Titanic - Damage to her Keel?


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Aaron_2016

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Does anyone know how much damage may have been caused to the keel of the Titanic if she had grounded over a submerged shelf of the iceberg, perhaps resting much of her weight against it or part of it? The survivors described a grounding sensation and Lookout Lee said:

"The ship seemed to heel slightly over to port as she struck the berg."
Q - You felt her strike, did you?
A - Oh, indeed, Sir.
Q - Then she heeled a little over to port?
A - Very slightly over to port, as she struck along the starboard side.



When the Queen Mary damaged her bottom they had to patch up the damage by pouring cement on the inside. Were the keels of these big ships not as strong as their reputation alleged them to be?



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Georges Guay

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rissec10.jpg

I am confused with the Port List. Wouldn’t the Iceberg Thrust (T) below the Center of Gravity (CG) induce a Heeling Moment (R) to Starboard? That heel to Starboard wouldn’t also help ice from the iceberg pinnacle to fall on deck?
 

Georges Guay

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What I like from that video is the Bow Wave. You can look at all the Titanic painting you like, the bow wave is always doubtful!

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A

Aaron_2016

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I believe the ship sailed over a ledge of the ice and this caused her to list or heel over to port.

Fleet said she listed to port right after the collision. This could have been when the ice was passing the starboard beam after the initial damage to the bow.

Q - Did it tilt the ship to any extent?
A - She listed to port right afterwards.
Q - To what extent?
A - I could not say; a slight list.
Q - Just immediately on striking the berg?
A - Just afterwards.
Q - Did it seem that the blow came beneath the surface of the water and caused her to shift?
A - Yes, sir.


However Lee said she heeled over during the collision, not after - "The ship seemed to heel slightly over to port as she struck the berg....Very slightly over to port, as she struck along the starboard side."





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Back in 2000 one of the key concepts presented in my first book on the subject, "Last Log Of The Titanic" was that the ship actually grounded on the iceberg and did not sideswipe it. A year later Parks Stephenson and I co-authored a white paper entitled "on the Grounding of Titanic." It was presented to the Marine Forensic Panel of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. The text of this white paper is available online at Grounding of the Titanic

------------------------------------------

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS BY SURVIVORS:

Going over that paper, I've pulled out a few items salient to this discussion. First, there is plenty of testimony that makes the accident sound more like a grounding (running over something like an iceberg) than a sideswipe. Here are some of the general observations of passengers and crew who described the event.

Second Officer LIGHTOLLER -- (officers quarters) It is best described as a jar and a grinding soun. There was a slight jar followed by this grounding sound...naturally, I thought it was from forward...[the grinding] noise lasted a matter of a couple of seconds

Seaman J. SCARROTT -- (Seaman's Mess) I did not feel any direct impact...Not as if she hit anything straight on, just a trembling of the ship.

Passenger Mrs. J. S. WHITE -- (Cabin) It did not seem to me that there was any very great impact at all. It was just as though we went over a thousand marbles. There was nothing terrifying about it.

Lookout (off duty) G. SYMONS -- (Forecastle) What awakened me was a grinding sound on her bottom. I thought at first she had lost her anchor and chain, and it was running along her bottom.

Third Officer PITMAN -- (Officers Quarters) A noise...I thought the ship was coming to anchor.

Seaman W. BRICE -- (Seaman's Mess) It was not a violent shock...not a bad jar...a rumbling noise...for about 10 seconds; somewhere about that...



OBSERVATIONS BY ON DUTY CREW:

Now, let's look at the testimonies of crew who were directly involved with the accident. Quartermaster Hichens was at the wheel during impact. His vision was blocked by the night shutters, but he could still hear and feel the event. Note the specific terminology he used. Hichens said the ship was "crushing" the ice. This would indicate he thought the ship rode over the ice and the weight of Titanic was at work damaging the iceberg. Hichens knew the difference between that and a sideswipe. He would also have been able to see the swing of the bow to port caused by a pure sideswipe, which he did not describe. As to the sound, he was quite specific that it came not from the side, but from the bottom.

Quartermaster HICHENS -- (wheelhouse) During the time she was crushing the ice, we could hear a grinding noise along the ship's bottom.

Two men literally bird's eye views of the accident. They were the two lookouts, Reginald Lee and Frederick Fleet who looked down on events from the crow's nest. Neither man described anything close to a sideswipe, but Lee's testimony is particularly germane. He thought the ship might escape, but then noted there was ice jutting out from the berg under the surface. He also noted a peculiar movement of the mast on a night when the sea was dead calm.

Lookout LEE -- (crow's nest) It seemed almost as if she might clear it, but I suppose there was ice under water. ...The ship seemed to hell slightly over to port as she struck the berg...avery slightly to port as she struck along the starboard side.

