Ice Berg Damage


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Brett Roshong

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I had read somewhere that the force exerted on the hull was similar to that which would be necessary to lift the Washington Monument up and down about 10 times. With that much force, it seems logical that even if the hull had been made of reinforce titanium sheathed in diamond, it still seems likely that she would have sunk.

Does my theory hold water, or does it end up going to the bottom?
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Does my theory hold water, or does it end up going to the bottom?<<

I suppose it would. When you run a mass of up to 50,000 tonnes into a mass of 250,000 tonnes or more at 21.5 knots, things are going to break. Keep in mind that the hull of an Olympic class liner was pretty rugged by the standards of the day, what with inch thich hull plating and all, but with the energy involved in such a collision, that hull might as well have been made of tissue paper.
 

Erik Wood

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For more then a few years now there has been research into something very similar. The lift caused by the iceberg was catastrophic, or else the ship would not have sunk. In a ship a lift of a an inch or less can be catastrophic if it's in the right place.

In Maine this year, and in Maine two years from now this type of damage will be discussed at length. In my mind Brett your theory or at least part of it, holds water.
 
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The hull is tissue paper or at least regular paper, think about it, with hull plates an inch think, that seems pretty thick right? But in comparison to the rest of the ship with 92 feet across and 882 feet long that is very very tiny
Do you know what I mean.
 
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Brett Roshong

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What I find interesting is that when you consider the force that was exherted on the hull by the iceberg, the concept of brittle steel seems to fall by the wayside. Even if the Titanic's hull was free of all impurities, it really would not have mattered.
 
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>>the concept of brittle steel seems to fall by the wayside.<<

It's also misdirection since brittle steel really had nothing to do with the way the accident itself went down. Also the condition of the wreck at the bottom...complete with bent rather then shattered steel...serves to put the lie to that one IMO.

>>Even if the Titanic's hull was free of all impurities, it really would not have mattered.<<

Exactly. For an interesting presentation on the dynamics at work, you may wish to check out the MS Word Presentation that Captain Erik Wood published HERE
 
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Brett Roshong

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Would it have been possible for the Titanic to survive if she had hit the ice berg head on? I have read estimates that feel it would have caused severe damage to the first 2 or 3 compartments, but given that she was designed to stay afloat with up to 4 compartments flooded is it possible that she might have stayed above water?

I realize that this does not factor in collision with an under water ice shelf, but would seem plausable?
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Would it have been possible for the Titanic to survive if she had hit the ice berg head on?<<

We really don't know. Edward Wilding thought so and he may have been right. Unfortunately, we don't know this as a certain sure fact. For all we know, the submerged portion of the berg may have done even greater damage that way.
 
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Brett: Theoretically, she should have been able to stay afloat with any 3 of the first 5 compartments flooded, or the first 4 compartments flooded. That assumed that there were no other stresses imposed on her hull to cause the integrity of her remaining bulkheads and plates to be compromised. So the answer to your question is quite possibly. There are photos of ships that have collided head-on with icebergs and survived. The SS Arizona is one that comes to mind as shown below.
90365.jpg
 
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Brett Roshong

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I guess it raises some very good what if questions.

Such as what would have happened had First Officer Murdoch not ordered reversal of the engines, would she have made it around the iceberg?

If she had a double skin would she have survived?

The one question that has always dogged me is that if she had been put hard to port, would the rudder have been more effective given that there would have been the additional wash from the center screw, or what would have happened if in addition to using the rudder to port around the iceberg her outer propellers were also employed, one going full ahead, and the other going full astern to aid in the turning manuever?
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Such as what would have happened had First Officer Murdoch not ordered reversal of the engines, would she have made it around the iceberg?<<

Don't know. The problem here is that while the order may have been given, it's questionable as to whether or not it was carried out until after the collision.

>>If she had a double skin would she have survived? <<

Maybe. A double skin may well have confined the flooding to a specific area and prevented the foundering of the ship. The problem here is that with all the flooding confined to one side, the ship would have developed a substantial list that would have prevented launching the lifeboats on one side. This would have made for a really bad day for a lot more people had the damage been non-survivable.

Bear in mind that we're not necesserily talking about exclusively side damage. In all likelihood, the ship allided with a submerged ice shelf or ram which would have done substantial bottom damage and this certainly would have been a factor to be reckoned with.

>>The one question that has always dogged me is that if she had been put hard to port, would the rudder have been more effective given that there would have been the additional wash from the center screw, or what would have happened if in addition to using the rudder to port around the iceberg her outer propellers were also employed, one going full ahead, and the other going full astern to aid in the turning manuever?<<

An interesting question, but the problem here is that there just wasn't time to do any sort of fancy work by...say...reversing one propellor and leaving the other going full ahead. Unlike some modern ships, the engines could not be directly controlled from the bridge. Orders had to be sent by way of the engine order telegraph and men would have to have been on the throttle controls to work them. When entering port, people would be stationed for that sort of thing, but out in the middle of the Atlantic, they wouldn't be. Since radical manuevers are not routinely expected when way out at sea, there would be no reason to have everybody on station and ready to go.
 

Erik Wood

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Some other things to ponder are:

1: If you damge the hull plating what else are you damaging??

2: Does this damage have a role in the ability of the rest of the structure to take the weight of the flooding compartments around it??

There is a fairly interesting debate going about the split engine orders via email between Dave Brown, Sam Helpern and myself. Hopefully the results will be published at some future point in time.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>1: If you damge the hull plating what else are you damaging??<<

Depending on how hard you hit, anything that the plating happens to be fastened to...like the frames.

>>2: Does this damage have a role in the ability of the rest of the structure to take the weight of the flooding compartments around it??<<

I would tend to think so if something is damaged enough that it can no longer carry the load imposed by the rest of the ship's structure. If any group of frames couldn't carry the load, something else would have to. With the added extra mass of the floodwaters coming in, things don't get better either. They get worse. A lot worse!

Quite an interesting can of worms being opened here when you think about it.
 

Erik Wood

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So, in theory:

The ship would could suffer water intake well within the boundries that she was designed to withstand, but because of the nature of impact was unable to contain said water and the ship would ultimately founder???

Didn't I say this three years ago in Topeka, for two years in Toledo and again in Castine, Maine???
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Didn't I say this three years ago in Topeka, for two years in Toledo and again in Castine, Maine???<<

Yes...and I seem to recall you've been trying to get the same point across here as well. Quite a bit of food for thought here.
 
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