Stress Fracture Possibility Or Not


Erik Wood

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Mark,

I can't think of anything specific. Things are rolling along nice. I will be posting a rather at length post later this week. Thanks for the offer.

Erik
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Well, so far there are these suggestions, by Capt. Brown:

I think it might prove instructive to learn where on the hull rivets were renewed over the life of the ship. Some renewal is always occasioned by corrosion, but what we want to know is if there were "nodal points" on the hull that accumulated strains over time sufficient to require renewal of the rivets. This might lead to some interesting conclusions about the hull being greatly strained over a short period of time, as with Titanic.

Also, were there ever cases of the automatic WT doors requiring major servicing?...Was it troublesome, or did it perform well for the life of the ship.

...what happened to the firemen's tunnel, stair tower, and vestibule when the ship was converted to oil? This conversion did away with the need for a bunch of coal sooted firemen to be hidden from the passengers...

I think they are good points and will look out for them.

Best regards,

Mark.
 
M

Morgan Eric Ford

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The subject of this thread has changed a lot since I looked at it last. If the other people here prefer, I'll "butt out".

Mark's post raises a couple of questions.

Do modern passenger ships isolate the crew from the passengers? I know a lot of the crew is there specifically to interact with the passengers but what about the engineering staff? Modern engine rooms are clean compared to coal fired ships but there's still a lot of potential to get dirty and sweaty. The kitchen staff probably get sweaty and dirty too. Can they mingle with passengers on the way to their bunks?

David is probably right about the tunnel being modifed during Olympic's oil conversion. "Anatomy of the Titanic" has a drawing of Olympic after her oil conversion. Looks like the crew areas under the forcastle were converted to third class berths. It appears the staircase was removed and the tunnel is now called a "pipe tunnel".

Regards,

Morgan Ford
 

Erik Wood

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For the most part the only crew that is allowed to mingle with the passengers are hotel staff, stewards, waiters, entertainers, and you basic cashier things of that nature. However, engineers, cooks, cleaners, and for the most part deck seaman (although sometimes it is unavoidable). The ships officers are probably the only trained crew that has the most passenger interaction.

As far as berthing goes ALL crew berthing with the exception of the officers and the Cruise Directors Staff (which includes the doctor and his staff all sleep on the deck above main control for the most part. That is a little different depending on the ship. But all crew sleep in seperate areas of the ship.

Erik
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Morgan, I for one prefer that you stay. Erik is still working on some additional points in regards to his theories and IMO, we need everyone who is a part of this effort from the common deck ape (Me!), with sea time on one hand and inquiry transcripts in the other to the more technically experinced and educated.

BTW, I just bought three different books on Naval architecture so I can be up on some of the more esoteric points that will be raised here.

Cordially,
Mike
 

Erik Wood

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I agree with Mike, please stay Morgan. This thread was used temporarily for use as a article site but now it will be back to the technical stuff.

Erik
 

Erik Wood

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Mark,

What do we know about the watertight bulkheads. Especially the ones in the boiler rooms. If a bulkhead where to go wouldn't it weaken the structure as a whole? So when the deck above began to fill the stell would not be able to support this and cave somewhat. I am looking through my books to see what I can find out. Perhaps you know.

Erik
 

Cal Haines

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Some of us know quite a bit about the bulkheads, especially the ones in the boiler rooms. They are probably one of the better documented parts of the ship.

Of course a failure of a bulkhead would compromise the entire structure. But where is the evidence that one failed? All Barrett saw was a rush of water and that is best explained by the failure of a bunker door, just as the BOT inquiry concluded.

Cal
 

Erik Wood

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Cal,

You are right there is no evidence. This isn't for publication or any thing else. I just have a lead that can't be exactly discussed in public other then it has to do with the breakup.

What I am looking for is the exact weight the bulkhead could have with stood. As well as its ability to adapt to bending and twisting. Then whether it would be a little weakened by this.

I am also looking for how much play way the bulkhead had. What it had been tested at. The weight of the watertight door as well as the weight of the bulkhead (not the frame work connected to it. Just the bulkhead.). I am also looking for the width of the "bending curve" and the length of the "bo curve".

