Flour Explosion in Stern


Aaron_2016

Former Member
I understand the Titanic was carrying 49,000 pounds of flour down on G-deck on the port side of the stern.


flourstern.png




Is it possible that something like this happened?

Increase this explosion by 5,000.




sternwreck1.png



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This is one of the strangest suggestions I've seen, one that thoroughly mixes possibility and probability into peanut butter logic. But, it's not a crazy idea. A flour explosion could do a lot of damage in a confined space. The problems of making it a likely possibility, however, are manifest. First, the flour has to be kept dry inside a sinking ship. Then, the dust has to be turned into an aerosol with a rather precise ratio of fuel (flour dust) to oxygen. Finally, there has to be a plausible source of ignition. In my view a flour explosion is technically possible, but with a near zero probability of having happened.

-- David G. Brown
 
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Beware the pitfalls of over-thinking the problems. This is something the late and great Roy Mengot warned some of us about years ago. As well secured as any stores are on the ship, the chances of there being the exactly right conditions for a flour explosion are essentially zero.

I have to point out that the much of the hull plating and structure in the area where the flour storeroom is located is relatively intact and shows no sign of an internal explosion. They do however show the sort of damage you would expect from the collapse of the hull girder at the weakest point of the structure as well as impact with the bottom.
 
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Andy Carter

Member
Hi everyone,

I think ridiculous threads should be deleted from this Website, they ruin the credibility and respect of the site.

All the best

Andy
 

Rancor

Member
During the inquiry in 1912 the idea that the Titanic broke in two on the surface was dismissed as ridiculous. In my opinion all ideas are worthy of discussion even if it's limited to just a few brief posts like this thread.
 
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Aaron_2016

Former Member
It's a genuine question that many people might want to know. When you have a large power generator that is about to touch water and you have the main ingredients for a powerful bomb stored right next to it and you have a host of survivor accounts who described a catastrophic explosion on the stern which possibly blew open her port side decks and killed many people it is very important to study what happened and if the location of the flour in the stern might have been the source for the huge explosion which blew the stern apart e.g. 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." Hugh Woolner was looking at her port side and said the explosion - "Tore a big hole in the steamer's side and caused the ship to rock as if she were an eggshell. The Titanic careened to one side and passengers making for the boats were spilled into the water.' Charles Joughin said "many hundreds" were thrown over the port side of the stern. Frank Prentice was on the stern and said there were hundreds of bodies "dead and alive" floating under the port side of the stern when he looked down. August Weikman said the explosion killed many people who were close to the ship. Frederick Scott was in a lifeboat near the stern on the port side. He saw the huge breach where the flour room was and he believed the ship had broken right there.
Q - Do you mean the break was aft of her last funnel?
A - Yes, just aft of the last funnel.
Q - Aft of the ventilating funnel?
A - Yes, that is right.

As you can see, my question about the flour room exploding and causing all of this carnage is a genuine question and if I don't ask it, other's will. There is a strong indication that the port side of the stern was blown out.


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During the inquiry in 1912 the idea that the Titanic broke in two on the surface was dismissed as ridiculous. In my opinion all ideas are worthy of discussion even if it's limited to just a few brief posts like this thread.

IF the evidence supports it. In 1912, there was a lot of evidence to support the fact of the break up and the condition of the wreck when found confirmed it past any point of discussion or debate.

There is NO evidence to support the proposition that the flour exploded.

There is a huge difference between the quality of having an open mind and one so vacant that the wind just blows right on through. Having an open mind is simply being willing to consider a proposition based on whatever evidence there is to support it and being honest about it if there isn't.

The polar opposite: Saying "Yeah, it just might be" when there is nothing credible to back it up is not being open minded.

It's just being gullible.
 
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Aaron_2016

Former Member
I read the survivor accounts and determine what might have occurred. You mention gullible people. They ignore the survivor accounts and believe what other's tell them occurred without cross-examining their findings or showing photo comparisons. I genuinely want to know what happened and why the general consensus among the survivors was that she exploded. Do you have evidence that the port side did not explode outwards? No photos or comparisons between other shipwrecks that did and did not explode? How can I be convinced that the survivors are wrong and she did not explode when nothing convincing has been presented to say the survivors are wrong.


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Rob Lawes

Member
Sorry Aaron but the burden of proof is on you. It's not up to others to disprove your theory because not matter hard people try you seldom agree with a word they say anyway. Besides a few hazy accounts that you've quoted, where is the actual physical evidence or supporting evidence you can provide to back your theory up?

It's not good enough to stick it out there "Did a flour explosion cause the break up?" and then get upset when people say no chance. It would be far better if you could explain how you think it may have happened. We go through this time and time again and it always ends up in the same arguments.

