Time of the break

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Stephen Stanger

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Sorry if I seem a prat for all the angle stuff but could anyone disclose the approximate time of the ships breaking.
I know (Thank You Raymond) that it began to split at an angle of 78.967 degrees, and from that I figured that it was at an angle of 19.90 degrees at @2am.
Now I'm trying to judge the rate the angle increased between 2am and the time that it broke.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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I would have to wonder where this 78.967 degrees comes from as it's not supported by the actual condition of the wreck. You'll notice that the boilers are still secure on their foundations, which they wouldn't have been if the ship had reached an angle that acute.

As to the time of the break, as far as I know, that's never been determined. If you wish to understand the dynamics of the sinking, then you should click on Roy Mengot's The Wreck of RMS Titanic if you haven't already. It's about as thorough as they come.
 
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Stephen Stanger

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Since the boilers were placed across the beam instead of up and down the length, then wouldn't there have been less chance of them rolling out anyway?
 

Adam Leet

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May 18, 2001
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The placement of the boilers isn't really important. What is important is that you're suggesting the ship reached a near-perpendicular angle before breaking up. The weight of the boilers alone would've been more than enough to dismount them, and send them through the bulkheads. Those things weighed in the neighborhood of 100+ tons, so it wouldn't take a lot for them to fall.


Adam
 
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Stephen Stanger

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As I recall there are a few boilers in the silt down there, probably from the stern half.
Besides the forward part would have been pointing straight nose down under the water at some point before the two split, how come the boilers didn't bust through the prow?
 

Adam Leet

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The boilers on the seabed are from Boiler Room #1, the aftmost BR in the ship. They happened to be in the location where the breakup occurred.

As for the boilers not crashing through the bow, it's because the ship didn't reach a near-perpendicular angle as you suggested. Rather, the bow likely reached no greater an angle than 65 degrees, and that was after the breakup, as the bow section was planing towards the seabed.


Adam
 
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Stephen Stanger

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I would have figured that at some time before the bow split from the stern that it had to have been facing 90 degrees straight down, would it not have taken at least that much before the keel snapped?
As the bow sank I have always envisioned it doing a sort of back and forth pendulum thing before coming to rest instead of just shooting diagonally down at an angle.
If it did roar straight down at an angle, then what was to stop the bow section from flipping A over T when it carved through the silt to impact on the bottom?
 

Adam Leet

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Simply put, to anthropomorphise it, a ship hates to land upside down, unless it's built top-heavy. The heaviest equipment (keel included) were located low on the ship. As a result, there is little likelihood that the Titanic would have "flipped over". You can also see this with the Bismarck, which is sitting upright, despite having rolled over at the surface.

As for the bow section reaching a 90 degree angle at breakup, this is why current theories point to the ship not reaching any greater angle than 25-30 degrees. As a result, the bow would not have ever reached a 90 degree perpendicular, resulting in the boilers dislodging from their mounts. This also does not conflict with the theory the bow section floated like a leaf down towards the seabed. Such a descent would not have produced an extreme enough angle for the boilers to fall from their mounts.

At any rate, why do you think the boilers would have been able to remain in place at extreme angles? Keep in mind that you're dealing with 100+ ton objects, that are held in place by little more than gravity and a few bolts.


Adam
 

Kyrila Scully

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Hello, boys. The pendulum swing you describe the bow making as she floated toward the bottom of the ocean (which has also been described as the action of a leaf falling from a tree in a see-saw movement) has been scientifically proven and documented on film. This experiment was conducted in a Naval tank several times and each time the bow see-sawed to the bottom. If you can get your hands on Steve Santini's model and book, you can put it in a swimming pool and see the same thing happen each time you perform the experiment. Conversely, the stern will also rotate and fall into place a distance away each and every time. You just can't change the laws of physics, which is a wonderful thing when studying things such as this. Science never fails, although theories sometimes do. If you would like to see this documentary of the experiments, just keep a watch on the Discovery Channel or History Channel for "Answers From the Abyss."

All the best,
Kyrila
 
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Stephen Stanger

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Are you sure about the descent not producing enough stress? I mean the boilers can be seen plain as day from the rear of the bow and it looks like it would have been easy for them to slide out as the ship was see sawing.
Besides, they would have to have had more than a few bolts and gravity just in prep for the swells that a North Atlantic storm can throw.
 

