Specifics of the Breakup


Jun 12, 2004
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(Continued from "Dome Theories" thread)

Mike,

I'd like to think that everything is important when gradually putting together an extremely large ongoing puzzle as the Titanic and its occupants, but I know what you mean.

As for the random, unpredictable events rolling together inside during the breakup, no argument from me. I'd just like to create a plausible picture of what most likely happened. I can't do that without taking into account all of the hydrodynamic forces that were at play that night. I can perhaps make some general descriptions, but as to ascertain exactly what happened and when within ever single room will get . . . tedious at best. As you know, though, I am meticulous and adhere to detail, even it may or may not be that important.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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One factor you might want to take a look at would be the weight of the water coming in forward, the stern being lifted clear of the water, and the bending loads which were imposed on the structure of the ship.

For my own money, I think the breakup was the end result of a series of failures which started with the primary damage. The gounding/allision postulated by David Brown and Parks Stephenson in all likelyhood caused some signifigent damage not only to the hull plating, but the framing as well so that they could no longer support the loads being imposed on them. As something broke, something else broke until finally, the hull couldn't take any more.

This, in my opinion, is where somebody better versed in naval architecture then I am can add something useful since such a person would better understand how each part of the structure depended on the rest for it's integrity.

I think you're right in that it'll get tedious, but that's just the nature of the beast. If it results in a better understanding of what happened, I'll take it.
 
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Matt Pereira

Guest
Michael it also didnt help that the aft expansion joint was in the area of the break. A small feature given to releave stresses of the upper decks in rough seas could have been one of the first if not the first in a series of failings that ended up in the break up of Titanic.

It also didnt help to have the Ventilation shaft for the main engines, the D-Deck dinning saloon, among other locations in the general location of the breakup of the ship that were wide open spaces that would have without a doubt weakened the ship.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Another show is going to be run sometime later this year on the History Channel regarding this subject. The strength of Titanic's hull in particular will be analysed by naval architects, using a computer model developed for this purpose. I think that you will be surprised by their conclusions.

Parks
 
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Jun 12, 2004
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First of all, hi, Parks. It's been two years. I hope you're doing well. I can see you've been busy. Do you remember me?

As you've no doubt read, I am considering on taking my old article delineating the rooms affected by the break and stretch it out into an article describing (hopefully) what happened inside as opposed to the outside. I saw your recent simulation and I tend to see the logic in what you've expressed. It correlates with the wreck, too. I would appreciate any help, guidance, advice that you'd be willing to provide me one this. As Michael said, I'd be focusing on the forensics, although I don't have a background. I merely wanted to describe, in detail what happened in the area of the break during the break. Since you're more up on this than I at this point (I need to catch up on my reading and other information), could you share with me any aspect of the break that hasn't yet been covered? It would be a waste of time for me to cover what has already been covered.

Alas, I don't get cable, so I am unable to view the Discovery special. If you can share the highlights with me, I would again appreciate it.

As for the open spaces near the aft expansion joint, I had previously stated that they formed a weakness (I believe) that render that part of the ship especially vulnerable.

The break up as the end result of a serious of failures? Yes, there was obviously a chain reaction, an ongoing cause-and-effect between reactions that led to the final breakup. That is one aspect I would illustrate to lead up to the breakup, although the bulk of the article will revolve around the breakup itself.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Mark,

Neither Sam nor I can discuss the specifics of the show before the broadcast date...we are both bound by Non-Disclosure Agreements. Suffice it to say that Lone Wolf Productions commissioned a respected naval architectural firm in Groton, CT, to construct a computer model against which several scenarios could be run. The model was designed to measure stresses in the hull structure and predict yield points. The results of their analysis will form the core of the programme. That's about as much as I can say at this point. We can certainly talk about it afterward.

I will say, though, that the results of the analysis changed the original tenor of the show...what will eventually broadcast is not what the producers originally pitched to the network. Because of this the broadcast date was moved from this past week (anniversary of the sinking) to some point in the future (hopefully, this year).

Parks
 
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Timothy Trower

Guest
Have you gentlemen (and ladies) read an article in the current Commutator by Alan New, titled "Titanic's Sinking, a Steam Engineer's Perspective"?

