The back half stern area

Jul 21, 2004
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Thanks Michael.
Question; Don't bet the farm on that one. Better check the testimony. Boxhall states that the order was given, but the survivors from the engine room point to the engines being reversed after the accident itself, not befor.
If this is true and the reversing of the engines with all their power couldent move the titanic away from the iceberg, are you saying that the ship was hard aground on an ice shelf that was part of the iceberg?
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>If this is true and the reversing of the engines with all their power couldent move the titanic away from the iceberg,<<

A moot point perhaps since the best read of the evdence tends to indicate that the engines were not reversed until after the accident. Be that as it may, stomping on the brakes is the court of very last resort for a ship desiring to avoid a collision. Consider the speed of the ship (21+ knots) and her own mass (Around 50,000 tonnes) and do the math. Her own inertia is working against her.

It doesn't help one bit that a liner in transit on the open ocean seldom ever has people right by the controls they need to work to put the engines in reverse. Even if they did, doing so would rob the rudder of it's effectiveness. A rookie mistake that I don't believe a talanted ship handler like Will Murdoch would make.

There are three possible actions to take when dealing with the possibility of a collision, the first simply being to put the rudder over and turn away from the danger.

The second step would be to slow down. This buys you some time but then you have the problem of the loss of rudder effectiveness.

The third step and the court of last resort is to try and stop the vessel. This is what you do when you have reason to believe a collision is unavoidable and all you can do is try to minimize the damage you're going to take. We know Titanic did the first and may have attempted the second, but didn't have time. They never stopped the ship until after the accident.

>> are you saying that the ship was hard aground on an ice shelf that was part of the iceberg?<<

Not quite. The best evidence would tend to point to what's sometimes called a grounding/allision event in which the ship ran over a submerged ice shelf, but never stopped. When you have a hard grounding, you come to a stop. This still would have been enough to do side damage and also signifigent damage to the double bottom. More the enough to compromise the strength of the hull girder and cause the progressive structural failure that led to the break up.

You may find the links to the following articles to be of some use in explaining things in depth.

The Last Log Of The Titanic by David G. Brown
The Grounding Of Titanic by David G. Brown and Parks E. Stephenson
Hard a Starboard by Nathan Robison.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hello,

Paul Rogers wrote:
quote:

My understanding is that the steel used for Titanic and Britannic was the best available at the time. It certainly didn't hurt Olympic, which held up in wonderful shape until her (premature) scrapping.

Mark Chirnside may have more to add to this discussion. Got your ears on, Mark?
Ears? I could feel them burning!

Actually I was lucky to run across this discussion. I don’t read through all the sections of the board, much less on a regular basis, and I ran across your message using the search function — trying to find some comments I recalled in a post which I remembered had mentioned me by name.

I don’t have my sources with me at the moment, but I have always felt that the steel was a high quality steel for its time. I don’t recall any criticism of the steel itself during the Olympic’s career. In fact, if the recollections of Thomas Ward’s are anything to go by, I remember that I was told that they found the Olympic’s then 28-year-old hull ‘surprisingly’ sound. I certainly don’t think that the Olympic’s service history shows her to have been built of ‘inferior’ steel, and her performance does not seem inferior to those of her competitors when we compare their service histories. Throughout her career, her scantlings were considered well-maintained; that is, the hull plating did not waste very much (and naturally wastage — or corrosion — is an unavoidable problem with ships’ hulls exposed to the extremely corrosive salt water and sea air). I think that if the steel had been significantly defective, then it would not have taken long for this to be discovered.

I know there’s some debate as to the relative design merits of Olympic’s contemporaries, yet that’s really separate from the issue of steel quality. In fact, smaller ships such as the Mauretania enjoyed a status as an auxiliary armed merchant cruiser, and had their rivets ‘reamed’ (or ‘reamered’ — but I don’t think that’s the right term?) — advantages that Olympic, built purely as a merchant vessel, did not enjoy. While that isn’t strictly related to steel, and I’m not attempting to compare the two ships when working from memory, it does highlight part of the context in which Olympic was built.

Best wishes,

Mark.​
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>(and naturally wastage — or corrosion — is an unavoidable problem with ships’ hulls exposed to the extremely corrosive salt water and sea air)<<

Oh boy, but ain't that the truth! Salt air and salt water is brutal on steel. Even the best made ship can degenerate into a rusty old bucket in a fairly short amout of time without some really dedicated preservation efforts. Read that to mean paint, and a lot of it. The White Star vessels at least enjoyed close attention from the looks of it.

Eventually, you still have to go into drydock for a refit, partly to scrape off the old worn layers of paint and take care of any plating that needs attention, but the Olympic got that on an annual basis.

