Titanic doc next week


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Feben Iyassu

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Hey peeps,

Just thought I'd post this, I found it while on the National Geographic site. Looks like an interesting doc, well worth watching if you're into the Titanic (like me).

Seconds From Disaster: Titanic 19 September, 9.00PM

Count down the moments leading up to the 'unsinkable' ship's demise on 14 April 1912. An iceberg, too few lifeboats and freezing waters combined in an oceanic tragedy.

check it out:

 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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Definitely worth a look, if only to see our forum member Parks Stephenson. He brings some knowledge and sense to the investigation conducted by a USCG officer.

Don't be put off by the feeble beginning. The last part of the show is much better.
 

Tim Foecke

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Jul 16, 2003
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If you go to nationalgeographic.co.uk and click on the "Seconds from Disaster" bit, then click on the "broadband clips" link for Titanic.

I'm the one in the blue shirt and suspenders.
 
Feb 21, 2005
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Is this only for the UK? I don't seem to find it on my TV listing for tonight. 9pm here (Texas) lists 'Is It Real?'.

Anyone else running into this problem? I sure hate to miss this.
 
Jul 12, 2005
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Matt: The Seconds From Disaster show runs only in the UK next week. Here's when it runs in the U.S.

Seconds from Disaster
Sinking of the Titanic [TV-PG]
Wednesday, October 4, 2006, at 09P
Deconstruct the chain of events leading to some of the world's most tragic disasters. Blending advanced computer generated imaging (CGI), forensic science, eyewitness accounts, and expert testimony; the stories are recreated in gripping detail.

Robert H. Gibbons
 
Jun 13, 2006
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Hmmm, don't hold your breath. I watched it tonight, nothing special, maybe apart from the recreated riveted Titanic shell plates put under stress preasure.

It's a good show for beginners but nothing to write home about for the serious Titanic historian.

Rich
 
Feb 21, 2005
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Hey Robert! Thanks for the heads up! Hope you and yours are all doing well. Still haven't had a chance to make it to Branson yet and it looks like it's going to be an even longer while than I originally expected. I might be moving to Kenner, LA in the next few months, which puts me even further away. First vacation time I get though, I'm there!

Thanks Richard for the review. I didn't figure on it being too much on the ground-breaking front, but I'm still looking forward to seeing it. The CGI previews I saw on the National Geographic website looks interesting enough.

Thanks again guys.
 
Sep 28, 2002
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I have to say that I was not impressed with this programme at all.

The whole programme was built up going through the series of events which caused the sinking. Each one was found to be the standard of the day, except for the rivets. Now Dr. Tim Foecke has done his tests and there is no doubt in my mind he has done a wonderful work, but just what was the pressure exerted on these rivets by the iceberg? No one will ever know.

I have know quite a few people who installed these rivets into Titanic and especially one who was quite close to me. I know it is not a riveter who is to blame but the manufacturer. Saying this, were there better rivets to be found in 1909. If there were and they were more expensive, they would have pushed up Harland & Wolff's profit.

No Titanic hit an iceberg and that is what sank her.

Why buy a Rolls Royce and drive it into a brick wall!
 

Dave Gittins

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Jim, as I've mentioned elsewhere, the problem with the test is that it didn't duplicate the riveting at all.

Below about D deck, the rivets were inserted from inside the hull. The holes were punched and the rivet points were hammered down into the shallow depressions left by the punching. The points stood a little proud of the plates. When they were primed and painted, the plates were left smooth. This can be seen on page 74 of Father Browne's Titanic Album. On page 77 of The Birth of the Titanic, workers can be seen hammering rivets into Britannic.

The test on TV used drilled holes and the points of the rivets were shaped by hammering on a steel die that left them a totally different shape from the real thing.

Personally, I think the rivet points were a source of weakness, but similar rivets worked OK on many other ships. They just didn't hit bergs at 22 knots.

Here's how the rivets were formed, from a Board of Trade document.

113499.gif
 
Sep 28, 2002
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Dave,

Thanks for your answer. I agree completely with you that the rivets would be the weakest point on the plates and I'm sure any maritime officer worth his salt would have known this. What other material could have been used at this time. Welding was tested at Queen's Island in 1906 and was found to be too weak. My father and Grandfather spoke often of repairing welded ships during and after WW2.

FYI the rounded end was "sitting proud" and the almost flattened end was "Flush". just like you wrote the flush end was usually below the water line for less resistance.

A lot of seamen still today would prefer a riveted ship to a welded ship.

The rivets were not the archilles heel of Titanic, just don't hit icebergs.
 