He makes a very persuasive and plausible argument that the boilers in boiler room No. 2 suddenly and catastrophically exploded, blowing out the bulkhead between No. 2 and No. 1; cutting electrical power nearly immediately and blowing out the overhead decks, blowing out the hull shell plating and badly damaging the double bottom and keel in the area between the end of the boilers in No. 2 and No. 1. He also speculates that the boilers in No. 1 would have been blown into the bulkhead between the engine room and No. 1 -- and points out that the boilers on the bottom have no uptakes, smokeboxes and lagging -- all of which again he theorizes was a result of the boilers in No. 2 exploding.

Given this condition, there would have been no structural integrity at the critical break point, and the hull would easily have broken.

I'm not sure I buy the entire argument, but his perspective as a steam engineer adds something new to the discussion.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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I hope this show will be put out on DVD or vidio as soon as it airs. I would also hope that the computer model can be posted on Parks' website assuming he can get the permissions to do so. From the tone of what he posted, I'm gathering that some new and important foresics ground was broken here.

Tim, I've seen the article you mentioned and I'm a bit skeptical as well, albit in what I hope is a healthy fashion. The reason for this is because the boilers which are exposed if I recall correctly are from Boiler Room Two and show no signs of an explosion that I'm aware of. However, I could be missing something too.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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quote:

He makes a very persuasive and plausible argument that the boilers in boiler room No. 2 suddenly and catastrophically exploded

The problem with this theory is that we have imagery of the No. 2 boilers still sitting in their beds, with evidence that they imploded to a certain degree (the endcaps are bowed inward). I hate to say it, but forensic evidence conclusively proves that theory to be false.

The only evidence I have seen of any explosion of boilers has been the single-ended boilers of No. 1 boiler room, which lie in a loose grouping in the debris field. Even then, the "explosion would have been slight...just enough to fracture the furnace fronts of two of the boilers and bend them only slightly outward.

Parks​
 
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Matt Pereira

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Parks, I was going to say the same thing. The boilers in Boiler Room #2 looks to be in good shape didnt look to have exploded, imploaded maybe since most of the boilers from Boiler Room #1 were crushed inward somewhat. Only thing is Boilers from Boiler Room #1 that was found in the debris field. I didnt know that they had signs of exploding. I know some of the furnaces doors were half rusted away but didnt know that. If thats the case, then I dont think that would explain for a fairly clean break in the keel and the double bottom. I can see the exploding boiler theory and the reasion why the boilers are all spread out. But the boilers could have stayed attached and water turbulance as the stern sank spun the boilers loose and in all directions.
 
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Timothy Trower

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Ah, there was a missing part to the puzzle. I wasn't aware that the boilers in No. 2 had been imaged ... that makes all the difference in the world. Thanks for the clarification.
 
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Matt Pereira

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Timothy the boilers in the bow that is at the tear that is Boiler Room #2. They were imaged even in GOTA.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Matt,

Your message above was a little confusing. The single-ended boilers are not crushed inward at all. If anything, they show plating bent slightly outward. Also, those boilers are not all spread out...they form a relatively tight grouping, when taken in the context of the 2-mile drop from the surface. My belief is that the grouping of single-ended boilers marks the spot above which Titanic sank, give or take a few hundred feet to account for some drift during their long plunge to the ocean floor.

Also, the furnace doors are not rusted away...being of lighter steel, they were torn off during the sinking. I had a close-up look at one of the furnace door assemblies sitting on the ocean floor during my dive and it was entirely intact, save for the fact that it was no longer attached to its boiler.

The difference in the condition of the boilers between Nos. 1 & 2 boiler rooms gives us valuable insight into the manner of the break-up. It also supports the contention that the break-up happened at or within a hundred feet or so of the surface.

Parks
 
Mar 18, 2000
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The article in the Commutator:

Though I found it interesting, much of it felt like "I think this is what happened", but with few facts to prove anything. I'm not saying the author was wrong - he does make some good points - just that much of it was supposition.

With any luck, I will have the History Channel on my TV by the time this program airs!
 
Jul 12, 2005
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Does anyone know about the Alford company supplying equipment for the Titanic's boiler room? When I got to view and handle the Titanic steel at the University of Missouri--Rolla in 1996, there was a piece of metal with the word "Alford" on it. Thanks! Robert H. Gibbons
 

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