Specifics of the Breakup


Mar 22, 2003
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The author of that article did say "I will leave it to the naval architects, computer experts and explorers to prove me right or wrong." He admitted that he did not know what the conditions of those boilers really were.

There may be a few other inaccuracies in the article based on assumptions made, but what I did find interesting was some of the concerns that the engineers had to be considering as the night progressed regarding the keeping up of steam to power the lights and the pumps, especially as the ship trimmed down by the head. This affected the level of water at both ends of the double-ended boilers differently as well as the problems of firing the fires at an angle. It's worth reading.
 
Jun 12, 2004
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Parks: Yes, I understand the stipulations regarding the Non-Disclosure mandate. I expected as such. I was referring to updating me when it does come out. I look forward to seeing it, and, like Mike, I hope it is to be released on DVD. That would be a real jewel to have in my Titanic DVD collection.

As for the boilers, just a couple of observations of my own . . . As a ship or boat sits in water, it drifts, although, perhaps, unnoticeably. If the five boilers from BR #1 are all situated together, they, in all likelihood, fell simultaneously. I also take into account the relative densities of molecular composition. The molecular arrangement of the boilers is far more compact than that of the water, making the boilers heavier, so I presume they dropped straight, perhaps with some slight deviation near the bottom due to water movement. That reminds me . . . Could the compression caused by the water pressure upon descent have caused some distortions to the boiler's physical state? If so, some of what we see might not have happened at or near the surface. Just a supposition. The naval architects would know better than I.

Which makes me wonder, Mike, if I am even qualified to write an article on the breakup. With the studies and computer graphics underway now by those in the field, nothing left, it seems, would be that significant. My original plan was to catalogue those areas (i.e. rooms) involved in the break and describe how/why they were involved. I'm not quite certain now would be a good time to even attempt such an article, at least not until the current developments are shared with us.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Tim,

JMS Naval Architects & Salvage Engineers, operating out of the UConn campus.

Mark,

The single-ended boilers appear to have equalised before the buildup of atmospheres. Why the furnace fronts are cracked and a couple are bent slightly outward requires closer examination, especially since those boilers were supposed to be cold-iron.

Compared against the single-enders, the double-enders in BR#2 show definite implosion damage that is consistent across the visible ends of the 5 boilers. This conclusively proves that BR#2 boilers did not have time to equalise before the water pressure began to exceed the yield strength of the steel.

Parks
 
Jun 12, 2004
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Parks: Of course! My apologies for making the query since the result in question seems to have had been pointed out earlier. I had pulled an all-nighter writing articles for a client and then was up all day. Being tired can make you do funny and/or irrational things.

Although these boilers aren't involved in the break, I'd be curious to know the state of those in BRs #3 through 6. Alas, this information will likely never be obtained.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Which makes me wonder, Mike, if I am even qualified to write an article on the breakup.<<

I don't see any reason why not. You may be wise to hold off a bit until the new information becomes public, but you can still accomplish a lot of homework to rough things out in the meantime. You may want to get a good book on naval architecture or even try googling up some websites for information on the basics.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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quote:

Although these boilers aren't involved in the break

I know what you mean here -- that boilers didn't explode and take out the hull structure -- but the boilers to date are vital clues to understanding the break-up.

quote:

I'd be curious to know the state of those in BRs #3 through 6. Alas, this information will likely never be obtained

Bob Ballard once remarked that no one would ever see the inside of Titanic's Turkish Bath. Never say never. Cameron reached the top of the escape ladder leading into No. 6 Boiler Room in 2005. I predict that we will one day see the interior of BRs 5 & 6, at the very least. It's at the top of the dive "wish list."

There also might be a way into BRs 3 & 4 if those watertight doors remained open throughout the sinking.