I am also looking for a rough estimate of how much a overhead not supported by a bulkhead could support with out collapsing. I also need to know a rough estimate of how many rivets or the type of weld that connected the bulkhead to the overhead and bulkhead to the deck or keel. As well as the estimated 1912 strengh for both. As well as the amount of pressure and side to side movement that either one could withstand. Rivets would have been sheered at a quarter inch of movement but what about the welds. I also need to know the width and depth of the bunker space before the actual water tight bulkhead begins. The height of the bunker, width of the bunker, gage of steel and how it is held in place. I also need the type of bunker door the weight of the door and all the other dimensions of the door. I also need to know whether it was welded or riveted. As well as if it was connected to the watertigh bulkhead. I also need the type of mechanism was that was used to lower and lift the door and it's weight. I also need the "bending curve" and "bo curve" for the bunker bulkhead that faces the interior of the bulkhead.

On the bulkhead itself I also need how it is held into place on the sides. Depending on the method I need to know the strenghs and weakness of both.

Erik
 

Erik Wood

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I have spent the better part of 2 hours talking with some engineers at Bay Shipbuiding. Our conversations have been pointed really in a couple of directions. The first one was break ups of the ships in general. The second was bulkhead collapse both full and partial. Including that of ships with coal bunkers.

I have spent the better part of a year at a damage control computer trying to iron my theory out and I have yet to have any real luck. Dave and I (With the help of George Behe) have been batting back and forth as to the movements of Andrews and Smith right after the accident as well as Smiths motives for moving the wounded ship. I feel confident enough in what I have found that I am ready to express it publically (at a later date in detail).

I think that I have enough circumstantial evidence to lean an argument in my direction. The problem lies in the remainder of my theory. Which is focused upon Dave and Parks theory of a grounding. My main goal has been to show that a grounding as purposed by Dave and Parks would have caused damage that would echo that of what is thought by most traditionalists, is in the testiomony and would lead to a breakup. So far, through a long and dragged out process that thus far has taken about a year with another two to three expected I have come up with the beginings of a revamp of my orginal theory which I am sure you are all familar with.

It centers around the base of the stair tower in the firemens tunnel, the open seem in Boiler Room 6 and the small hole in Boiler Room 5 and then the mail room. As well as the bunker door and bulkhead in boiler room 6. While there is no evidence of a full scale bulkhead collaspe (and I still believe that one did not take place)I think that there is some circumstansial evidence of a partial structural failure in that general area. Eventually leading up to the collapse of funnel 1 and the splitting of the expansion joint. The weight of water and etc have been taken into account.

I previously made arguments in regards to the forepeak which I orginally believed became non-existent once the ship came into contact with the berg. I now realize that that theory was null and void so it has been abandoned.

I have previously also put forth that the list was due to a "stress fracture" which I now realize is not the right phrase. The eventual breakup of the ship would result in many questions in my brain. Most of which I have satisfied.

A thought has been brought forth by Captain Brown (it may have been me but I don't remember) that ballasting could have had something to do with eventual 5 degree list to port and the even keel sinking. To my knowledge this is the only passenger liner that has sunk by the head on a even keel.

A wounded battle ship in Pearl Harbor managed to sink on a even keel by ballasting and counter flooding. This is something I have been doing a lot of research in. But I have yet to come up with a real concrete theory. If we add that to Dave and Parks grounding theory we may have a completely different theory.

The movements of Andrews and Smith hold the key to what happened and why. Because it's lets us look into the window in there eyes. By being able to locate them in certain places at certain times we can estimate what they saw and what conclusions they came to.

I once said that Andrews "must have known" that the ship suffered a stress event. That I know was not the case now. In fact Captain Smith didn't know either.

This is just a update on my thoughts. I am open to questions or tomato throwing.

Erik
 
Dec 2, 2000
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The only question I have at this point is do we have any evidence that ballesting was even attempted? Given the time constraints they were up against, this may not be the likeliest of scenerios. The change in the list might just as easily be accounted for by differential flooding as water moved from one side of the ship to another, slowing of flooding in one place...depending on what's in the way, and an increase in the rate of flooding in other areas or free surface action in wide open spaces like the cargo holds.

Cordially,
Mike
 

Erik Wood

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Mike,

You are very accurate in your accounts of the port list. However, it is missing two key elements. Once the water was evened the ship would again "loll" to the starboard side. As the ship went down the harder she would lean until she would eventually capsize. That is what the computers tell me anyway.