>>I think that if the steel had been significantly defective, then it would not have taken long for this to be discovered.<<

I agree, and had that happened, Harland & Wolff would have found itself answering a lot of awkward questions from a very honked off customer about it.
 
Jul 21, 2004
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> Olympic,s good hull. If the Olympic,s hull had gone through the same stress and impact as Titanic it too would have proberbly failed! On the other hand if Titanic had not had the mishap her hull would have proberbly had the same life span as Olympic! harder steel seems to have a longer shelf life than that a softer steel and less suseptable to corrosion! Yet a war ship or large ferry hull with a lesser brittleness stiffness or rigiderty in the make up of the property of the shell plating and hard rivets would have cushened the impact more readilly, Bent and concaved the hull in the impact area, rather than hard plates shearing the rivets or plate edges broken away due to the cracked rivet holes on the edge of the hard plating in the shell plating overlap areas.
 
Jul 21, 2004
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> H&W knew they were building the worlds largest ship of the time, infact they had to rebuild their yard to accomadate its building,that was quite a feat for H&W a relitively unknown at the time and must have enjoyed their name going world wide and it being called unsinkable, yet their rivet hole layout men and inspectors plus the riveters had to know the punched rivet holes in the edge of the 1" hard shell plating were showing cracks on the edge of the holes from the hole punching! given the fact this was a massive project changing out the plate this late in the game would have caused an uprore and they would have proberbly gone broke, plus they were proberbly past the point of no return in time and finnancing for this huge project, as long as they could make it watertight those cracks wouldent matter, she was built as unsinkable and proberbly was, however the possibillity of bashing into an iceberg on its maiden voyage and surviving was never on the table, I can imagine if anyone had mentioned this they would have been thrown in the insane asylem, It was just too inconcievable that this ship could sink, But did H&W know about the plates being flawed, my answer has to be yes. Changing out the plates or a sinking caused by the plates either way H&W would be doomed, its a no win situation so the only thing to do was to press on. When she hit the berg it was excepted at the time,that it was the berg that made the 180ft gash below the waterline all bets were off H&W were exonerated from any wrong doing, the press found the villan! the captain who ignored warnings of the ice field, not enough look outs posted and racing to New York.
 
Jul 21, 2004
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> Sorry, I dident mean the plates broke away as a whole plate, I ment after failier or shearing of the rivets by the heavy plate in the impact area would cause the plate to open from the hull frames it was riveted too and water to rush inside the hull!Or as it was believed at the time the 180ft gash made by the iceberg!
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hello,

Malcolm wrote:
quote:

Olympic,s good hull. If the Olympic,s hull had gone through the same stress and impact as Titanic it too would have proberbly failed
I’m not sure if you’re addressing Mike or myself, but if you look at my post I’ve never suggested that Olympic would have survived the collision that Titanic endured.

quote:

harder steel seems to have a longer shelf life than that a softer steel and less suseptable to corrosion!
This is certainly not an area I’ve studied in depth. Are there any articles you could cite which explore this?

quote:

…their rivet hole layout men and inspectors plus the riveters had to know the punched rivet holes in the edge of the 1" hard shell plating were showing cracks on the edge of the holes from the hole punching!
If you’re referring to the process of ‘cold punching’ the rivets, as I understand it this was a fairly common practise among shipyards of the time. In February 2004, at https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/discus/messages/5919/86958.html?1086437871#POST113115, Scott Andrews wrote:

quote:

This is not to say that before the late 1920's shipbuilders didn't know about or appreciate the problem of microfractures associated with punching holes; they were well aware of the potential problems. They also had a much better appreciation of just where in the vessel they could safely (for the most part) employ punched holes and where they needed to drill holes or ream punched holes to finished size than most people this side of the 20th century give them credit for. When looking at the structural drawings for the Olympic and Titanic, there are several instances in high-stress areas where drilling or a secondary reaming operation is specified, as well as some fairly large expanses where steel rather than wrought iron rivets were specified.
I’m really not convinced that you could say that the riveting on these vessels was inferior to other merchant ships (vessels like Lusitania and Mauretania notwithstanding).

I do have a few more comments, but I’m afraid I really haven’t got the time to be drawn into a detailed discussion. I originally posted only to provide the information on the Olympic that I had, and that Paul asked for.

