Slowing Titanic's flooding...

Dec 2, 2000
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>>I actually am pretty familiar with steam-driven vessels.<<

So am I, (Retired Navy) and I know how cramped the arrangements were. The vessels contemporary to 1912 and earlier were even worse. What wasn't taken up by a nearly solid bank of boilers and it's assocciated piping arrangements was taken up by coal bunkerage. The higher pressure plants which would help alleviate some of this problem by making it possible to get higher pressures and more power out of smaller boilers was at least a quarter century away.

>>It was a good deal smaller than Titanic and it would have been entirely possible to fit the pumping outfit I described, had there been any reason to do so. Not economic, of course, but possible. <<

I'd be interested in seeing how you could do it on an Olympic class liner.

(NOTE: Apologies to the forum for the blizzard of SPAM posts which were in here. I have since removed them.)
 
Hello everyone! This tread made me think about something... I find it strange that both that the companies which run these ocean liners and the shipyards that built them, considered the machinery and the engines an afterthought. One would think of them as the heart of the ship...
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I find it strange that both that the companies which run these ocean liners and the shipyards that built them, considered the machinery and the engines an afterthought.<<

They were hardly an afterthought. The machinary spaces were the means to the end. And any sort of plant which takes up to 2/3rds of the ships length can hardly be considered an afterthought.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>One would think that they would make the workstations of eingeneers, trimmers and stokers more spacious. <<

Why would you think that? Historically, this has never been the case. The equipment which made the money took pride of place. It was the crew which was regarded as the aftertought.
 

Rusty_S

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Mar 28, 2012
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All one has to do is take a look at the plans for the general engine room layout for both the Recprocating engine room and the Turbine engine room and you can see how cluttered it was. Not only did you have the piping for the steam engines but you also had the piping for the refrigeration system for the cold storage areas of the ship.

While I know this is not exactly historically accurate (I never really finished my conversion of the bland simple plans to detailed plans) you can see from what I did finish for the recprocating engine room that there is pipes of varying dimensions as well as purposes crammed into the reprocating engine room.

Steam Engine Flow diagram.jpg

I would love to see how space could be taken better use of while still using 1910 - 1912 technology. If I recall right amonia based refrigeration systems didnt start showing up till the 1920`s so you cant shrink the refrigeration system down on Titanic to a more compact design cause it would be another 8 years at least till that technology would come about. Given if Titanic didnt sink she could have been retrofitted in the 1920`s with more efficiecnt and smaller systems but I dont want to get onto that whole "what if didnt sink" situation.

I would also agree with Michael, machinery that is important and valuable to the job of basic operation will take presidence over things that are of lesser value. We see this not just in ships but also in all businesses, a auto repair shop for instance has a small tool room and workshop but the largest space is dedicated to the lift or alignment machine because that is the breadwinner and the machinery that makes the most money. With Titanic, they were focusing on getting a large number of passengers from Europe to America in the most economical time. Which is a reason why Titanic was powered by the propulsion system that she was instead of something like Lusitania used. I have to say Titanic did her job well up till she was put up against the side of an iceberg.

Steam Engine Flow diagram.jpg
 

TimTurner

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Dec 11, 2012
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If it's not too late to go back to the idea of unloading the coal, I'm pretty sure that wouldn't have worked at all. Even if they had the manpower on board to do it, they wouldn't have had the shovels or the manway space. The coal is designed to be loaded in by hatch, and offloaded by a team of firemen into the boilers over a period of several days. I can't imagine what it would have been like trying to shove a thousand confused passengers into the boiler rooms and hatchways, trying to manually offload that coal bucket-brigade style. The sheer organization of it would have taken more than two hours. Finally, once the water starts pouring into the boiler rooms, your labor force has to evacuate.

Even if offloading the weight of the coal could have saved the ship, the Titanic was in no position to logistically implement it. They would have ended up with several hundred people trapped in the boiler rooms when the ship sank, trying to squeeze out like people in a crowded theater fire while the ship dragged them down.

