The Break up


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Shane Kurup

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Jul 31, 2000
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Hey everyone!

A little question for all you experts:
At the moment of the "break up", did the break start from the upper decks, and work its way down towards the keel plate, or did it break from the Keel upwards? I had always believed from reading books and watching videos,(and it seems to make more sense, from the scientific view!) that the break started at the top decks, as opposed to the bottom. However, I have browsed through other posts, where people have said that the break started on the lower decks.
Any help is greatly appreciated! Just curious!

Shane:)
 

Dave Hudson

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Apr 25, 2001
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Shane,
Imagine a cardboard tube. When you bend it, it breaks near the bottom first. This is because....well...er....I don't know why. But it works! Try it with a used toilet paper or paper towel tube.

We need Michael.

David.
 

Shane Kurup

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Jul 31, 2000
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Hey Dave!

Thanks for the message!-I see exactly what you mean.I still always imagine though, it breaking from the upper decks first.I thought that due to the great weight either side, from the bow (now submerged and filled with water- the stern also, didn't want to follow the bow down at this point either, being full with air- so that might have added to the pressure too) and the stern, pushing it down/sagging towards the water it would have snapped like a pencil,as if you have one hand either side of a pencil, and applied pressure pushing it down/bending it - the pencil snaps in the middle, from the top down! Didn't any survivors give any accounts from where the break started? I know Gracie claimed at the enquiry that the ship never broke in two, while other survivors were absolutely certain it had.

Shane:)
 

Dave Hudson

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Yes, breaking from the top to bottem seems the most logical. Unlike a pencil, though, the Titanic wasn't solid. It was hollow, like the cardboard tube.
Hope this helps,
David
 
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Dean Manning

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Hello everyone,

Actually, Shane, you have asked a question that no one really knows the answer to. The Tube theory is just one of a couple different opinions to be forwarded. You may want to check out some of the other threads here, I think this topic has been debated.

I still always imagine though, it breaking from the upper decks first.I thought that due to the great weight either side, from the bow (now submerged and filled with water- the stern also, didn't want to follow the bow down at this point either, being full with air- so that might have added to the pressure too) and the stern, pushing it down/sagging towards the water it

Actually, you have the right idea. Think about it this way. Just before Titanic breaks, the stern is at about 12 degrees(although this may be debatable as well, since the finite element analysis wasn't super accurate). The bow has lost it's buoyancy and is being pulled down by gravity. The stern, still dry inside, is in the air and has no buoyancy forces to counteract the force of gravity pulling on it. The pulling of the ship by gravity creates bending moments, which in tern cause torques on the hull which cause shearing forces, as well as tension in the upper decks, and compression in the lower decks. It becomes a matter of which gave way first.

hope this helps.
happy.gif


-Dean
 
May 5, 2001
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To Shane, David & Dean:
I was under the impression that the ship broke from the top to bottom strictly based on two things:

* The stern being in the air​
* According to ANSWERS FROM THE ABYSS, the last piece to be dislodged was the keel, which was the first thing to be laid down, there was speculation that the stern was detached from the bow on or near the surface shortly after she disappeared​

It is really the ONLY way she could have broke based on the scenario I have described, of course, I could be wrong.

Regards to all,
Bill
 
May 8, 2001
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I was curious to how far sound travels on the ocean. Is it any different than land, or does water and waves absorb or muffle sound? Reason I wonder is we had a rain storm today and lightning hit a tree about 4.5 miles from the house here and we all heard it as plain as day. With all the caucafany of Titanic breaking in two, I wonder if the theory was taken into thought that the Californian had to be ---- miles away to not hear it. I would imagine that things would have been quiet at that time of night. Just a thought. Thanks. Colleen Collier
 

Dave Gittins

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Sound certainly travel well over calm water. Yachtsmen sometimes learn the hard way not to make nasty remarks about a passing yacht or its owner. They can hear much better than you think.

Certainly the noise of Titanic breaking up would have been very great but nobody would be willing to put a distance on how far it could be heard, given the lack of data.

For various reasons I'm convinced that Californian was at least 10 miles off during the sinking and your idea is sound enough.
 
May 8, 2001
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Thank you Dave.
I bet this issue has been hashed over a thousand times. Maybe I should clarify the sentence "lightning hit a tree about 4.5 miles from the house here and we all heard it as plain as day." to say that I heard the tree tear in half and fall over. This was no small tree either! To be on the safe side, maybe I should also ask if cloud cover would increase the sound to reach me. My kids were standing there with me when it happened, and I am trying to use it as an example of distance since this is so tangeable. Thanks again. Colleen
 

Tracy Smith

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Nov 5, 2000
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Bill, thanks for the address to Roy's site. I found the breakup article to be most interesting, as was the rest of the site.

