Could Flooding Make Titanic Too Rigid & Break Her?


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Aaron_2016

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Watched a documentary that said the hull started to bend as the stern lifted up. If the lower compartments were flooded, particularly near where she broke, would this reduce the bending and make the hull too rigid and cause her to break at the first moment the stern started to rise?


At the UK Inquiry Sir Alfred Chalmers (Captain and nautical advisor) was asked:

Q - A big vessel like the Titanic must have bulkheads to stiffen her, or else when she is on a wave she would break?
A - Quite so.

Would the flooding of several compartments make her too stiff and cause her to break, especially if she was listing heavily to port with great stress on each side, made worse by the weight of the engines pressing down on one side?


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Apr 26, 2017
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I doubt it made her to rigid . I don't the a 46,000 ton ship. Could be stiff at that angle. Its more likely. That the ship was bending as you said. With the port list, the engins, and the sheer weoghy differences, its more likely the ship was bending wen the hull failed. This was disscused in depth in another. Thread, but ill give you a simple example. As titanics. Stern clears the water. The weight of the stern will already be wanting to go back down. Thus causing the midship to compress and bulge out. (You can see this if you take a milk cartoon ((the cardboard. Ones)) if you start bending one side downward. You will see the sides around the bend bulging out) . I hope i was help full
 
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Aaron_2016

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Had a chat with a retired sailor who believed the Titanic broke because the water rushing into her central compartments and made her rigid to the point that the tension of the hull was too much and broke the moment the stern attempted to rise. He discussed the necessity for ballast tanks on oil tankers and ships similar in length and size to the Titanic. I think if the Titanic had several compartments flooded and was in rough weather the stress of the ship rocking might have been enough to cause the hull to break. I think the port list and the weight of the engines accelerated the stress on the hull and caused the stern to tear off and roll over to port.

A few edited illustrations

breakangle.PNG



listbreak.PNG



Looking at the wreck, the forward engines are missing, one can only assume they fell out of the ship when she broke, or tipped over and crashed through the port side hull which caused the ship to break in two. One mystery is why the port side of the broken bow and stern is missing. This could signify that she tore apart from right to left as the stern rolled over to port, compressing the port side as she broke.


shipbreaking2.PNG


shipbreakbe1.PNG


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Adam Went

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This sounds similar to the suggestion that if the watertight compartments had been left open, Titanic would have flooded more evenly and therefore survived longer. This was actually scientifically tested some time ago (it was in a documentary too, although I couldn't tell you what the name of it was now) and it was found that while the would indeed have sunk more evenly, any slight shift in that amount of water spread throughout a larger portion of the ship would almost certainly have caused her to capsize and actually sink sooner.

Cheers,
Adam.
 
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Aaron_2016

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What about compression and pressure? If the compartment(s) were sealed would the air compress and make the compartment rigid and easier to buckle and burst open when the stern attempted to rise? Would the sudden intake of water into a compressed compartment cause the hull to bulge out and buckle open? Rarely hear about the water pressure. What effect would the pressure outside the hull have on compartments that were not flooded but well below the surface?


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Rob Lawes

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None of Titanic's compartments were truly water / air tight. Each hold access was only covered by canvas and wood. The engine spaces and boiler rooms were ventilated and the boiler furnaces lead directly to open air.

Water entering the ship did force air out as is witnessed in the statements relating to the hold covers but the rate of flooding was at its maximum in the first hour and nowhere near strong enough to take out metal bulkheads through over pressurisation.
 
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Aaron_2016

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I think if the boiler doors were closed then the air inside the boiler rooms might not have been able to vent out. As the ship broke near the engine room there may have been an attempt to seal or batten down the hatches around that compartment which led to it compressing and bursting open with a huge explosion. Survivors saw large plumes of smoke, sparks, and coal shooting out of the funnels. I think there had to be terrific compression inside to cause that effect. e.g.


Mr. Osman
"After she got to a certain angle she exploded, broke in halves.....You could see the explosions by the smoke coming right up the funnels.....It was all black; looked like as if it was lumps of coal, and all that......pretty big lumps.....Just after the explosion....through the funnels......steam and very black smoke."

Mr. Mellors
"There was suddenly an explosion and I found myself whizzing through the water at an awful pace, having been blown away by the explosion"

Mr. Weikman
"The explosion blew me along with a wall of water.....There was a great number of people killed by the explosion."

Mr. Hyman
"There came a terrible explosion, and I could see men, women and pieces of the ship blown into the air from the after deck. Later I saw bodies partly blown to pieces floating around, and I am sure more than a hundred persons were blown off into the sea by that explosion. A terrible hissing of steam began and the awful cry went on. I tried to close my ears, but there was some mysterious attraction and I had to hear that cry.....The hissing and screaming kept up, and finally the ship seemed to right itself."

Philip Mock
"After the noise I saw a huge column of black smoke slightly lighter than the sky rising high into the sky and then flattening out at the top like a mushroom."