Reading the survivor accounts is not enough in itself to determine what occurred. Where possible there has to be other evidence to back this up. That's why the Police thoroughly investigate crimes instead of just going on what a person or group of people say. An accusation may be enough to start an investigation but it sure as hell isn't enough to conclude one.

I don't think anyone ignores survivor accounts. What I think most people do is filter the survivor accounts and review what is plausible and what isn't. I've seen numerous Aircraft Investigation episodes on Nat Geographic. There are a few episodes where the eye witness reports suggest the plane was on fire when it crashed and a complete forensic investigation of the crash site finds no evidence of any fire. Therefore, those witnesses who say they saw an engine on fire for example, were mistaken. It happens all the time. The Air Accident Investigators don't come up with highly implausible explanations to fit the few witnesses who were mistaken.

Returning to the flour issue. What caused the flour to mix with the atmosphere? I don't expect for a single minute it was stored as you would store coal in an open bunker. I would imagine the flour was stored in strong flour sacks. How then did all this flour suddenly fill the atmosphere with enough fine dust to cause an explosion? Bags of flour don't suddenly open themselves and puff everywhere?
 
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This discussion is getting a bit too harsh. Aaron is not to be faulted for making a "what if" suggestion. That's how all research begins.

The problem is believing that all "what ifs" are equal. In the case of a flour explosion, perquisite conditions are each approaching zero on the probability scale. Multiplying zeros doesn't produce a big number, or at least in the math I was taught. So, while the possibility of a flour explosion exists, the probability is nil. Beyond that, there are more probable explanations for the sounds and sights reported by survivors and for the appearance of the stern section as it lies on the bottom. A long time ago, even before Titanic if you can believe it, some guy named Occam gave is a guideline in such situations. It's the "law of parsimony," better known as "Occam's Razor." Simply stated, when you have a complicated problem with competing hypotheses, you should select the solution with the fewest assumptions.

Case in point -- flour explosion. That hypothesis requires all sorts of antecedents from dry conditions in a room below the water of a sinking ship to a precise mixture of fuel and oxygen to an exactly timed source of ignition all to produce an explosion. Contrast that with the experience of my late friend Dennis Hale who experienced a steel ship break apart beneath his feet. He said that when the plates tore apart there was the sound of an explosion clearly heard above the roaring gale that night. Which of these two explanations for the sounds and damage is the less complicated? Which fits Mr. Occam's shaving gear? Of the two possibilities -- flour dust explosion or metal failing under stress -- which is more probable?

I encourage everyone to do wild-eyed speculation in the quiet of their own office or study. But, be careful when and how you go public with such speculations. Aaron's only mistake was getting overly enthusiastic about a highly unlikely possibility. He would have been much wiser to strop that ol' razor and apply it to his idea before going public.

-- David G. Brown
 
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Aaron_2016

Former Member
Sorry Aaron but the burden of proof is on you. It's not up to others to disprove your theory because not matter hard people try you seldom agree with a word they say anyway. Besides a few hazy accounts that you've quoted, where is the actual physical evidence or supporting evidence you can provide to back your theory up?

Burden of proof? We're not in court. I simply demonstrated that there was large resource of flour in the stern and showed how potentially dangerous this can be, with the simple question. Did it explode? If you really want to know then by all means explore that possibility.


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Rob Lawes

Member
I don't care.

The flour didn't explode. It's so improbable there was more chance of the Titanic being in a collision with a UFO.

End of thread.

Move on.
 
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Aaron_2016

Former Member
I encourage everyone to do wild-eyed speculation in the quiet of their own office or study. But, be careful when and how you go public with such speculations. Aaron's only mistake was getting overly enthusiastic about a highly unlikely possibility. He would have been much wiser to strop that ol' razor and apply it to his idea before going public.

-- David G. Brown

Mild curiousity rather than overly enthusiastic. ;) Working in health and safety I have to observe every potential hazard and see a multitude of possibilities that could occur. I leave no stone unturned in the quest for truth.


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Rancor

Member
IF the evidence supports it. In 1912, there was a lot of evidence to support the fact of the break up and the condition of the wreck when found confirmed it past any point of discussion or debate.

There is NO evidence to support the proposition that the flour exploded.

There is a huge difference between the quality of having an open mind and one so vacant that the wind just blows right on through. Having an open mind is simply being willing to consider a proposition based on whatever evidence there is to support it and being honest about it if there isn't.

The polar opposite: Saying "Yeah, it just might be" when there is nothing credible to back it up is not being open minded.

It's just being gullible.

Not saying I agree with the proposition in this instance, but I think it's always worth asking the question, even if just to have a discussion over why most likely an explosion didn't occur.
 
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