Openings in F Deck -- how did they affect the rate of flooding?


Jay Roches

Member
Apr 14, 2012
161
56
93
While looking at the Titanic Explorer plans (the Beveridge plans, licensed by Discovery Channel) for another post, I noticed something about the nature of F deck (the highest deck with watertight doors throughout the ship) that seemed intriguing. I'm sure I'm not the first, but it was interesting to note that there seems to be a correlation between how quickly a compartment flooded and the nature of the openings on F deck. In order for flooding to progress below F deck into the boiler and engine rooms, it would have to have a way down. There must be a way down for all the compartments (pipes? machinery? physical damage to the BR casings and fidleys? ash ejectors?), but many have a stairwell:

(nb: when I say "F deck" I mean the steel deck itself, so "above F deck" means "on the floor in the area people called F deck", and so on)

Compartment (* means damaged in collision)
*1 (bow to WTB A) - flooding only occurred in the forepeak above the forepeak tank (which was damaged) after the bow section was flooded
*2 (WTB A-B, Hold 1) - fireman's spiral staircases
*3 (B-C, Hold 2) - stairs to G deck in 3rd class
*4 (C-D, Hold 3) - stairs down to mail room, squash court (the WTB bulges aft to include the squash court stairwell)
*5 (D-E, Boiler Room 6) - no stairs (stairs to E deck in 3rd class)
6 (E-F, BR 5) - no stairs (stairs up to E deck from stewards' linen stores)
7 (F-G, BR 4) - no stairs (stairs up to E deck from Turkish bath)
8 (G-H, BR 3) - no stairs
9 (H-J, there is no I, BR 2) - no stairs
10 (J-K, BR 1) - no stairs
11 (K-L, Reciprocating engines) - no stairs
12 (L-M, Turbine engines) - no stairs
13 (M-N, Electric plant) - stairs into refrigerated cargo
14 (N-O) - stairs in 3rd class, stairs to engine rooms
15 (O-P) - stairs in 3rd class
16 (P-stern) - no stairs

According to this Halpern article, based on H&W architect Edward Wilding's testimony, once BR 5 and 4 (the first two aft of the damage) are flooded, the stern is out of the water, the forecastle is below water, and the ship is essentially doomed. So, we really only need to consider those two rooms in addition to the ones that were actually damaged.

All the damaged compartments except the forepeak have a clear vertical passage for water. They would have flooded quickly as the ship took on weight, without any effect of a 'semi-watertight deck'.
In compartment 5, with BR 6, once the water reached the level of G deck it was able to progress via the squash racket court stairs up to F deck, and flood the squash court (as passengers described), fill up the top of that compartment and begin flooding over E deck.

In compartments 6 and 7, containing BR 5 and 4, F deck does not have any stairways. So, as the weight of the water in the damaged compartments pulled the waterline down, water traveled across E deck and then down into F deck. It was able to get down through E deck into F deck, but there were no large openings going to the boiler rooms. That may have slowed flooding of BR 5 and 4, and since it seems that the 'rate-limiting step' in the sinking of Titanic is the flooding of those two rooms, the ship, I postulate, remained afloat longer than it would had there been stairways leading from F deck down in compartments 6 and 7.

I also recall a statement -- I should be looking these up, sorry -- that the swimming pool was not flooded quite late. The layout on F deck in compartment 6 means that water has to get from the stewards' staircase on the port side forward essentially all the way aft to the bulkhead before it reaches a non-water-tight door that leads to the starboard portion of that deck, which includes the swimming pool. So there might have been water on E deck above the swimming pool and water on F deck on the port side but not starboard, at least for a short time.

So -- did the design of F deck in the crucial spaces above the boiler rooms delay the sinking of the ship?

Again, I'm sure the water found a way into boiler rooms 4 and 5. It might have been from above. It might have come through the damaged double bottom. It might have come through the ash ejectors. But it did not have a stairwell -- an opening in the deck of well more than twice the twelve square feet of original damage. So F deck may have been 'semi-watertight' and protected the ship. It may have been that effect that made the delay between the initial damage and the flooding of boiler room 4 and 5 (beginning around 1 am) so long.