Sliding over an underwater portion of the berg would have raised the starboard side. This lifting was not so obvious inside the hull, but the height of the crow's nest above the keel would have accentuated the lifting and made it quite noticeable. There may be corroboration of Lee's observation from a passenger in the first class smoking room, Hugh Woolner. Note the way he described the accident. The "slight twist" in his testimony could well have been caused by the lifting of the starboard bow as it rode over the iceberg.

Passenger H. WOOLNER -- (smoking room) We felt a sort of stopping, a sort of, not exactly shock, but a sort of slowing down; and then we sort of felt a rip that gave a sort of slight twist to the whole room.



-- David G. Brown
 
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Aaron_2016

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Did a brief search for any words that resembled a grounding sensation.



Mr. Hichens - "We could hear the grinding noise along the ship's bottom."

Mrs. White - "It was just as though we went over about a thousand marbles."

Mr. Ray - "A kind of a movement that went backward and forward. I thought something had gone wrong in the engine room."

Mr. Symons - "What awakened me was a grinding sound on her bottom."

Mr. Hyman - "There came a tearing sound and the boat listed a little to one side."

Mr. Lee - "The ship seemed to heel slightly over to port as she struck the berg....Very slightly over to port, as she struck along the starboard side."

Mr. Fleet
Q - Did it seem that the blow came beneath the surface of the water and caused her to shift?
A - Yes, sir.


Looking at the damage that may have caused her sinking, the damage suggests the ship was pushed over by the iceberg and slid off the shelf underneath.



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Mr. Scott was all the way aft in the turbine room. I think the collision at the bow would have been drowned out by the sound and vibration of the engines. Yet he felt something (perhaps passing below his feet) as the keel slid off the ice when the order "hard a-port" was given.

Q - You were employed in the turbine engine room, starboard side?
A - Starboard side.
Q - Is that where you were when the collision happened?
A - Yes, just against the engine room door which parts the turbine room from the engine room.
Q - You felt something; what was it?
A - I felt a shock and I thought it was something in the main engine room which had gone wrong.



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There is one description of the impact from a boiler room. We have the testimony of stoker Beauchamp who described the impact as a "sound like thunder." He was tending the furnaces in stokehold #10 at the after end of boiler room #6. Here's what he told the BOT:

662. Was it a severe shock?
- Just like thunder, the roar of thunder.

Beauchamp was at his duty station during impact. He stayed there for about 20 minutes afterward raking down the furnaces beneath the boilers. During that time a small amount of water began flowing out of the bunker behind him (against bulkhead E).

-- David G. Brown
 

Georges Guay

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Testimony of Frederick Barrett

1835. Are you a fireman, a leading hand?
- A leading stoker.

1842. Which was the number of your section?
- No.6

1843. Does that correspond to No. 6 boiler room?
- Yes.

1861. You saw this red light?
- Yes.

1862. You knew that was an order to stop the engines?
- It says "stop" - a red piece of glass and an electric light inside.

1866. What was the next thing that happened?
- The crash came before we had them all shut.

1868. Where was the crash - what was it you felt or heard or saw?
- Water came pouring in two feet above the stokehold plate; the ship's side was torn from the third stokehold to the foreward end.

1874. (The Solicitor-General.) I think your last question and mine meant the same thing, my Lord. (To the Witness.) I wanted to know where it came from - underneath or from the side or from the port side or from the starboard side?
- The starboard side.

1875. Can you tell us at all compared with where you were standing whether it came from above or below?
- About two feet from where I was standing.

The Commissioner:
That is what I want to know - exactly where the water came from. He says from the starboard side.

1876. (The Solicitor-General.) We will get it by degrees, my Lord. (To the Witness.) About two feet from above where your feet were?
- Yes.

1877. On the starboard side?
- Yes.

1887. (The Commissioner.) Those were the plates you were standing on?
- Yes.

1888. Did the water come up through those plates?
- No, from 2 feet over those plates.

1889. Did the water come through the side of the ship?
- Yes.

Webster definition of crush: to squeeze or force by pressure so as to alter or destroy a structure. I would rather say that the Iceberg was at work to damage Titanic Starboard Side, not the other way around. Did Hichens have previous experience crushing an iceberg at 21½ knots? «The ship had swung about two points» before, during or after she crushed? Two feet above the stokehold plates is 25 feet below the sea surface, which I agree to be quite in the bottom. Etc...
 
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From the testimony of Beauchamp:

661a. (Mr. Raymond Asquith - To the Witness.) Did you notice the shock when the ship struck? - Yes, Sir, I noticed the shock.
662. Was it a severe shock? - Just like thunder, the roar of thunder.

What has this description to do with "damage to the keel" or "grounding"? Nothing! He only said how the shock felt for him. Nothing that it came from below, nothing that the ship listed or anything else!
 
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How does ice which is softer than water damage steel which is both harder and braced to withstand impact with ice?

-- David G. Brown
 

Rob Lawes

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How does foam insulation so light that you can push your finger through it with ease, smash a hole in the reinforced leading edge of the space shuttle's wing?