The main reason I think there may be something to the ballasting is because no other passenger ship that has sunk, sunk on an even keel. They all leaned to the side that was damaged. Then eventually rolled over. The hole in the base of the firemens tunnel was the conduit that gave the water free access to the entire ship. Flooding would have been speratic or not consistent. Doors would have temporarily stopped it at certain points. Then not at others. The majority of the water was coming from the center line in way of the firemens tunnel and eventually up and through in Boiler Room 6. There isn't a real reason for a list.

Unless, you start adding ballast to damaged compartments. In reality Bell had no idea what tanks forward of Boiler Room 6 where intact. The tanks could have had open seems meaning pumping water from outside in, would result in more flooding because it was given free access to the ship.

I am still on the very shaky ground of contending that the list immeidatly following the incident (i.e. when Smith had his conversation with Murdoch and Boxhall on the bridge) was not due TOTALLY to flooding. 8 feet of water in a compartment in a little over 10 minutes is nothing catastrophic, especially if it is watertight. Or at least watertight enough to contain the water for a good hour or so. Which it did. Besides for the most part the water in boiler room 6 was entering through a seem that was probably no more then an 1 inch tall. May have been 10 feet long who knows but not this big gapping hole that some think Barret identifies in his testimony. It would have been very intimidating. I have been in a empty cargo hold when a water main broke and I thought I was gonna die.

To be truthful there is no evidence that ballasting took place, but there isn't any evidence that it didn't either. If it was done the decision was made and it was underway by 1210 that night. If for no other reason then to keep the boat deck as even as possible to prevent loosing half the boats such as the case on the Andrea Doria/Lusitania/Britanic etc. Smith may have wanted a more stable platform to assist in his evcuation.

I have already shot down several parts of that theory but I am letting it float a little longer as I am still awaiting some other folks to get back to me.

Erik
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Firstly, an apology for this info. being so late.

<FONT COLOR="ff0000">Some renewal is always occasioned by corrosion, but what we want to know is if there were "nodal points" on the hull that accumulated strains over time sufficient to require renewal of the rivets. This might lead to some interesting conclusions about the hull being greatly strained over a short period of time, as with Titanic.

As far as I can tell, there weren't really any 'nodal points' on the hull where rivets specifically needed renewing. All I can think of is the stern frame, but the new stern frame after 1926 was not as sound as the old one. Even so, it didn't need that many rivets replacing, only needing one hundred changed at the 1932 survey, which doesn't sound much compared to Berengaria's renewal of TWO THOUSAND rivets during 1933 or 1934. Even when over-fatigued plating at B-deck level occured, the rivets there were noted as still 'appearing quite tight' in those areas, but the 1931 welding brings me memories of some loose rivets near the aft expansion joint.

<FONT COLOR="ff0000">Also, were there ever cases of the automatic WT doors requiring major servicing?...Was it troublesome, or did it perform well for the life of the ship.

I'm not aware of any doors needing major servicing. That doesn't mean it didn't happen though, as there wasn't much on the WT doors. Even Olympic's final four-year freeboard, etc. certification of 1933 didn't to my memory recall any WT door trouble.

It may be of interest to state that there was some wastage in the material of starboard tank space 9 (?) in the double bottom of a minor nature, but that was overcome by good maintainance and I take it was common in a twenty year old vessel?

Best regards,

Mark.
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Mark -- everything you provided regarding Olympic's condition seems perfectly normal for a vessel of its age, construction, and historic period. Wastage of tanks is so common that it is pretty much expected, even today.

It's not surprising that you found no mention of the WT doors. They probably worked well throughout the ship's life as they were essentially vertical shutters.

As I look at the later reports regarding Olympic's condition, I see a vessel that has all of the problems of advanced age. That does not mean, however, that it was not capable of making safe voyages. But, repairs were becoming more and more necessary, the ship had an old-fashioned power plant, and an even more old-fashioned interior layout. I can see why the then Cunard-White Star management elected to scrap "Old Reliable."

