Stupid question regarding stern split


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Dom Francis Joeseph Brown

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OK - only my second post (and probably a really dumb one)...

If Titanic split apart on the surface (splitting apart like a toilet roll being bent, rather than a top-down split), and the bow then broke off while the stern was still fairly unflooded and bouyant, when the stern settled back briefly, would the water tight doors not have closed automatically due to water reaching their floats, and activating the closing mechanism?

I guess the stern would still have sunk due to the immense weight of the engines?
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>would the water tight doors not have closed automatically due to water reaching their floats, and activating the closing mechanism?<<

They may have if they weren't closed by this time already. Can't say as I really know. It's all academic anyway as the damage caused by the break was catastrophic enough that there was no real possibilty of the stern remaining afloat...and it didn't.
 

Mark Draper

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Aug 24, 2001
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Also given the bottom up version Roy Mengot shows on his site. The closing of the doors wouldn't have changed anything, the massive opening atthe break and torn off shell plating on the starboard side and port side would have let water pour in rapidly.

The movie was on the other night, and it was weird trying to imagine what happenned using this new version of the breakup. IMO it was alot more violent than the top down version showed, the shredding of the hull plates from the decks, and when the stern began to tilt up, it then was dragged to starboard as starboard shell was ripped away. Wow!
 
Jun 8, 2005
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I'm pretty sure that straight after the collision, all the doors were closed as standard procedure. For a while, they thought it might help to open all the doors (evening out the water), but Im sure they never did it.

Claire
 

Mark Draper

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I saw a documentary where a model was tested with the doors open. There would be a far worse sinking with Titanic capsizing and sinking alot faster than she acctualy did.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>For a while, they thought it might help to open all the doors (evening out the water), but Im sure they never did it.<<

As far as I know, this thought never occured to anyone on the Titanic and it's nowhere in evidence that it was even considered by the officers. A few doors may have been opened to run suction hoses in the hopes of buying a little more time, but that's about it.

As Mark indicated, tank tests were done with engineering models to see what would happen and far from buying time, free surface action caused the ship to lose power around 12:40, then roll over a good 30 minutes befor it actually did in the real world. You can read more about that HERE.
 

T. Eric Brown

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Jun 5, 2005
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I heard that the stern stayed afloat for as much as seven minutes before disappearing beneath the waves. This is believed to have been because of trapped air that had yet to escape. If that air had stayed trapped, the stern would have stayed afloat for as long as a few days as the air slowly found smaller escape routes or made one of their own (can you say "BOOM"?). This is against the laws of physics though. The pressure from the water below the severed stern built up and collapsed the wall keeping the air in and thus ending the final hope of any part of the ship remaining afloat.
 
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Dom Francis Joeseph Brown

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Hmm - I often wandered about that bit in "A night to remember" with the suction hoses; I'd be curious to know exactly how much time they thought they could buy with those extra hoses running to the pumps, what with the "All the pumps in Belfast couldn't keep THAT lot back!" line - probably representative of some of the engineers' thoughts!

T Eric - I'd assume the portholes/windows would burst long before the metal ruptured - it seems amazing to me that the stern stayed afloat as long as it did. In "Titanic" you see all the Second Class area windows on C deck get blown out for example - so I guess the pressure was mounting fast (obviously no-one would be able to see that in real life I guess?).

Oh - why does Cameron's Titanic have 2 of the forward 4 large C deck Second Class windows seemingly blocked up, or unlit? always wandered that...
 

Mark Draper

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Dom the question on the 2 C deck windows is due to a little mistake in overlaying the life size set with the model, given the model is only 70% of the length of the real ship, some pieces are removed, like a sliced loaf of bread.

As for the stern staying afloat, using Roy Mengot's bottom up theory the stern stayed up for only a minute or two before sinking. The stern tipped up and rotated 180 degrees before vanishing.
 
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Matt Pereira

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If i remember correctly i read many times from different sources and at different times but after the collision all watertight doors were shut. then the pumps were kicked in to buy some time. they calculated about 30 mins per pump at best, now mind you that is for instance none of the portholes were opened or any of the walls getting knocked down. But the doors between the number 1 boiler room and the reciprocating engine room were open to allow large pump hoses to be run through, the engine room had the most powerful pumps since that is the most vital part of the ship. well i also read that the door between the Reciprocating engine room and the Turbine room were open running hoses from the pumps in the turbine room foreward through the Reciprocating engine room to aid. I didnt understand that at first but i belive using simple logic use every pump you have is what they used and that counted for that door being open, during the break up if the side didnt seperate from the watertight bulkhead if the door was trip to close the hose would prevent it from closeing all the way since it was being lowered by gravity, if the power was still up which i remember i belive it was lightoller said that he saw the stern with all lights still on after the break and they went out when the stern started to tip again in the hearings, i might be mistaken though. but in that case there would be some power to get that door to force it close which would cut or tear the hose to force it close. But considering that scotlandroad was there the bow pulled the stern low enough and if it wasnt the bow, the weight of the engine did that and allowed water to flow through scotlandroad which was on the port side which caused water to flow past the watertight bulk head.
 
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Matt Pereira

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samuel well from what i remember reading the engine room had water pumps that was the most powerful pumps onboard. now the way how it was worded in the book i read a while back they could have ment the pumps for pumping the condensed steam back to the boilers for reheating.
 
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