Easy, velocity and mass.
 
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Hmm....perhaps they should have waited 50 years and built Titanic out of styrofoam. Apparently lighter and less dense beats heavy, high tensile strength and thicker materials.

And, if ice can cut through steel so easily, how do you explain ice breakers? They weren't made out of cardboard in 1912.

Seriously, I've examined dents in shell plating of a ship built of similar steel to titanic. I've personally seen dents both in flat plate and in riveted seams equal to at least double the thickness of the plating. These were made by hard rock and concrete known to be strong enough to punch through steel under the right conditions. No cracks were in evidence and the original rivets were in situ. Titanic was braced to push through harbor ice, a convenient design feature in winter operations. The internal bracing of the frames seemed to play a role in the resilience of the hull. But, real world examination of a real hull with real damage is just an anecdote.

The alleged sideswipe has another thing against it -- lubrication. No, not oil. In this case it was water. Anyone who lives in northern climes knows just how slippery ice becomes when covered with water.

Oh yes, then there's the angle of attack. The berg would have approached the bow at a very shallow angle. Ever hear of sloped armor in tanks? The idea is that by sloping the steel armor it effectively becomes thicker and is thus less likely to be penetrated by an income enemy shell. Just so with the incoming iceberg if it had come into contact with the pointed shape of Titanic's forward topsides.

As to the grounding, yes lubrication and shape would all have played into the outcome. But the real killer would have been the ship's own dead weight. As it rode onto the underwater ice a percentage of the support holding the ship up would have been transferred from buoyancy to dead weight resting on the hard. This can be disastrous. Every ship comes with special plan for the future time when it must be dried out in a graving dock. When dry, the weight of the ship must rest on blocks precisely placed under properly reinforced areas of the hull. If this is not done, the ship can be racked out of shape and even have holes punched into the bottom. Yes, a ship can be "killed" by its own weight.

One thing seldom mentioned on these forums or even erudite tomes is the nature of the developable surfaces represented by Titanic's cellular double bottom and the vertical topsides plating. The horizontal bottom could roll over the underwater portion of an iceberg with comparatively little damage. The vertical topsides could flex in and out (not to be confused with "panting" in much the same manner. But, these two flexible surfaces were joined at the more-or-less right angle represented by the turn of the bilge. The bottom could flex as the ship rode over the berg like a rug being pulled over a boulder. Not so the vertical topsides. The result would have been considerable strain on the seams where the bottom and topsides met at the turn of the bilge. And, the horizontal seam above that joint would have been just about where leading stoker Barrett said he saw massive water ingress.

You can test this idea by using two pieces of light cover stock paper. Attach them loosely at a right angle and then flex the horizontal card. Watch what happens to the seam you just made.

In a grounding incident the water-lubricated ice would not appreciably slow the speed of the hull. It would also dampen much of the bumping and grinding that would have occurred dragging Titanic over a pile of quarry rocks ashore. This is the predominant description of the accident by crew and passengers. It was not, however, the only interaction between ice and steel. There must have been some sort of "thump" near the sheerline to cause the berg to dislodge that mini-avalanche of ice chunks into the well deck. And, trimmer Cavelle definitely felt a substantial bump in way of boiler room #4 that result in his being covered in tumbling coal.

Now, I've found a styrofoam cup. Has anybody seen an iceberg floating around?

-- David G. Brown
 

Rob Lawes

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Regarding Ice breakers, my car is essentially made from the same materials as a snow plough but that doesn't mean I'd attempt to drive my car at speed into a 5ft high snow drift. An Ice Breaker is designed to be such.

When it comes to impacts it doesn't matter what things are made of as much how readily they dissipate the energy of a collision.
 

Georges Guay

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«And, if ice can cut through steel so easily, how do you explain ice breakers?»
It is because icebreakers spend more time proceeding thru ice which is said to be softer than water.

«They weren't made out of cardboard in 1912.»
But her shell plating was certainly not built with 2 inches in thick of High tensile clean carbon steel, yielding strength up to 73,000 psi, design to handle extreme amounts of stress and to resist «brittle fracture in low ambient temperatures».

Short and stubby icebreakers are generally built using «Tranverse Framing» in which the shell plating is stiffened with frames placed about 1 to 3 ft apart. The frames running in vertical direction distribute the local ice loads on the shell plating to longitudinal girders called stringers, which in turn are supported by web frames and bulkheads that carry the global hull loads. Titanic was built using a «tranverse framing» which distributed the local ice loads to the global hull transverse structure. But the brittle shell plating of high slag content and associated rivets would not distribute an extreme and instant load stress.
 

TimTurner

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Not disagreeing, but The most compelling evidence I've seen so far is the port list. Survivor accounts of crushing the ice, rolling on marbles, or grinding on the bottom would be identical with side or bottom impact. Also, if the side strike pattern was caused bythe titanic riding up the berg, then your talking a deck or two of movement, which would have mentioned by witnesses.
 

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