There has been some discussion as to why the contract with the ship breaker prevented re-sale of the vessel to another company for restoration to service. This is not an unusual part of a shipbreaking contract when the seller fears that its own old equipment might come back as competition. Perhaps somebody was nosing around, looking for a low purchase price ship to put on a route in competition with Cundard-White Star. I know of two vessels that had "no compete" clauses in their sale documents. One, a Great Lakes ferry, required that the vessel be removed from Lake Erie. This is pretty normal business practice.

-- David G. Brown
 
Jan 5, 2001
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David,

The contract prevented the re-sale because Sir John Jarvis, who bought the Olympic to relieve unemployment at Jarrow, would have wasted his money if Thomas Ward sold the ship on and didn't scrap her. But Cunard WS earlier did consider selling to several companies.

It's unfortunate for me that the depression was as it was. Olympic was admittedly ageing, but she still had some years left in her and it would have been great if she had repeated her distinguished war service in 1939. If traffic levels had been higher, she would have been a successful cruise ship I am sure because of her comfort and fuel-efficiency compared to other ships OF HER AGE (she burned 0.89 tons oil per mile at full speed over 23 knots, but Berengaria burned at 22.5 knots 1.5 tons oil & Aquitania 1.2 tons oil at 22 knots.)

Berengaria by the 1930s, however, was ageing badly. Bulkheads in her boiler rooms were wasting (the boiler arrangement prevented proper inspection), her hull needed two thousand rivets renewed in 1935, which rose to 5,000! in 1936. In 1937 her stern frame castings underwent repair and she was over-fatigued under her expansion joint amidships. (Those details from memory, I don't have the surveys in front of me.) Her bad wiring, which caused a fire and the end of the ship's career, coupled with mechanical problems, forced her withdrawal. She was only 25, one year older than Olympic when she was scrapped, but was scrapped due to necessity I feel, not really because of a lack of traffic (like Olympic's main cause).

Best regards,

Mark.
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Mark -- my point on the breaker's contract was to nip the speculation that forcing the scrapping of Olympic was some sort of plot. I find that romantic notions often overcome reality--and we all seem to love a good conspiracy theory. You suggest it was hard-nosed business to keep a few men working during the depression. That makes perfect sense. No plot, just food on the table.

I have long suspected that the "flapper era" was more responsible for the scrapping of Olympic than its physical condition. All ships more than two decades of age are maintenance hogs. However, the interiors of the Olympic class were designed for a different era. Contrast the stuffy elegance of the first class dining saloon with the smokey exhuberance of a 1920s jazz club. Perhaps more important, plumbing had come indoors by the 1920s while the majority of passengers on the Olympics still had to walk down the hall to the WC. With "modern" ships like Queen Mary already in the planning stages, I can see why "old Reliable" had become an economic white (star) elephant.

--David G. Brown
 

Erik Wood

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A very happy Good Afternoon to you All,

As it would appear that my country has used me to the extent that it wishes I am now home and available for public abuse. I am glad to see a great debate continues in my absense.

Mark,

As always great info. Some food for thought.

Here is some food for thought for all. Have any of you driven a two screw boat or ship. With one screw or shaft being slower or even "less effective" then the other. It will cause a list to the side of the slower screw. Could it be that Titanics port list from the very begining was not anything put the port shaft possibly having a little to much vibration or the blade being not just right.

The reason I ask is I had this happen in my adventures as of late and it dawned on me that during the actual stress incident this could have played a major role in Captain Browns grounding theory.

Erik
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Erik, just out of curiosity, what wreck...uh...ship were you playing with? (Some of the ships the MSC has have probably seen much better days.)

You know, that bit about one shaft not being quite right on the Titanic never even occurred to me. (I can see where the drag would cause such a problem.) I've never heard of any mention of something like that anywhere however. Certainly there were bugs as there are in any new ship, but save for that irritating coal bunker fire, the Titanic's plant appears to have been the one feature that pretty much worked as advertised.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Erik -- Welcome back!

I have driven a twin-screw boat with props of differing diameter and pitch. (When we put them on the blocks, there were three diameters and six pitches among the eight blades of the two props.) You are quite correct that this imballance caused some interesting handling problems. Can't say that I noticed a list, though. Once we standardized the diameters and pitches, the boat did track better and respond better to the rudders. It also ran a hell of a lot smoother!

-- David G. Brown
 

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