been complete, but the opening would not have been full.

-- David G. Brown
 
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Tom Pappas

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A salient feature of both halves of the wreck is the flattening of the hull girder resulting from the cantilever forces that caused the breakup. Since this flattening separated the shell plating from the bulkheads they were riveted to, I don't think there's much chance closing a door would have helped.

My major criticism of Pelligrino's writing style is that he tends to invent things in a quest to over-dramatize. Tossing out theories willy-nilly without consideration of their real-world implications is, to me, the definition of a complete crackpot.
 

Inger Sheil

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It's not the tossing out of theories, flying random kites in the sky, that I find inherantly objectionable. That's a typical Sunday pub five pint conversation - getting every more extravagent and out-on-a-limb. And every now and then something viable comes up that is worth following up.

It's the publishing of nutbarology and very underdone theorising in a work purporting to be non fiction that is where I draw the line at chucking miscellaneous ideas about - there's a time and a place for playing with ideas, and there are some ideas that should be thought through before the author puts them to the public.
 
Oct 17, 2002
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I dont know if anyone has posted the response to this yet or not, but I vaguely remember (while researching something completely unrelated) a periodical shortly after the disaster with a cover depicting a stern of a ship completely detachable and usable as a life boat of sorts. I believe this was in Popular Mechanics and in response to the Titanic incident...Does anyone know where this may originate from? I am researching the bizarre technological advances resulting from Titanic. Ones that were, for obvious reasons, never realized.

Thanks

Drew
 

Bob Godfrey

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I've seen sketch plans of a similar proposal - that a deckhouse or part of the superstructure could be detachable and held in place by large clamps, explosive bolts or the like. The idea was that this part of the ship could be released to float away as the hull sank beneath it. Certainly this was one of the post-Titanic schemes, but sorry, I can't recall the source.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Further to the above, in Titanic and her Sisters (page 356) there is a small reproduction of a page from The Graphic (April 27 1912) showing 'a scheme for detachable decks convertible into rafts'. A drawing shows huge portions of the top decks, complete with railings and deckhouses, which have been lowered into the water by cranes, but the text which explains how this miracle was to be achieved is not legible.
 
Oct 17, 2002
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Thank you for the rapid response. Excellent information on the idea presented in The Graphic. Interesting how when, most likely a list would be present, engineers at the time assumed a crane could operate. Its about as far fetched as the idea I had seen. I remember the picture rather well, A solid bulkhead running from the keel up through the boat deck with a series of watertight doors and an aft bridge and control room to monitor the rudder and back up electricity produced by an aft engine for precisely this purpose. It was quite an odd sight.
 
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Tom Pappas

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"engineers at the time assumed a crane could operate"

It's interesting to note what engineers have thought possible throughout history. In the '50s, for example, they thought nuclear power would be so cheap to produce that once a house had been connected to the grid, there would be no further cost to the consumer.

More wisdom.
 

Bob Godfrey

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And I rather like the story of how the Volkswagen plant was offered as war reparations successively to the British, Americans and French, all of whom turned it down. On behalf of the British motor industry, Sir William Rootes announced that "only a bloody fool" would expect to find a market for the Beetle, and the evaluation team from Ford concluded that the little car was "not worth a damn".
 
Jun 11, 2000
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It's interesting to note what engineers have thought possible throughout history

And only this week I watched a programme (Discovery Extreme Engineering this time..) about a train that would travel faster than a bullet, through a vacuum, to get you from USA to Europe in one and a half hours. It went through a tunnel which appeared to be on legs under the ocean. I missed the first bit, so I'm not sure how they intended to get the tunnel over the volcanic mountain range (still active I think?)mid-Atlantic .... think I'd give that one a miss.
 
Feb 17, 2005
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I just recently read Roy Mengot's site regaurding the breakup and I doubt it could have floated. His site states that the shell plate peeled open for most of the length of the broken piece, so the watertightness would have been obliterated. in my opinion tne ship probably would have tipped on its side and capsised.
 

Mark Draper

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I agree, and with the evidence at the wreck site the stern was open on most of the starboard side and the peeled open port shell plate, the stern would have tipped up and sank quickly.

Hmm, in my study of the Columbia space shuttle disaster, I found that some reverse engineering was done on the trajectories of the pieces as they ripped off. Based on where they landed, and following the flight path, when they came off and at what altitude.

I think using this same technique, a more accurate debris field can be made.

What do you guys think?
 
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