More on the angle of breakup question


Tom Pappas

I'm sure Edward Wilding knew off the top of his head what stresses the boiler mounts were engineered for.

But all of his concerns would have been with a dry structure, i.e., loading under normal operating conditions.

But when Titanic trimmed down by the head and subsequently went to the bottom, the spaces containing the boilers were all flooded, bringing into play a somewhat different set of coefficients:

1. The metal of the boiler structure itself would have been buoyed up in an amount equal to the mass of the water it displaced (Archimedes).

2. There may have been residual steam in the boiler tubes, creating some buoyancy when they were immersed. Obviously, this advantage would be negated as the ambient pressure increased.

Of course, we can't know to what degree (pun) this would have affected the break-loose angle, because we don't have enough of the numbers. But it was not negligible, and would have had a measurable effect on advancing that angle beyond Wilding's postulation.
Mar 3, 1998

In another thread, you said that Bill Garzke was an accomplished architect and therefore knew of what he spoke when he discussed damage control. Are you now saying that Edward Wilding, who was as or even more accomplished in his art as Garzke, did not take into account the effect of submersion? I have only taken a few classes in naval architecture, but even my textbooks outlined formulae for calculating various hydrodynamic effects acting within a hull during flooding. I would expect that H&W's senior naval architect would have that same basic information in his knowledge base. Therefore, I will respectfully disagree with your fundamental supposition and stay with my belief that Wilding knew whereof he spoke when testifying before the Wreck Commission.


Tom Pappas

Testimony of Edward Wilding

20915. Some Witnesses spoke of noises, and some of them suggested that the noises might have been caused by the machinery falling forward when she got tipped up considerably. Do you think there is anything in that? - The boilers might have moved; I do not think the machinery did.

The Commissioner: It was thought the boilers had got loose from their seats.

20916. (Mr. Laing.) Yes. (To the Witness.) Is that a reasonable theory? - When the ship was about 35 degrees by the head.

20917. That might have happened? - When the bow was down so that her stern was up, so that the slope fore and aft of the ship was about 35 degrees.

Now, it seems to me that when the ship's trim reached 35 degrees (in Mr. Wilding's estimation no breakup occurred), some of the boilers would have been in flooded compartments (4-6), and some still dry(1-3). Considering the precision with which he answered questions put by the Commission generally, I find it problematical that he would lump them together for the purpose of this answer.

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