Ah, well, sorry this is rather long, and rather short on references. It could be explained better with pictures, but I don't want to alter any images without permission (are the 1912-era plans out of copyright?). And I'm not an engineer [insert physical scientist's anti-engineer joke here], so I may be drastically wrong.
 

Jake Peterson

Member
Mar 11, 2012
329
2
73
Iowa, USA
No. it's a great analysis. I remember reading in "The Night Lives On" that Boiler Rm 4 had water seeping up from the floor with damage independent of the first 5 compartments. That probably leads credence to the grounding theory.

You say that was around 1 a.m.? Wonder how long it would have stayed afloat, had water not crept up from below? I'm thinking an additional half-hour? so 30 minutes from 2:20 would be 2:50, maybe close to 3 a.m. that the ship would go down. It still would mean no ships on the scene, since Carpathia doesn't come until 3:30. Maybe if this scenario actually played out, Californian, MT Temple, et al. would have made it to help.

But now, I'm just speculating :)
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,654
581
483
Easley South Carolina
>>"The Night Lives On" that Boiler Rm 4 had water seeping up from the floor with damage independent of the first 5 compartments. That probably leads credence to the grounding theory.<<

Possibly though as far as I know, niether Captain Brown nor Parks Stephenson who proposed the grounding theory expected to see any evidence of grounding damage that far back. Whether or not they have revised their ideas since then is something I'm going to have to stand back on. They can speak to that. I can't.

The water coming up could have any number of reasons for it, from seams opening up as more stress was imposed on the hull girder to existing grounding damage, to water cascading down unseen from deck penetrations from above such as vents, and wireways.
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,242
527
278
Jake brings up some good questions, especially about boiler room #4.

The idea that Titanic "grounded" on the iceberg is simply a better fit to the available data and to the way ships maneuver than the traditional sideswipe. Beyond that, nothing much changes. The damage that sank the ship should still be where fireman Barrett's eyewitness account put it in the seam above where the vertical sides met the horizontal bottom.

If the interaction was that of a grounding, it is highly probable that the weight and momentum of Titanic started an oscillating motion in the iceberg. It would have been somewhat like a pendulum. And, if that happened just right, it is possible that contact along the bottom was lost when the top of the berg tilted toward the "bluff of the bow" to deposit that ice in the well deck. Perhaps, the reverse swing occurred while boiler room #4 was passing. Somethow, though, I tend to doubt this second contact with the berg was in the nature of a grounding. I see it as more likely a true sideswipe because of ice deposited in open portholes and the appearance of water and ice on some open decks above.

There is some anecdotal support for supposing a second impact quite separate from the initial contacts. Aanother hard "bump" took place in way of boiler room #4 that caused a small avalanche of coal to pile around trimmer Cavelle's legs. I suspect this started (nautical term for "opened") a small amount of seam located beneath the stoker plates where the ingress could go unnoticed for some time.

I find it interesting that all of the initial flooding is upward, including fireman Barrett's "rush" of water into boiler room #5. He categorically denied any water was overtopping bulkhead E at the time of that "rush" and his escape on deck. I also find it significant that up until that "rush" of water boiler room #5 was apparently totally dry and functional. Consider that Barrett had opened the manhole which trapped engineer Shepherd so that work could be done on the plumbing below (presumably the bilge eduction system). Such work could never have been done if the space had flooded with freezing seawater. And, it is equally improbable that this "rush" came from the failure of a bunker door because we learn from fireman Beauchamps testimony that the bunkers were not water tight. Beauchamps saw water rising out of the bunker at the after end of boiler room #6 while he was raking fires. That water had to have come up from beneath the stoker plates, proving the bunkers could not hold back any flooding.