Parks​
 
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Matt Pereira

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Parks, I guess my reply didnt get posted in here but what I was saying was that I was under the impression that the single ended boilers were crushed inward somewhat the same as in Boiler room #2, I havent heard till now that there was signs of explosions instead of implosions. Also it is very possible you seen intact doors for the boilers. Im just going off one of the many pictures of the wreck I have and have seen that shows a cup sitting atop the boiler and you can see the door is still there but theres holes in it, looks to me that it rusted away considering I have seen what rusted away metal looks like. You tend to see that alot when your rebuilding old cars.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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quote:

Also it is very possible you seen intact doors for the boilers.

Not just "very possible," but a certainty!

quote:

considering I have seen what rusted away metal looks like. You tend to see that alot when your rebuilding old cars.

So do I. I once specialised in Studebakers (although my oldest car has been a '40 Ford), but my old-car hobby gave way to Titanic research.

Parks​
 
Jun 12, 2004
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Sure enough, thanks to James Cameron, we have!

Jason, you mean that Cameron already made it to the Turkish bath? I would love to see pictures of this, if they managed to take any. The same thing with the squash/racquet court and the pool on F Deck.


quote:

There also might be a way into BRs 3 & 4 if those watertight doors remained open throughout the sinking.

I realize that cutting into the hull might be dangerous, but wouldn't that be easier to get into the BRs than trying to manuever a camera apparatus inside, especially where the decks are flattened and sloped. If those watertight doors are sealed, there might not be any other option. Is there a technological method for gently cutting into metal this fragile without concern of causing excessive damage? If so, an attempt to enter through the outside hull might be the best best. This, of course, is all conditional; I am in no way asserting that it will work or that it is even feasible.​
 
Cameron got inside the Turkish Bath in his final dive special on the Discovery Channel. I believe the DVD is out. But, I know there were some problems with it, so I may be wrong. There were horrid technical difficulties that night.

Regarding cutting into the hull...aren't there laws against taking things or altering the hull itself? I thought that the debris field was fair game but the hull was off-limits.
 
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Just a random thought on the break. I always felt it was due to the bouyancy factor. Water forcing air into the rear spaces creating the bouyancy. With weight falling forward creating stress at the point of fracture. The two opposing forces causing the ship to rend itself apart due to the rearward trapped air combined with the weight in the rear section trying to force itself flat while the front sections were without any bouyancy being full of water and the added weight of everything falling or sliding in that direction. This lends itself to another rambling question that tends to rattle around in my head. What would have been the effect of the crew ,if it was possible, releasing the anchors and chains from the lockers to the final outcome of the ship? Would it have gained valuable time or would it had made no difference? like I said just rambling off stray ideas.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Jason, you mean that Cameron already made it to the Turkish bath?<<

Yeah, he sure did. A remarkable accomplishment and it showcases what can be accomplished with modern ROV's. This was shown on "Last Mysteries of The Titanic" which was a mix of prerecorded material and a live broadcast of on going exploration of the ship.

Thomas, I'm not inclined towards thinking trapped air had much to do with it, if only because it had so many ways to escape. All those ladders, stairways and the like and there were no watertight fittings in the decks like we were used to on the Ranger. (Sealed up voids and tanks notwithstanding.)

I'm more inclined towards looking at severe bending loads on the hull girder which the ship just couldn't stand. With a third of the ship's mass bearing down on a point of the hull's unsupported length being lifted clear of the water, something was bound to break! (And something did!)

I suppose jettisoning the anchors and chains might have bought them a few minutes, but who would they get to volunteer to go down into the chain locker to try and get the thing uncoupled? They would have to let the anchor out just to get to it, and with all that weight bearing down on the attatchment, I doubt that anyone would get it loose unless they let it out then secured it in place with the pelican hooks.

All that aside, who would go down there with the forward part of the ship rapidly flooding? He'ed be a braver man then I am Gunga Din!
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Mar 3, 1998
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Mark,

The steel shell plating is not fragile...it would be a major undertaking to cut through the hull. Besides, cutting into the hull would be a violation of the wreck protection treaty. No legitimate expedition will attempt to cut through the hull.

