Steam heat

  • Thread starter Catherine S. Ehlers
  • Start date

C

Catherine S. Ehlers

Guest
I recall that the steam from the ship's boilers was vented not long after the collision to reduce the steam to hopefully prevent possible explosions when the cold sea water hit the hot furnaces. In almost every book I've read, it is said that the loud noises heard by many of the survivors were not explosions, even though said survivors said that the noises sounded like explosions to them? However, my question is: When boiler room #6 was flooded right after the collision, there seemed to be no explosion, although the room was thick with fog or steam, to the point that visibility must have been close to zero. At this point in the movie, I heard what seemed to be someone screaming in agony, at the same time they were showing the glowing brightness of an open furnace door. (It's hard to hear this scream over Horner's score. It is much easier to hear this on James Cameron's Titanic Explorer, since the music is not there.) So--what happened in boiler room #6 when the inrushing sea hit the boilers, since this was right after the collision and before the steam was vented?

Cathy
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,242
507
278
Cathy -- After several years studying the flooding pattern of the ship, I have come to the conclusion that boiler room #6 remained dry for approximately 20 minutes after impact. This is contrary to conventional wisdom and will not sit well with some members of the board who have cogent arguments for earlier flooding.

However, from studying the testimony of fireman Beauchamp; and from looking at the down angle of the bow as reported during the first 20 minutes; and from the experiences of other crew and passengers outside the boiler rooms, I do not believe #6 flooded immediately. Beauchamp is quite positive that he drew the fires from his three furnaces and then waited around at the base of the escape stairs for a few minutes before being "sent up." During that time, the only water he saw was coming from inside the starboard bunker behind him against bulkhead E. This corresponds to the same place that Barrett saw water coming into the bunker in boiler room #5.

A period of 20 minutes would have been sufficient for engineers to have "pushed" the steam out of boiler room #6 and into other boilers. This process, I believe, involves filling the boiler with hot feed water so that the water pushes all the seam out and into other boilers. No matter how they did it, "pushing" the steam would have prevented any explosions from inrushing cold ocean water.

The period of the electric light blackout in the engine rooms seems to start with the flooding of boiler room #6. This might be explained by an electrical "short" caused by salt water in the circuits. One thing certain, it took some minutes for men to get lamps from the engine room. In boiler room #5 Barrett describes that light from an lamp allowed them to discover that the feed water was low. This is a potentially dangerous condition for any boiler that can result in explosion. The venting of steam from funnel #1 seems to come immediately afterward. This makes sense because overpressure in the boilers of #5 would have been vented up that funnel.

All of the above is my version of events. Other researchers differ. Captain Erik's two-day event in Topeka last September focused on this area. He should be putting together a report sometime after he returns from sea.

In the meantime, perhaps somone else will give you a dfferent view of events. The initial damage/flooding is one area of the story where there are legitimate differences of opinion.

-- David G. Brown
 

Kyrila Scully

Member
Apr 15, 2001
2,079
8
223
South Florida
Catherine, I know David won't blow his own horn, but if you want a more thorough explanation of how the flooding occurred, run to your nearest bookstore and get his book "Last Log of the Titanic." It's a highly readable account of the last hours of the ship's voyage, well documented and explained in simple language that a teenager can grasp the fascinating theories. I've come to see things in a whole different perspective after reading the book. It's one of my "must have on desert island" books. I guarantee you will be pleased with the book and come away with a vivid understanding of the actions that took place that night. And you will be able to confidently articulate to others the information you read.

All the best,
Kyrila
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,242
507
278
Kyrila -- I'll be shipping my undying gratitude to you for those kind words about my book..as soon as I can find a carton big enough. Thanks, you made my day.

--David G. Brown
 

Kyrila Scully

Member
Apr 15, 2001
2,079
8
223
South Florida
I'll notify the postman to wear his back brace that day. (Any time! When someone can explain technical stuff in a way my feeble brain can grasp and make ME feel like I know what I'm talking about to someone else, well, I'm a fan for life.)

Kyrila
 
C

Catherine S. Ehlers

Guest
Thanks for the excellent points made. David, I shall have to get your book. But tell me, does this mean that Cameron changed the facts here by having stokers wading through waist-deep water as the watertight doors began to descend with Stoker Barrett yelling at them,"Get through the doors! They're closing the doors!" As done in the movie, it honestly looks like one of the boiler rooms had water pouring in like a tidal wave immediately after the berg hit. I will withhold judgment until I've seen/heard/read all possibilities.

Cathy
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,242
507
278
Cathy -- Cameron was making a movie. His purpose was to entertain and one way of doing that was to create exciting visual presentations. I do not believe that his scene was historically accurate, but that is no serious matter. Viewers got a taste of the pit-of-the-stomach excitement that comes when things go really wrong at sea.

My personal belief after studying the testimony and the plans of the ship are that Barrett was incorrect about his location. He said water came in at a distance of about four feet from him...and that water soaked him...yet he claimed to have immediately ducked beneath a closing WT door that was located just slightly to one side of the ship's centerline. My sense of the matter is that he ducked from the bunker area of hold #3 back into boiler room #6. That bunker area was damaged by ice and hold #3 was quick to flood. If so, his trip through an open manual WT door and beneath the closing auto WT door must have been far more exciting than anything Cameron presented on screen.

Expect Cal Haines to argue with me regarding Barrett's location at impact. And, please give his arguments the same attention as you have given mine. But, even more important, read the original words spoken by the people involved. Get a drawing of Titanic's tank top deck and make notes on it as you read Beauchamp and Barret. Maybe you will find some small detail that has been overlooked and which is the key to unlocking one of Titanic's many mysteries.

--David G. Brown
 

Similar threads