The last 10 minutes


Arun Vajpey

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In Don Lynch's book TITANIC: An Illustrated History, there is a detailed description and a superb Ken Marschall colour illustration of sea water crashing through the ornate glass dome over the front grand staircase and flooding the reception room just after 02:15 am when the ship took its first lurch forward and down. I have not come across this implosion of the dome in other works (or might have missed it) and so wanted to ask if that was how it actually happened. If so, would that first lurch be because the bulkhead between boiler rooms 5 and 4 finally gave way, suddenly flooding the latter and drastically reducing buoyancy?

Also, at what stage did the submerged hatch covers in the forecastle and well deck fail after the bow went under? Would that also have contributed to the eventual rapid sinking?
 
Nov 13, 2014
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You're suggesting the Big Wave was caused by the failure of the bulkhead between BR 5 & BR 4, allowing the water to flood BR 4. I don't think those bulkheads ever failed (they were watertight for a reason) but BR 4 flooded from the entrance above. I don't think anyone knows what caused the Big Wave.
The collapse of the Grand Staircase sky dome is another event where little is known about, because only those inside the grand staircase may have witnessed it and they all drowned. There is a good possibility the Grand Staircase wasn't yet completely flooded from below when the water level came above the sky dome, causing it to fail under the water pressure. Alternatively, it may have failed when the bow section hit the ocean floor.

Important to know about the cargo hatches (or the forecastle one at least) is that they didn't fail under water pressure and implode, they were blown off and away from the ship. The forecastle hatch is now lying in front of the bow. In the History Channel documentary, this is explained. It happened when the bow section of the ship smashed on the bottom of the ocean.
 
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Christophe, your character would likely have been caught up in cranes, cables, falling chairs, and people. A rush of seawater invading the superstructure would likely pull him into the ship or against it, releasing him only when he was deep below the surface and some pressure equalized. I'd say, a dead man in this case.
That would be true if the suction is big enough to pull him to the stern and under water. Strangely enough, that's not what happened on the actual ship. Just look at Joughin. He was behind the railing of the poop deck, which became the very last spot of the ship to go under water. Joughin simply stepped off the railing, barely getting his hair wet. This is portrayed wrongly in the 1997 Film, where Jack & Rose are on the exact same spot and they are pulled deep under water.
After the sinking, my character will basically be in the same situation as Jack & Rose, only differences are that he is alone and has a door to float on from the beginning. And no, I did not steal that from the film, I just wanted one of my characters to be near the stern when the ship sinks, and I'll need that guy later at Collapsible B. Question is, will he make it that way or does this chapter need some adjustments?
 

Arun Vajpey

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You're suggesting the Big Wave was caused by the failure of the bulkhead between BR 5 & BR 4, allowing the water to flood BR 4. I don't think those bulkheads ever failed (they were watertight for a reason) but BR 4 flooded from the entrance above. I don't think anyone knows what caused the Big Wave.
The big wave was caused (as far as I can understand), by the sudden downward lurch of the Titanic at around 02:17 am that suddenly increased its trim angle. The failure (if they failed) of the forward hatches and/or (possible) failure of the bulkhead between boiler rooms #5 and #4 might have contributed to the lurch but the major cause according to Samuel Halpern was the sudden loss of the ship's longitudinal stability. As water continued to enter from the bow part of the Titanic the ship kept pivoting slowly so that the bow submerged further and the stern rose with the resultant increase in angle of trim. At some point around 02:17 am the angle of trim reached around 14 degrees at which point the ship started losing its longitudinal stability and started to tip over. This also coincided with a sharp increase in the bending movement of the hull resulting in the catastrophic break-up around 2 minutes later.

That is now I have understood it from Sam Halpern's book where its very effectively described.
 

PRR5406

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I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this point. I would say the mass submerging would be pushing water out of the path of decent, requiring something (other water) to fill in that space, thus creating a pull of water to replace that being displaced.
 

Jim Currie

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Hello Arun.

I don't buy any of the 'super science' concerning this. The answer is very simple. When an object (including a ship) sinks, it displaces water in doing so. In the case of Titanic; as the superstructure of the bridge slid below the surface, it move the surface aside. The surface water displaced poured back into the hole left by the sinking bridge section. This action gave the impression of a wave.
Try this. Fill a bucket with water then place a small, empty glass tumbler in the water. It will float. Now tilt the tumbler rim down toward the surface of the water at a small angle while pushing down on the glass. When the lower edge of the rim meets the water surface, the water starts to pour into the glass. Now imagine that that there is a deck across the top of the rim and you are standing on it looking toward the lower edge. See what I mean?
 