Best wishes,

Mark.​
 

Paul Rogers

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Hello Mark.
quote:

I do have a few more comments, but I’m afraid I really haven’t got the time to be drawn into a detailed discussion. I originally posted only to provide the information on the Olympic that I had, and that Paul asked for.
And thanks very much for so doing, Mark. Interesting stuff, as usual.​
 
Jul 21, 2004
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> Mark. The skill of riveting hull plating to make them watertight is now a lost art, I have no problem with riveting, I even vacation on large tall ships with riveted steel hulls from that time period and they are still watertight especially crup steel hulls, however I believe titanic and her sisters were built with with a higher carbon steel content that made the hulls plating and rivets brittle. this plate was made to last,not made or designed to take high impact of projectiles like a war ship or comming into contact with a berg,as it was totally imposible to think this could ever happen with all her modern navigational aids at the time plus radio reports and ice field warnings from other ships transiting the same sea lanes. Reaming a hole that was already punched for a certain size rivet to get past the cracks would leave one with a very sloppy hole!and suseptable to leaks and plate movement Any reaming done was due to slight missalighnment of the connecting plate holes or holes in the attaching beams behind the shell plating. Thanks Malcolm.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hi Paul,

I'm glad you found the information interesting.

Hi Malcolm,

I'm not sure if I misunderstood you earlier. If I did, my apologies.

What I thought you were saying is that the process of 'cold punching' the rivets could aid the development of micro-cracks (which as I understand it is why some of the rivets on the two sisters were reamed in high-stress areas as Scott has said). I don't disagree with these comments, and I didn't understand you to say that you had a problem with riveting by itself -- after all, it was the common practice in 1909-11.

I'm always open to discussion as to the composition of the steel used on these liners, but I had gathered the impression from this discussion that you were implying that other contemporary liners were made of better steel -- which I don't agree with. I'll always respect an alternative point of view even if I disagree with it, yet I simply don't think the evidence is strong enough to support the assertion. However, I appreciate that it's a very complex scientific analysis and I'll readily admit that it's not my speciality. It's been a while since I read a number of articles on the subject.

Best wishes,

Mark.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>however I believe titanic and her sisters were built with with a higher carbon steel content that made the hulls plating and rivets brittle. this plate was made to last,not made or designed to take high impact of projectiles like a war ship or comming into contact with a berg<<

Malcolm...please...stop, count to ten, catch your breath..whatever. Right now, all you're doing is using slighty varied rephrasing of your claims to repeat yourself. Unfortunately, repeating an assertion (Which is what you're doing) that's at best demonsterably questionable, at worst temprocentric, anachronistic, and the result of contemporary mythmaking, (Which yours is on all counts) does not make it so.

The steel used in the hull of the Titanic was manufactured in acid lined open hearth furnaces by the Dalzell and D. Colvilles & Co. and was about as good as it got no matter where you went. Virtually every other steel manufacturer in the country used the same process and nearly the same formulas. This was known as "Battleship Steel" because it was in fact used in the construction of British warships!

It was not the higher carbon which made some of the plates brittle, but the fact that the open hearth process of the time made it *possible* for certain impurities to creep in such as sulpher and phosphorus. Sometimes it did and sometimes it didn't. These formulas and methods wouldn't change signifigently for another 35 years.

Now let's also be mindful of the fact that the Titanic was running at nearly her full service speed of 21 knots at the time of the accident. When you have a mass of 50,000 plus tonnes moving at 21 knots in a medium with no friction to wor with and running into a mass of up to 250,000 tonnes, the smaller object...in this case the Titanic...invariably get's the dirty end of the stick. That's not a question of bad steel. That's just Sir Issac Newton and his laws of motion working against you.

>>it was totally imposible to think this could ever happen with all her modern navigational aids at the time plus radio reports and ice field warnings from other ships transiting the same sea lanes.<<

No, it was not impossible to think that this could happen. The possibility of running into an iceberg was taken seriously enough that some ships like the Mauritania, diverted the courses south to avoid the ice without being ordered to do so. Other lines such as the owners of the Mount Temple specifically forbade entering icefields for any reason, and put that proscription in writing.

And if I may, what modern navigation aides? Other then radio, and somebody with a pair of binoculars or telescope and the compass, the only navigation aide the Titanic had was the same one that seafarers had been using since Og the Caveman went out on the river on a log thousands of years ago...that being the Mark I Mod 0 Eyeball.

The radio was the only recent invention having been developed at the end of the 19th Century. The others had been in use in one form or another for several centuries.

Now earlier I asked "what evidence is there that any plates in the area of the impact broke away?". So far, you've been offering arguements but no evidence. Perhaps on some level I wasn't clear enough so let's try again and I'll try to be more explicit:

What evidence is there...from the wreck itself...that the plates in the area of the impact with the ice shattered and broke away on impact? If you can, please be so kind as to present scientific documentation of same which has survived the scrutiny of the peer review process.
 