Adam Leet

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The term "a few bolts" was a faceteous one. Of course the boilers were held down with quite a few more. What I was trying to point out was that it was impossible for the boilers to have remained on their mounts at the 79-degree angle you described (and interpreted as being the angle the ship reached before break-up. The bow section may have approached the angle *after* the break, but not before.

Another reason the ship wouldn't have attained 79 degrees before breakup was that the ship *couldn't* have handled that extreme an angle. Titanic would most likely have broken far before she attained that angle.

On the subject, would you be willing to provide your evidence that suggests the ship reached 79 degrees *before* breaking in two?


-Adam
 

Erik Wood

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Apr 10, 2001
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Adam Leet wrote: As for the bow section reaching a 90 degree angle at breakup, this is why current theories point to the ship not reaching any greater angle than 25-30 degrees.

Sorry for the long delay in my comments. This is something that was indirectly commented on at the Technical event held in Topeka this last September. One of the attendee's was Roy Mengot who brough his wonderful wreck model.

Just a little food for though, if the ship had reached a down angle of over 45 degrees you could (I would have to actually do the math) most likely have a larger debris field and more of the ship missing. It is almost impossible for the ship to have reached a 90 degree angle and split where she did.

Somebody mentioned a number that Mike S. quoted as 78.967 degrees , I too would like to know where this number comes from, it isn't supported by the condition of the wreck, or what folks saw, not to mention the math involved in water placement.

That being said is more then possible that I am completely off my rocker. I am going to do some more digging.
 
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Stephen Stanger

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Check the thread on Titanic's Sinking Angle and you'll see what I was referring to.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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The claim was made by Raymond John Mulhall;

quote:

I can tell you the angle when she hit the iceberg was 1 deg and incresed 5.67 deg every 45 minutes until it broke in two where the stern rose to 78.967 deg
What we're curious about is the source that backs up this particular claim, especially when the actual forensics don't support it.​
 
Mar 3, 1998
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I would like to mention something here.

At the BOT Enquiry (Questions 20916-20917), H&W Naval Architect Edward Wilding stated that the boilers would come loose from their foundations when the trim angle reached 35 degrees. I have no reason to doubt his statement, as Wilding was involved in the design of the ship.

Examination of the wreck reveals that the boilers in Boiler Room #2 are still seated in their foundations.

Returning to Wilding's testimony, Question 20918 is quite illuminating (no pun intended):

20918. (Mr. Laing.) There is another matter about the boilers which occurs to me. The fact that the electric lights of this vessel remained burning up to the moment almost that she disappeared, does that indicate anything to you as to the condition of the boilers? - It indicates that one boiler room, most probably No. 2, was still supplying steam to the emergency dynamos.

It appears that Wilding's extrapolation and observations recorded at the wreck site corroborate one another nicely.

As best as we can determine, the lights failed just before or during the actual break. Taken together, I see the evidence pointing to one conclusion -- that the trim angle of the hull never exceeded 35 degrees (bow down), either before or after the hull girder failed.

This will also explain why there's no evidence of boilers crashing forward.

Parks
 

Erik Wood

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I did some basic calculations to check on that 78 point whatever and how it would stand up. I still can't figure out where that comes into play or how that number came up. With weight of water and it's spreading the ship was loosing to much to much buoyancy to achieve an angle of 78 some degrees. More over if the ship increased it's angle by 5.67 degrees every 45 minutes then the ship should have only acheived about a 17 degree angle.

Now if we are referring to after the break when the stern was completely detached from the bow....I didn't do any calcualtions on that I will have to work on it. But I think 78 degrees is stretching it.

I can't help but wonder if it is in one the many mistakes that the Discovery Channel made in there attempt to cover the thing.
 
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Stephen Stanger

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(by the ref that Parks made to "hull girder", would that be another term for keel?)

I'm seeing some light here but I still find it hard to see that the keel would have snapped at less then 35 degrees. The skin and the decks maybe but that keel must have had a dash of brittleness to it.
In all the research done, is there no definite conclusion as to the angle of the break then? I checked Mengot's site which was very enlightening but there was no angle alluded to.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Hi Stephen, about all we can say at this point is what positively could not have happened. This is what Edward Wilding actually said on the matter;

The Commissioner: It was thought the boilers had got loose from their seats.