Arun Vajpey

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I understand what you are saying Jim and accept that there is no "super science" involved. I also agree that the "big wave" was an illusion created by the sternward rush of a large volume of displaced water as the superstructure sank further.

But what you have just described above with the analogy of the glass tumbler is science - basic physics isn't it? That is what I felt that Sam Halpern was describing in his book....on page 118. To scatter-quote: As the flooding progressed, the Titanic's forward draught increased and aft draught decreased with a resultant gradual increase in the ship's trim angle. This was slow at first but by 01:45 am, when the ship's propellers started to emerge out of the water as the stern rose further, the trim angle, then about 5 degrees, started to increase more rapidly. By 02:15 am the trim angle had increased to 10 degrees, at which time the cow's nest was at sea level and the water was seen coming over the top of the wheelhouse (the so called "big wave"?). It was a minute or two after that, probably between 02:17 and 02:18, this phenomenon had reached the point where the Titanic lost its longitudinal stability and started to tip over.

Halpern makes no mention of catastrophic failures of bulkheads etc like Pellegrino, Quinn etc have in their books. To me Sam Halpern's line of reasoning makes sense.
 

Jason397a

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Hey guys, I am a new member, and the reason I first came here was to get some questions about the final moments of the Titanic answered. If you could answer my questions, that would be great.


- Why did the Titanic list over to port while it was sinking? I know a lot of new simulations show this, and have reasons to believe that Scotland Road has to do with it, but if you look n the deck plans of E deck, you notice there's another large hallway to the starboard side of the ship, not as large, but significantly bigger than others. Why didn't water fill up there while the ship went lower into the water? And to go further, what kept the ship from keeling completely over?

- The TRUE angle of breakup. I cannot emphasis how HARD it is to find the truth for this. I know for a fact that the Cameron's movie was dramatized, but surely its not really small, either. I'm hearing 23 degrees,25, 28, 11, 13, 15, and 19. Which one can I trust?

-The breakup of the hull. I know this should probably be in another forum, but this IS called The Last 10 Minutes for a reason. Where did the ship break? Why is it assumed to be between the 2nd and 3rd funnels, while evidence from my research points to the original 3rd and 4th. The engine room and the Aft Grand staircase, evidently had much less support than the area around the 2nd and 3rd funnel.

-The aftermath of the stern. I've always thought that the two pieces never truly separated until moments later, because the keel kept them together. The bow became a dead weight. This sank, pulling the stern into a vertical position, then separated. Why does recent simulations show complete separation, and the stern just sliding into the water, not even standing up and keeling over to port? Didn't a lot of witnesses claim that the ship stood straight on its end?
 
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Let's take a look at your four points:

- The port list. There was indeed a second large hallway on starboard parallel to Scotland Road, but there was a watertight door which held back the water. I made a drawing with the deckplan of E Deck and Microsoft Paint:
latest?cb=20160816080920.png

The area of the ship that could flood at once is marked in blue. Scotland Road flooded, but the parallel hallway didn't.

- The TRUE angle of breakup. >>I cannot emphasis how HARD it is to find the truth for this.<< I can't help with this either.

- The breakup of the hull. What evidence have you conducted to come to the old conclusion that the ship split in two behind the third funnel? The simplest answer to this question is to look at the wreck. When the bow section broke free, it started to free-fall to the ocean floor in a stable position. Only a few pieces broke free from the bow, including the bridge and the compass. But not much at the back, so it's safe to assume the ship broke in two where the bow section ends, which is in front of funnel 3, not behind it.

- The aftermath of the stern. The most accepted animations show complete separation except for the double bottom. The bow section was literally hanging by a thread for a moment. It became a dead weight, pulling the breakup surface of the stern under water. Then the sections separated completely and the stern slid into the water while it's pitch and port list increased, although it never reached the infamous angle of 89°.

That's the answer I have to your questions, but other people will also have a word.
 

Arun Vajpey

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I think that blue highlight in the diagram above is a great illustration of one of the major causes of the port list during the latter half (or so) of the sinking process. If one considers the total volume of space of the "Scotland Road" and consider how much weight differential water filling it would have caused, the port list is understandable.