Dave, the sound of the breakup is still another interesting factor to consider as to why the Californian could not have been as close as some insist. The ineffectiveness of both Titanic's and Californian's Morsing efforts are another factor which indicate a greater distance. Captain Lord had said that his Morse lamps should have been effective up to ten miles, and the Titanic's should have been more powerful yet. And, though many will disagree with me on this one, the fact that the sound of the rockets were not heard on the Californian...and I believe the rockets were also seen low on the horizon, also indicates greater distance.
 

Nigel Bryant

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Jan 14, 2001
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Just before the breakup I was always under the impression that Titanic's tilt was about 45 degrees. But I have heard other reports from this forum that the stern may have only reached to 12-15 degrees? I would always think the higher the stern rises out of the water the more strain it would have put in the location of the Tank room hatchway and the Aft Grand Staircase? Would 12 degrees put that much strain on the ship?

Cheers Nigel
 

Dave Hudson

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Nigel,
There was a computer simulation done in which they imputed a virtual model of the ship and sank it and watched what happened. The break occured around the aft expansion joint before the ship passed 12 degrees. HOWEVER, I am skeptical of this, because the computer model looked like it was made out of rubber. The ship was bending! True, the stern was 12 degrees out of the water, but the bow was at about 40-45 degrees! I'm not sure what to believe, but I do know that several survivors (some of them very credible and not prone to exageration) claimed that the ship was nearly 90 degrees at its greatest, however, they could be referring to the stern after the break.

David

PS-I tried to solve the mystery with my Titanic 3-D puzzle (I'm quite a scientific person
happy.gif
), but it was no help either -half the time it broke from the bottom and half from the top.
 
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Aaron Hurd

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Hello all. I'm new here and glad that I found somewhere to read, hopefully contribute, and post questions you friendly folk could help with the answers to. To start off with is a question I have searched for an answer for, but have never found an explanation for. How is it that the stern is rotated with the propellers facing towards the bow? This question was partially answered when Bob Ballard first found the Titanic and provided theories as to the break-up. It was speculated that when the break-up occurred, the bow filled with water plunged right away while the stern filled with air remained afloat until it began to flood. As it sank, it rotated thus explaining why it looks the way it does today. That was then and there have been many more theories which I suppose I subscribe to. The most recent was by way of extensive research I watched on a Discovery Channel program was that the Titanic was still attached to by a slim portion of the keel when it went under. The mechanics went from there and helped to describe why the stern imploded. Nothing is ever mentioned as to why the stern rotated. I suppose that it is no one really knows why, though there is always an explanation for everything more or less. Sorry for this being so long winded. I welcome your input greatly.

Aaron
 
Jul 9, 2000
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There could be a lot of reasons why the stern rotated to land as it did, such as hydrodynamics (The way the water flows over the structure could cause it to twist and turn on the way down) to say nothing of weight distribution.

Regarding the extensive damage to the stern, keep in mind that there was quite a bit of air trapped in a number of compartments. Not enough to keep it afloat...obviously...but when the water pressure became to great, all these compartments would have imploded. The escaping air came out violently enough to leave it in the tangled mess that it is today.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Mike Bull

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Dec 23, 2000
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Re. the 12 degree argument, maybe the ship exceeded this by a little, but basically once that stern was lifting out of the water, the weights bearing down on the structure of the ship were there and it would only have been a matter of time before she gave way. I'm sure the 'perpendicular' club are all in fact describing the stern AFTER the break-up.

Re. the 'bending' shown by the computer analysis, there is perhaps some evidence that this was at least partly true-the forward expansion joint opened on the surface, so one assumes that the rear one definitely opened too, perhaps a little before the total break-up, and also the whole bow being bent down from the well deck forwards MAY have started on the surface, rather than being totally caused by the bottom impact. There are definitely stress cracks in the ship there now, anyway.

So, picture all that and she soon starts to look 'bendy'-one could imagine the Titanic being heaved out of the water by one hell of a boat hoist, perhaps at the local Liner Club, and sagging down at each end! My favourite way of thinking of it is that she sagged down into the water, more than anything else.
 
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Stephen William DeNicholas

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Hi. I am new here and would like to offer an observation as to the current condition of the stern. As Roy Mengot pointed out, the actual implosion damage was rather limited to the starboard side at D and E decks and D deck on the port side. I think this was because as the stern sank, the cabin walls, which were made of soft pine wood, were quickly collapsed by the violent surges of water as the stern sank. It's like taking a glass full of water and forcing it down into some water. The pressure is very great and the thin cabin walls would stand no chance to hold air until the stern sank far enough to have the water pressure implode these areas. Indeed, the steel walls of general areas like the second class dining room were reduced to shreds by the inflow. Thanks for your attention and any response would be greatly appreciated.
 
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