20916. (Mr. Laing.) Yes. (To the Witness.) Is that a reasonable theory? - When the ship was about 35 degrees by the head.

20917. That might have happened? - When the bow was down so that her stern was up, so that the slope fore and aft of the ship was about 35 degrees.

Mr. Wilding knew the Olympic class ships about as well as anybody could and if he was of the opinion that the ship would have to reach an angle of 35 degrees for the boilers to come loose, you can bet he did his math to back it up.

As to the keel breaking, keep in mind that a lot of the ships weight is supported by the water. When the stern reared up out of it, that support was gone. As tough as the keel was, it simply could not hold up to the enormous bending loads placed on it which may well have approached 65,000 pounds per square inch. Brittleness in this case...if any...would have been a non-factor.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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<font color="#000066">(by the ref that Parks made to "hull girder", would that be another term for keel?)

Stephen,

No, The keel forms one component of the hull girder. The best way to describe the hull in terms of structural strength is to liken it to a box-shaped girder. No one component of the structure provides all the longitudinal strength...the deck, side and bottom plating make up a considerable portion of the structure's strength. Stresses resulting from a transverse bending moment are typically less severe than those due to a longitudinal bending moment, so the design of a hull girder provides more strength along the longitudinal axis.

The most significant modifications to the box-like structure are the tapered ends at both bow and stern, as well as the sheer of the deck. The form is further modified by the turn of the bilge and the fairing of the bottom toward the ends. Because the streamlined underwater form is symmetrical about the longitudinal centreplane, a rigid centreplane girder is required that runs from end to end...that is the keel structure. The structural frame of the ship is built up with the keel structure as the central member and is composed of longitudinal and transverse members that for a framework over which the plated is riveted (or welded). The strength of the hull girder lies in the rigidity of this framework, coupled with its "skin."

The keel itself is generally a heavy I-beam or T-bar. The strength of the hull girder is not dependent solely on that one component. The hull girder's strength depends upon a uniform and continuous structure. When I say the hull girder failed, I mean that the entire framework, keel structure included, suffered a discontinuity of some sort that allowed the concentration of stresses to occur in and propogate through adjacent members. A failure in the shell plating could begin a general collapse of the hull girder, just as easily as a fracture in any of the key longitudinal members, including the keel.

As a matter of fact, that's exactly what I believe happened. I believe that it was a near-simultaneous failure in the both the shell plating and a few of the key longitudinal members along the bottom of the hull that caused a bending moment that steadily increased as progressive flooding increased the loads on the structure. The bending moment moved aft as the bow slowly flooded, increasing all the while. When the bending moment found a portion of the hull girder with several discontinuities in the structure (open machinery spaces, large public spaces, staircases, etc.), the vertical shear stresses overwhelmed the rigidity of the structure, causing a catastrophic collpase. The keel structure was partially compromised during that collapse but did not completely fail, testifying to its individual strength. But, as I described, the keel was but part of the overall structure and would eventually fail when it lost the supporting strength of the framework of which it was a part.

Keep in mind that the angle of sinking may have no relation to the fracturing of the structure. A ship has loads acting upon it at times. The USS Schenectedy actually broke in half while tied up to the pier in January 1943. The steel was made brittle by cold temperature, but even so, static loading was what caused the hull girder to fracture.

By the way, increased brittleness in steel is not solely a result of cold temperatures. Some steel can exhibit brittle behaviour when a sudden impact load is applied, regardless of temperature, even if that same steel had shown ductility when loaded slowly. I don't believe this scenario was tested with samples brought up from the wreck. Too many people have a vested interest in seeing the cold blamed for the failure of the steel.

So, if you can visualise the skin and decks breaking, you can visualise the keel breaking. Computer simulations have provided probable angles for the break, but none have been proven. I therefore can't tell you what happened in exact units. I can only tell you what could not have happened.

Parks

P.S. A good portion of my explanation above is lifted from my old Naval Architecture textbooks and notes, which I thankfully kept. I wanted to ensure that I remembered my education correctly and not just give an interpretation based on memory.