-- David G. Brown
 

Jake Peterson

Member
Mar 11, 2012
329
2
73
Iowa, USA
If the interaction was that of a grounding, it is highly probable that the weight and momentum of Titanic started an oscillating motion in the iceberg. It would have been somewhat like a pendulum. And, if that happened just right, it is possible that contact along the bottom was lost when the top of the berg tilted toward the "bluff of the bow" to deposit that ice in the well deck. Perhaps, the reverse swing occurred while boiler room #4 was passing
That's what I was thinking. We don't know how far the ice jutted out either above or below water. Could it be possible that BR 4 had very slight damage that went unnoticed until late in the sinking? Also, why do we say BR 4 has "independent damage"? I mean, it had to have come from hitting the iceberg somehow. I think BR 4 was damaged by the berg, but by some miraculous miracle, didn't actually start flooding until close to 1. What if it started flooding along with the first 5 compartments? I don't think anyone would have had a chance.
 

Scott Mills

Member
Jul 10, 2008
670
83
133
43
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
I think "independent damage" refers to damage that is isolated to one compartment.

So boiler room 5 and 6 (I am not good with these details so forgive me if I'm wrong) had damage that stretched between both compartments.

So instead of a long seam of displaced plates, there would be only localized damage in br4.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,654
581
483
Easley South Carolina
>>I mean, it had to have come from hitting the iceberg somehow. <<

Not necessarily. Something could have opened up as a consequence of the bending loads imposed on the hull girder by the flooding of the ship. This is sometimes referred to as secondary damage because it wasn't caused directly by the main event which caused the first damage to the hull.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Jake Peterson

Member
Mar 11, 2012
329
2
73
Iowa, USA
yeah, after I submitted that, I started thinking more about that. If the ship was bending down, the sides could have bent outward, causing water to flood in from the outside.
 

Bags

Member
Mar 20, 2012
38
0
46
Ottawa, Canada
hmmmm just had a thought... Instead of the plates bending outward, is it possible that the shear strength of the rivets was exceeded by the bending instead? This would permit water to begin a slow ingress as the rivets would likely fail individually allowing the plates to slide along each other. Initially at least, eventually the loads would exceed the design limits and the structure would fail completely.

This might account for the delay in flooding in the after parts of the boiler/engine room compartments, as well the sudden surge of water.

Regards,

D
 

Jane Smith

ShipCollector
Member
Aug 16, 2018
87
7
38
US East Coast
Hey guys. I’m just wondering about this. How do you think the Turkish Bath and Swimming Pool flooded? Water from Scotland Road pouring down the stairs or open portholes. I’m wondering this, since I’m working on a story
 
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
Hey guys. I’m just wondering about this. How do you think the Turkish Bath and Swimming Pool flooded? Water from Scotland Road pouring down the stairs or open portholes. I’m wondering this, since I’m working on a story


Mr. Wheat was a steward. His cabin was "on F-deck down by the Turkish baths." There was a staircase that led from the Turkish baths up to E-deck. He climbed the staircase. There were two corridors that led forward (port and starboard side). Mr. Wheat went down the starboard side corridor and looked down a small staircase which led to the mail room. He saw the water down there was rapidly rising up to E-deck.


edeck1b.png




The water rose up the narrow staircase and spilt onto E-deck. The ship was listing slightly to starboard and this would allow the water to flood the starboard side corridor first and it initially avoided the port side corridor (Scotland road).

Q - Was it coming along that working alleyway (Scotland road)?
A - No.
Q - Then where was it coming?
A - From the starboard side. The working alleyway was quite dry.


The ship had a slight list to starboard and was settling down as far as E-deck. This would allow the water to spill up the corridor on E-deck on the starboard side.



deckstarboard.png




Mr. Wheat then saw the water flood up the corridor and down into the staircase that led to the Turkish baths.



edeck1a.png


He walked down the staircase as the water brushed down the steps and into the Turkish bath area. There were two watertight doors that divided the Turkish baths and the Swimming pool area.



fdeck2.png


He assisted in closing the doors to keep the swimming pool area dry. When the ship settled lower the water would rush down the staircase at greater volume and flood the Turkish bath area.


fdeck3.png


The swimming pool area would flood some time afterwards. There was a narrow staircase on the port side that led down to the swimming pool / linen drying room. As soon as the ship had settled low enough and listed to port the water would rush down the staircase and flood that section as well.


.
 

Similar threads

Similar threads