Dec 31, 2003
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Michael's high-quality, steely remarks are what first tempted me to bravely venture into the sometimes cold, dangerous waters of 'ET'. I feel that such remarks as he has just made warrants our continuing admiration. Because 'Titanic's' building budget was 'practically unsinkable'; incorporating, among other innovations, the first industrial-scale use of aluminium - as aluminium-bronze; not widely used until the 1920s - to counter corrosion: I cannot believe that corners were cut, but that all was state-of-the-art for 1912. And well beyond.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Donald, I'd be interested in hearing about this aluminium-bronze alloy you mentionmed, as well as information on how it was used.

For my own money, I don't really think any corners were cut either save on whatever dictates the customer made. Harland & Wolff did their work on a cost plus type of contract where the builder was essentially told to produce the best ship they could and they had a remarkably free hand to do it, with the bills presented to White Star being paid promptly and without question.

It strikes me as unlikely in the extreme that any such relationship could have continued for very nearly the life of the line itself if the builder was producing and delivering shoddy goods.
 
Jul 21, 2004
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>Michael. I understand what your saying, I dont think the issue is shoddy work, its more about choices. The ship owner should follow the recomendations and expertise of the ship builder, unfortunatlly this dosent always happen with the builder bowing to the ship owner. what if! in a meeting at the planning stage the builder offers the owner two types of hull plating. One type is more impact resistant more malable steel used in warships however can be suseptable to corrosion requiring more maintinance and painting. The other is a harder steel less impact resistant but will last longer, less maintainance, less suseptable to corrosion and readylly available locally! Since this is a passenger ship not a war ship not expecting impact to the hull from anything I wonder which the owners would chose! More choises! where the proffesional bows to the owners wishes. The T is making exellent time cutting through flat calm seas in the north Atlantic,other than a small coal bunker fire thats being attended to everybody is happy it should be a record making maiden voyage! Radio room reports warnings from other ships that an Ice field has entered the shipping lanes ahead of T. The captain wants to shut down for the night as have other ships(normal practice in this situation)due to fog,low visabillity and no moon, but the owners and their investers do not want to dissapoint well wishers in New York by arriving hours late, captain told to press on through the ice field, wrong choice! The hard low maintainance plate that wasent supposed to take a high impact takes an impact.

In retrospect, the shipping lanes and their location were established in the days of sail using the gulf stream, like hoping on a coveyer belt. It fails me why the T,s captain chose to stay in the shipping lanes? With T,s speed he could have gone to Port with a south west heading for a couple of hundred miles (10 hrs)that would have put him in warmer open waters miles in front of the fog imitting Ice field, then made a course correction for marthers vinyard then New York all on time! It seams to me the owners and investers had more control of the T than the captain! another wrong choice!

Reaming plate holes.Its always amazed me that the thousands of holes in hull plating line up at all, these hole lay out people were very accurate, however as in the riveted steel in tall buildings or bridges there is always a hole or two that dosent line up, this requires the use of a reamer to take out the offending steel in the missaligned hole in order to let the rivet pass through. Thanks Malcolm.
 
Jul 21, 2004
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> Michael I have already answered this but hear it is again: Sorry, I dident mean the plates broke away as a whole plate, I ment after failier or shearing of the rivets by the heavy plate in the impact area would cause the plate to open from the hull frames it was riveted too and water to rush inside the hull!Or as it was believed at the time the 180ft gash made by the iceberg! You may notice the photo of the Britanic in ET(made of the same plating showing the area of impact) shows the hull plating shattered and broken off like a plate glass window! thanks Malcolm. >
 
Dec 31, 2003
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Michael: At one stroke, the weight (though in that only marginally) of Titanic's anchors and of its propellers was reduced - but their vulnerability to the corrosive effects of atmosphere and sea-water rather dramatically so - by the introduction (and for the first time, I believe) of aluminium-bronze in its large-scale industrial use.
 
Jul 21, 2004
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> Sorry I find Mr. Smiths use of aluminium some what miss leading. #1 There is no way to adhear alluminium to steel anchors, Anchors are sopposed to be heavy in order to work #2 props are bronze, little or any corrosion. If anything the use of aluminium could have been used in room and inner deck wall panaling or used in decrotive fixtures.
 
Dec 31, 2003
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Malcolm: Aluminium - simply as aluminium - was an innovative feature aboard Titanic merely as the seats on exercise equipment in the gymnasium. I assure you that much research lies behind the remarks I made. And because I hoped they might arouse something like the level of interest you've shown, I thank you for this. Don