Little Air Pockets


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Dave Hudson

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This question has been nagging me for a while. I realize that the bow section was almost entirly full of water when it sank, but what about the small spaces that didn't flood?

For example, take the wardrobe of suite B 54 (Ismay's bedroom). This room would have flooded relativly slowly. Naturally, the wardrobe would have flooded through the door. However, there had to have been at least a six inch gap between the top of the door sill and the ceiling. Where did that six inches of air go? Certainly the ceiling didn't implode. What happened?

Any help would be appriciated.

David
 

Paul Rogers

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Hi David.

I think I'll have an uninformed stab at this one, and then let the experts advise on the real facts!
happy.gif


With the water pressure at that depth, the 6 inch air pocket at the top of Ismay's wardrobe would no longer be six inches deep. I'd imagine that it would be squished into a very small volume indeed. Given that pressure, I'd have thought it likely therefore that the ceiling would have imploded.

Also, as the ship sank at an angle, I doubt that there would be as much of an air gap as 6 inches, as the water would have flooded into the wardrobe at an angle as well... mmm, I think I just lost the plot with this explanation, but I hope you can see where I'm coming from.

Mind you, I think David's raised an interesting question here. I'd imagine that the majority of trapped air within the wreck would have leaked out over time, but I wonder if it's beyond possibility that small air pockets do indeed still exist. If so, where would be the most likely locations?

Regards,
Paul.
 
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Posted by David Hudson on Sunday, 12 May, 2002 - 8:48 pm:

This question has been nagging me for a while. I realize that the bow section was almost entirly full of water when it sank, but what about the small spaces that didn't flood?

For example, take the wardrobe of suite B 54 (Ismay's bedroom). This room would have flooded relativly slowly. Naturally, the wardrobe would have flooded through the door. However, there had to have been at least a six inch gap between the top of the door sill and the ceiling. Where did that six inches of air go? Certainly the ceiling didn't implode. What happened? -------------------- -------------------- -------------------- ------------------

--------------- Hi David,

Please keep in mind this is coming from a sheer layman when it comes to stuff like this but from what I saw about what happened to the stern section in "Answers from the Abyss", that pocket you mentioned would have tried to find an avenue of escape, no matter how small....how do you know the ceiling didn't implode to let the air out?, it had to go someplace.

Anybody?

Regards, Bill
 

Cal Haines

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David wrote:
> ... what about the small spaces that didn't flood? ... there had to have been at least a six inch gap between the top of the door sill and the ceiling. Where did that six inches of air go? Certainly the ceiling didn't implode. What happened? ...

Hi David,

In a nutshell, the air would be compressed into a film a fraction of an inch thick on the ceiling and it would then dissolve into the contacting water--the nitrogen and oxygen in the air will react with elements in the sea water and be absorbed. No bubbles of trapped air from 1912 remain in the wreck. As long a water could move in as the air compressed nothing will implode.

Bill wrote:
>> ... from what I saw about what happened to the stern section in "Answers from the Abyss", that pocket you mentioned would have tried to find an avenue of escape, no matter how small....how do you know the ceiling didn't implode to let the air out?, it had to go someplace.

Hi Bill,

That statement from "Answers from the Abyss" is one of the most outrageous things I have heard, engineering-wise, about Titanic. The "expert" (Garzke, if I'm not mistaken) made some statement to the effect that the air trapped in the stern was compressed until, at some point, it burst out with terrific force, doing all sorts of damage to the stern, yadda-yadda. That is totally wrong! If water can enter a given space on a sinking vessel, it will compress the trapped air. The air pressure goes up to match the water pressure, the volume occupied by the air goes down, everything stays in balance. The problem occurs when the water can't enter. Then the air pressure can't rise to balance to the outside pressure. That's because the only way for the air pressure to rise is for the "bubble" of air to decrease in volume (or heat up, but that's not an option), it can only do that if water can come an and take up some of the space. When the container is sealed the air pressure can't change to match the external pressure. At some point the external pressure is great enough to crush the container, which usually means that it looses it's seal and the air can escape, but it's the water pressure that does the damage, not the air. You can take a balloon full of air as deep as you like and it will not explode nor be crushed because it can adjust it's volume and thus the air pressure in the balloon to match the water pressure.

Cal
 

Dave Hudson

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Apr 25, 2001
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Cal,

Thanks a lot for that information. Fascinating stuff.

I heard somewhere else on the board that once the air in the stern escaped, it would have been compressed into tiny little bubbles. Somehow, these bubbles transferred into heat and it temporarily warmed the water around the swimmers, which was mentioned in some accounts. It was posted by someone who knew what they were talking about, and I'm sure the actual information was much different. I've probably butchered the whole thing. Maybe someone could tell me what I'm talking about, cause I sure don't (lol).

happy.gif


David
 

Kyrila Scully

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Yes, Cal, thanks for the excellent explanation so that even the youngest posters on ET (and pea brains like me!) can understand. Wow! Amazing!

Kyrila
 
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<font color="#006600">how do you know the ceiling didn't implode to let the air out?,

I've actually seen the overhead to Ismay's cabins and it wasn't imploded. Nor was the small closed (jewelry?) box that has survived on one of the wardrobe shelves.

Parks
 
Sep 20, 2000
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Yeah ... what Cal said! :^)

Provided there's sufficient free exchange, a fluid interface like water and air would simply equalize in response to changing pressure without adversely affecting immersed structures. Plus, since gases exhibit solution responses *opposite* those of solids and liquids in relation to temperature, pressure and agitation, the sinking would actually facilitate the dissolving of the air into the water -- rising pressures, decreasing temperatures, and a gradual cessation of agitation. (Though the ship might have "burped" a little when it hit bottom.) Diffusion of that solution into the surrounding sea water would finish the job.

That's precisely why soda pop doesn't fizz until it's opened (or heated or shook up). The pressurized gas is in equilibrium with the dissolved gas in the soft drink.

Note also the interesting phenomenon of the wine versus champagne bottles found in the debris field. The wine bottles basically popped their tops -- the corks imploded under the pressure. (If they hadn't, the bottles might well have shattered.) But many of the champagne bottles were found intact -- the internal pressure of their carbonation was apparently sufficient to maintain structural integrity.

Cheers,
John
 
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