Salt Water, Electrocution, or a Snapped wire?


Jessie M.

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Jan 13, 2019
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So I've been caught between three rather fascinating theories here folks.

We all remember the gentlemen from Cameron's film who was down in the engine room towards the end of the film, right? Upon trying to flip one of the switches back on (I'm assuming it was exposed somewhere) he is electrocuted and as a result the whole ship loses power (Save the emergency lights perhaps - testimony says that these may've been lit for longer, although dimly). That's one possibility for how the power went out.

But stepping aside from Cameron's film we know the ship was obviously flooded by this point and as one of you kind folks pointed out to me - forgive me for I've forgotten their name - salt water is a dead short. Is it possible that at some point salt water might've flooded into this section of the ship and shorted out a vital piece in what kept Titanic's power going for so long, subsequently shutting off the power? Another plausible theory.

And as for the final theory - personally my favorite of the three - is whether or not the power went out as a result of the breakup. Multiple recreations of the sinking show the power going out moments before the breakup, so is it perhaps possible that under the strain of the flooding - just like the rest of the ship - the wires supplying power might've snapped and the rest of the ship followed with it?

I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter forum. :)
 
May 3, 2005
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My theory is that if a '' hot wire ( positive ) '' broke loose and dropped into the salt water, it would case the wire to be ''grounded '' due to the conduction of the salt water, cause a '' short circuit '' and trip the circuit breaker and cut off the electricity to that circuit.

My other theory is that if you were in the salt water and touched a '' hot wire '' you would be electrocuted.
You would be the '' short circuit '' .
I think Titanic used Direct Current with positive wiring and the metal of the ship as the negative .
 
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Rancor

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Jun 23, 2017
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So I've been caught between three rather fascinating theories here folks.

We all remember the gentlemen from Cameron's film who was down in the engine room towards the end of the film, right? Upon trying to flip one of the switches back on (I'm assuming it was exposed somewhere) he is electrocuted and as a result the whole ship loses power (Save the emergency lights perhaps - testimony says that these may've been lit for longer, although dimly). That's one possibility for how the power went out.

But stepping aside from Cameron's film we know the ship was obviously flooded by this point and as one of you kind folks pointed out to me - forgive me for I've forgotten their name - salt water is a dead short. Is it possible that at some point salt water might've flooded into this section of the ship and shorted out a vital piece in what kept Titanic's power going for so long, subsequently shutting off the power? Another plausible theory.

And as for the final theory - personally my favorite of the three - is whether or not the power went out as a result of the breakup. Multiple recreations of the sinking show the power going out moments before the breakup, so is it perhaps possible that under the strain of the flooding - just like the rest of the ship - the wires supplying power might've snapped and the rest of the ship followed with it?

I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter forum. :)
One interesting detail of that sequence in Cameron's film that I only noticed recently is that the electrician isn't electrocuted by resetting the breaker but by a nearby pipe cracking and spraying presumably salt water all over him and the switchboard. The scene is dimly lit so it is hard to see but if you watch it again knowing what to look for you'll see it.

Regarding the flooding of the dynamo room/switchboard area given the angles involved all the boiler rooms would have to be flooded first, so the steam supply would fail and kill the generators before the water shorted out the main switchboard.

My personal opinion on when the power went out is that it went with the breakup. Steam lines and wiring would have been cut as the ship broke in two which would have killed the power pretty much instantly.

There are various theories regarding lights on from the emergency dynamos after the breakup but given the boilers to supply the steam were all in the bow section I remain unconvinced on that one.
 
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