We already know that we can enter the high side of Boiler Rooms 5 & 6 from Scotland Road. We don't know yet if we can get all the way down to the stokehold level...that would be the focus of the next penetration.

There is enough space between the boilers and the side of the hull on the starboard side to get an ROV into Stokehold 3. If the watertight door never closed, then there is a good chance we could make it into Stokehold 4. If the condition of Britannic's BR6 is any indication, chances are good that we could also make it into Stokehold 5. If THAT watertight door remained open, then we might have access to what I consider to be one of the most intriguing pieces of the sinking puzzle -- No. 4 Boiler Room.

Why would I expect that those watertight doors might be open? Wouldn't I count on the safety float system to release the clutch on those doors when water reached them? Normally, I would, but the example of Britannic caused me to question how well those safety devices worked when put to the test. Neither of the two watertight doors leading aft into Britannic's BR6 closed, even though they should have by design. Granted, there may be other factors that affected the operation of Britannic's doors, but there is enough uncertainty to open the possibility that Titanic's watertight doors aft of BR4 may have never closed.

Of course we need to look inside BRs 5 & 6. We will never fully understand why Titanic sank, though, if we can't determine the cause for the flooding in BR4. We must keep pushing the envelope of exploration farther until we can get those answers.

Parks
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Aug 20, 2000
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Hi Mark,

quote:

Jason, you mean that Cameron already made it to the Turkish bath?

Yep. It was absolutely incredible to see it and good on James Cameron. I recommend checking it out, the next time it is repeated on the Discovery Channel. Parks, Ken Marschall and Don Lynch are shown and were interviewed. So, run, do not walk to your television set when it airs again; it is not to be missed!​
 

Steven Hall

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Aug 8, 2001
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"Of course we need to look inside BRs 5 & 6. We will never fully understand why Titanic sank, though, if we can't determine the cause for the flooding in BR4. We must keep pushing the envelope of exploration farther until we can get those answers."

That's where ya need to go. Bunkers fires and plating (bunkers empty) and inside outside penatrating radar.
It would be interesting to release coloured dye to see water flow. Also a sound device to listen for movement.
 
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Matt Pereira

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Getting into the Boiler room we can see once and for all if the so called bulkhead collasped if the water rushing in was the coal bunker door giving way.
 
Oct 28, 2000
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When I was much, much younger in a far away city...a minor criminal dropped dead. He was hustled to the morgue for a autopsy and then sent to a mortician for burial. On the embalming table something was discovered. "How did you know the man was murdered?" a reporter asked of the embalmer. "By the bullet hole in the back of his head," came the reply.

My point is that the all-knowing forensic doctor did the appropriate "Y" incision, examined the internal organs, and pronounced the death "natural" because that's what he expected to find. He neglected only one thing, to roll the victim over onto his fact to examine his back side.

This forensic error is probably more common than realized, especially in Titanic research. Opinions are formed and only the evidence that fits the opinion is sought. There are mysteries still to be uncovered. Maybe even the maritime equivalent of a bullet hole. Who knows? But, I'll bet the biggest clue as to what happened will come from something never even discussed on any of these forums. Just a hunch...

-- David G. Brown
 
Jun 12, 2004
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quote:

So, run, do not walk to your television set when it airs again; it is not to be missed!

Jason, as I've said, I don't have cable, so I'll have to wait until it comes out on DVD, and I hope it does. Having it for my very own would be very nice.


quote:

We will never fully understand why Titanic sank, though, if we can't determine the cause for the flooding in BR4.

Steve, at the point that the water reached BR #4, the ship was doomed anyway, so I don't think the key as to why or how the Titanic sank lies only in the bulkhead of BR #4. This area does hold some significant clues to the sinking, but I wouldn't rely solely on that location.


quote:

But, I'll bet the biggest clue as to what happened will come from something never even discussed on any of these forums. Just a hunch...

I wouldn't be surprised, David, and it very well likely be something that has been right before our eyes all along.​
 

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