Mrs. Collyer
"Something in the very bowels of the Titanic exploded and millions of sparks shot up to the sky, like rockets in a park on the night of a summer holiday. This red spurt was fan shaped as it went up, but the sparks descended in every direction in the shape of a fountain of fire. Two other explosions followed, dull and heavy, as if below the surface. The Titanic broke in two before my eyes"


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Rob Lawes

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The furnaces couldn't be air tight from below as they need a draft to create the intense heat required to keep the steam up. Hence the reason there were fans drawing air down into the boiler rooms. It would help to keep the environment slightly more comfortable but principally provide a draft of air.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Interesting. What if the water had flooded an upper deck or the water was coming in from the exit points and blocked the escape of air as water came in? The air and steam may have built up inside or compressed into one compartment until the heavy machinery crashed through the side and the air burst out. The wireless operator of the Carpathia said - "Well, the Titanic told me when I had sent the position, he said he could not read signals because of the escape of steam and the air through the expansion joint, so I helped him with the communications.....He could not read the incoming signals on account of the escape of steam and the air from the expansion joint; the water rushing into the hollow of the ship was driving the air through the expansion joint." I understand Captain Smith did something which corrected this. Perhaps the air was channelled into part of the ship and built up inside so that it would not disturb the wireless operators, without realizing it would later burst out with explosive force?


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Rob Lawes

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The steam was venting off from the main lines when the safety valves lifted. I'm certain they shut the main steam loop off probably ahead of boiler room 2. We know that the boilers ran dry in boiler room 5 around 30 minutes or so after impact.

The steam escaping trough the safety valves would probably have stopped not long after. I can't recall any precise testimony with regards to timings.

As the rate of flooding slowed then the amount of air escaping from the expansion joint would have reduced.

As for the flooding, the vent intakes for thea boiler rooms were either side of the funnels. These would have been submerged in the final moments of the flooding. I would imagine only the vent trunkings for boiler rooms 6,5,4 and 3 were submerged before the break up. Given we think the break up occurred aft of boiler room 2 then flooding forward of this would seem to have had no effect in terms of over pressuring compartments.

Interestingly we were discussing the state of watertight doors in another thread. You were of the opinion that they were all open. As you rightly suggest for any sort of over pressuring to occur they would have to have all been shut otherwise there would have been even more passages for air to escape.
 

robert warren

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The main thing here is the Titanic broke because she was subjected to conditions that no other ship could stand.If she had sunk in a few hundred feet of water,her bow would have hit bottom,and then she probably would have rolled on her side,and sank sideways.Of course since the bottom was two miles down, the ship had nowhere to go but down and down.I would be willing to say that if any other ship of the day, or nowadays sank in the exact same manner,you would see the same kind of destruction.
 
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Adam Went

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Rob's point is definitely worth being emphasised here. The watertight compartments were not necessarily watertight, if they filled up too much the force of the water would simply flow over into the next compartment, and so on. That's an issue more for the design and safety features of the ship though.

Cheers,
Adam.
 

BobPen

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Jul 13, 2012
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This sounds similar to the suggestion that if the watertight compartments had been left open, Titanic would have flooded more evenly and therefore survived longer. This was actually scientifically tested some time ago (it was in a documentary too, although I couldn't tell you what the name of it was now) and it was found that while the would indeed have sunk more evenly, any slight shift in that amount of water spread throughout a larger portion of the ship would almost certainly have caused her to capsize and actually sink sooner.

Cheers,
Adam.
Hi Adam:
The model I saw to test the result of leaving the water tight doors open was flawed. The Titanic had so much internal structure water could not rush to one side as is the case with the RORO car ferries. It is called the "free surface effect".

The latest analysis of the debris field I saw indicated the ship was still intact when it sank.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Drain the Titanic had a theory which had been proof wrong long time ago (about the ship breaking below the waterline). Also many survivors described in the inquiry, newspapers or private letters how the saw the ship break up.

As far as I remember computer calculations show that the test with the model leaving the watertight doors open to be correct.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>The latest analysis of the debris field I saw indicated the ship was still intact when it sank.<<


Sorry but no: it doesn't do anything of the kind. The debris field tells some of the story of what happened when the hull girder failed under stress and as well as how the pieces sank. The fact of the break up was reported by plenty of witnesses back in 1912 but they were simply disbelieved.
 
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If one basis an analysis on just limited evidence (e.g., the distribution of debris on the ocean floor) then they are likely to come to a few wrong conclusions. A true analysis takes into account all available information and then tries to find an explanation, if possible, that makes the pieces fit. And then there are still no guarantees.
 
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coal eater

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bow was little damaged while going down into seabed,stern was completly ripped apart

would it make some difference if there was broken parts separaton after stern was under water? lets say stern is still attached to bow and they go under together,during further sinking stern finally frees from bow and starts going spiral while bow act as bulet and go straight down..

by looking at boilers from br1 if we take vertical line to surface,it will lead to spot where they started to fall from ship,maybe the stern glided to port and boilers from boiler room 1 encountered two forces? one to pull the boilers to left and second to pull them down,boilers might been torn off their beds when breakup zone reached the beds itself and freed boilers rolled out of hull throught broken port shell plating?
 

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