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While we're at the crazy theory business, let me add my own... Set fire to the coal bunker at the forward end of Boiler Room 4, and run the #4 boilers at full temp. When the water hits the boilers, the steam explosion might sheer the hull weakened by the coal bunker fire. The ship might have severed at the boiler-room 4-5 bulkhead, between the first two funnels, about 200ft forward of where she actually broke in two. And maybe the stern would have stayed afloat.

Perfect plan, assuming Captain Smith already knew in advance his ship was going to break into and didn't mind setting fire to his ship and intentionality blowing up the boilers. That, and if we fudge the laws of physics a little.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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There were several thousand tons of coal on the ship and offloading it would have taken a few days. They didn't even have a few hours. It's not like you can just open a door and jettison the lot over the side in a few seconds.
 

Scott Mills

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There were several thousand tons of coal on the ship and offloading it would have taken a few days. They didn't even have a few hours. It's not like you can just open a door and jettison the lot over the side in a few seconds.
I guess an interesting thought experiment would be could Olympic have survived similar damage by jettisoning oil after she was converted to an oil burner? Not knowing a damn thing about engineering, and assuming all things are equal (no expanded bulkheads) except for the fuel for the boilers, it seems like the answer would still be no.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I guess an interesting thought experiment would be could Olympic have survived similar damage by jettisoning oil after she was converted to an oil burner?<<

Not really, no. The issue wasn't the mass on the ship, it was the sheer mass which was coming IN to the ship because of the openings in the hull which extended over a greater length and let in a greater volumn of water then the ship could survive.
 

chrisshaw

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Apr 3, 2013
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Titanic sinking

Hello,

I am new to this Titanic form. I was wondering if Boiler Room 6 didn't flood would TItanic have sank or if it would have sunk, how much more time would they have? Second, if the Titanic hit the iceberg head on would it have stayed afloat? Last, if they had gotten damage control to get anything they could find to cover the leaks would that have stopped the Titanic from sinking or at least slowed it down?

Thanks and please reply as soon as you can,

Chris Shaw
 

hopkirk

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Apr 15, 2013
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The short answer is no. In any case, had Titanic sunk on an even keel,her electical systems would have failed within an hour..plunging the ship into darkness, & causing mass panic. The power source for her telegraph was located on the roof of the officers quarters to keep it dry for as long as possible, but even this generator was ultimately powered from below. Her sinking was much delayed by her pumps (& the heroes manning them) Had her boiler rooms and turbine & generators been swamped by an even keel sinking, pumps, lights & Jack Philips telegraph would have stopped working. The crew were well aware of this, & did all they could to delay it for as long as possible. Truly, truly heroic!
 

chrisshaw

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Apr 3, 2013
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You are right about how they were heroes.

[Moderator's note: Edited to remove comments irrelevant to this thread, about a subject being discussed elsewhere. MAB]
 
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Chung Rex

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Dec 25, 2006
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Closing all portholes and windows might delay the time of sinking by about 10 to 20 minutes, to the extent that a few on Collapsible B would have survived.

Dropping the anchor at the bow would certainly reduce the weight of bow, which was important when considering the slow process of sinking at around 1:00 - 1:40.

Closing all (non-watertight) doors may create some temporary air-pockets before they finally flooded. At lease some time could be gained.

Certainly, I doubt that the survivors would not exceed 800 even if the above measures were done, unless the lifeboats were fully filled.
 

Adam Went

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Apr 28, 2003
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Throwing the anchor completely overboard would probably be the way to go, get rid of some of the weight!

Cheers,
Adam.
 

Adam Went

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Apr 28, 2003
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Hi Jake,

My comment was a little bit tongue in cheek, but we do know that the anchors weighed an enormous amount, so if there was a way of removing all of them from the ship, it would have relieved a little bit of pressure on the bow and may have bought a few more minutes for the ship.

But unfortunately I have to agree with some of the previous comments on here; there might have been a few things which could have been done to buy the ship a few more moments but nothing that could have made a notable or significant difference.

Cheers,
Adam.
 

Jake Peterson

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Mar 11, 2012
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Hi Adam:

It's cool. I was just thinking that the anchor chains would drag the ship down just as much as the anchors...which would have just hung freely in the water. I assume they didn't have 2 1/2 miles of anchor chains on the ship? :) lol