As for the angle of break-up, this is what I understood form Sam Halpern's explanation in his book. By 02:16 the Titanic's bow was so filled with water and being dragged down while the stern was rising at the other end that the ship lost its longitudinal stability and started to tip over, which translated as the sudden lurch forward and acceleration in the rate of sinking.

But at the same time, the rising stern was creating a bending stress on the ship's hull as the stern lost its buoyancy. Going by Halpern's graph that stress would have risen sharply as the stern rose out of the water, reaching its maximum between 11 and 15 degrees. It is therefore very likely that the break-up started at around 11 degrees trim. But that would have involved the keel and several decks and so probably extended over a minute or more, by which time the stern could have reached a higher angle, maybe even close to 30 degrees trip before the stern broke away.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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The list to port was more a combination of different factors, the Scotland road was one of them. (Another was the empty coal bunker W(Y) on the starboard side of BR. 5 and some other factors).

Jack Thayer already stated in 1912 that the ship broke in front of the 3rd funnel. We can see that at the bow wreck but have also the large tower debris, one the part with the base of the 3rd funnel.
 

Jason397a

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May 16, 2016
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Thanks guys, apreciate the help!
Christophe Puttermans, as for my evidence, for eyewitness testimony, is here:
https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/articles/wormstedt.pdf

For further evidence, a picture showing the top of the ship wreck:


The back slowly blackens out before the boat ends. However, Ken Marschall drew this when asked to re-picture the back end of the boat:
4f363434d4eeb0e1d2c85dbaf915e4b2.jpg

This shows a drop then an oval-like shape, which later becomes the base of the third funnel.
 
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Ken Marschall's painting are based on the 1985/86 images (that painting is an updated version showing also the 5 double ended boilers of boiler room No. 2 which his original version did not have) and the "oval-like shape" is actually the outline of the funnel No. 3 uptake.
 

Jason397a

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But I always thought that it seemed more proper just behind the third funnel. I guess you could call me a "Cameron film fanboy", but I understand how the evidence points to this. Could you send me the link to the picture?
 
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I think the easiest would be if you go to this link. It has the bottom up theory about the break up by Roy Mengot
Breakup

There is some disagreement between the researches if the break up was really "bottom up" or "top down".

When you follow the included link a deck by deck map of the centre section you will also find the outlines of the bow wreck and the large towers. The outlines of the 3rd funnel uptake are directly at the bow end.
Breakup

They are still visible today even the decks had more collapsed since 1985. I have marked them it this picture from 2010.

AIVL-Titanic-Bow-Aft.jpg
 

Arun Vajpey

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I think the easiest would be if you go to this link. It has the bottom up theory about the break up by Roy Mengot
Breakup
Going by the "bottom-up" theory, would that allow a greater chance of the stern rising from somewhere around 12 degrees (when the break-up presumably started) to almost 30 degrees in about 90 seconds before the two parts separated and the stern fell back onto the water?
 

Jason397a

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So in conclusion to all of our analysis, the breakup happened either right under or just foward of the third funnel. Thanks! I'm going to add that to my own personal theory Of the sinking.
 

Arun Vajpey

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The list to port was more a combination of different factors, the Scotland road was one of them. (Another was the empty coal bunker W(Y) on the starboard side of BR. 5 and some other factors).
Agreed. It would be interesting to discuss those "different factors" that contributed to the eventual port list, considering that the water was entering the ship from the starboard side.

1. The portside position of Scotland Road.
2. The weight differential caused by the relatively empty coal bunker on the starboard side of Boiler Room 5.

What else? I have read that there were more "empty spaces" on the port side of the deeper sections of the ship. I understood that to mean more public rooms, which would be larger and so have fewer wall/door interruptions that would slow down flooding. Was that really the case?
 
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I have read that there were more "empty spaces" on the port side of the deeper sections of the ship. I understood that to mean more public rooms, which would be larger and so have fewer wall/door interruptions that would slow down flooding. Was that really the case?
Apparently not. Just look at the deckplans of F & G Deck. They are fairly symmetrical.

The only "empty space" with no wall/door interruptions that would hold back the water is on E Deck, I highlighted the uninterrupted area on the deckplan of E Deck in post #29. Once that area started to flood from F Deck below, the water could have reached the whole highlighted area without a wall or door stopping it. It was the main factor for the port list.
 

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