Sep 28, 2002
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Dave,

Sorry but this is old news, it's just a translation from Dr. Foecke's site.

I'll head to Harland & Wolff and take some photos of the Thompson Dock gate. Same rivets, still holding and they have received quite a few bumps!!
 
Feb 21, 2005
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Well, managed to miss that. LOL.

It comes on again on Oct 11, according to the National Geographic website. Even though I've heard it's not much, I'd still enjoy seeing it.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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I think you'll find it's worth a look. At first, I thought they were going to repeat some of the same old myths unchallanged (Like the binoculars issue) but they actually went ahead and nuked some of them.

Unfortunately, the rivet test wasn't quite a reflection of reality since it didn't duplicate the way the ship was actually riveted. Not that the whole thing was wrong in toto, but let's face it, when you strike a mass of ice weighing in at up to a quarter of a million tonnes with a 50,000 tonne mass moving at ~22 knots, you will have some popped rivets no matter how well they're made.
 
Sep 28, 2002
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To me, it looked like they were using all the "ifs", binoculars, ice messages etc until they came to the rivets. Not only didn't they install the rivets according to H&W practices (as dave and Micheal rightly pointed out), but no one has pointed out the pressure upon the rivets when the iceberg and Titanic collided.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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I used a lot of bandwidth talking back and forth with the producers in London during the production of this documentary. Only a fraction of that discussion ended up in the programme, but that's how it normally works with televised documentaries. They have a story to tell and not all of the information regarding the disaster will be of use to them. Books remain the best medium to address a wide-ranging variety of subjects regarding the disaster.

I was never asked about the rivets. They evidently felt that they had that subject well covered. I never even talked with LCDR Penoyer...that was creative editing. My discussion about Cyril Evans was pared down to the bare bones...there is much more subtlety to the story when all the details are taken into account. However, the Cyril Evans subplot was a minor one and was alloted only enough time to cover the basics.

The boiler room scene was interesting because of where it was shot...that water effect is part of the Queen Mary guided tour. As you pass through the empty boiler rooms on an elevated catwalk, there's a lot of noise and light effects, followed by water gushing through what appears to be the side of the hull. The water drains back into a reservoir and the effect resets itself for the next performance. From an engineering standpoint, it's quite impressive.

My wife, daughter and son can be seen throughout the re-enactment scenes. If you see a small girl, that's either my daughter or her best friend...they were the only small children in the cast of extras when we filmed aboard the Queen Mary. I'm in various scenes, too, but always with my back to the camera (couldn't show my face when I would be seen later in the webcast interview). I will always remember this programme fondly, primarily because it allowed my family the opportunity to be part of a film production. It also allowed me the opportunity to take some of the heat off Phillips, whom I believe has been unjustly accused for not properly discharging his duties. Maybe one day I will be able to publicly address the Masaba message incident.

Parks
 

Tim Foecke

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Whether the rivets were the same geometry or not is unimportant so long as the actual tested geometry gives a conservative estimate of the strength. My calculations showed that the rivets that were tested, which were the only ones that Chris Topp could make for me, would give a strength that was actually higher than if they had been tapered flush heads. The fact that the resulting failure load was *still* way low only reinforces the hypothesis.

Our book on my 10 years of research with Titanic materials, coupled with Jen's 5 years+ on the materials and the historical records, including many not previously examined, is finally done. We are shopping for a publisher, and when it comes out, you can read the entire tale.

Tim
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>but no one has pointed out the pressure upon the rivets when the iceberg and Titanic collided.<<

The perils of a TV documentary I suppose but if Tim's post above is any indication, there's a lot more to the story behind the theory with the rivets then meets the lens. Context is everything and you can only do so much with less then an hours worth of air time. Since he's trying to publish his team's book on the subject, I'll have to make a point of getting it.

I'm skeptical of some aspects of the premise with the rivets simply because very bad things happen when large objects expend a lot of energy in coming into violent contact with each other, but I want to see their data in whole and unedited. It may be over rated but on the other hand....we need to really look before we leap.

The people I hang with have had concerns with the Titanic's structural integrity for some time now and this may well confirm a lot of suspicions we've had for years.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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The people I hang with have had concerns with the Titanic's structural integrity for some time now and this may well confirm a lot of suspicions we've had for years.

I have seen both the Titanic and Britannic wrecks. I am impressed by the rigidity of both hull structures. Wrecks half their age fare much worse than either one of the two remaining Olympic-class sisters. The fact that the Britannic wreck has been lying on its side for 90 years without any loss in height (or beam width, relative to the structure) is an indicator. Add to this the fact that even after Titanic broke in two, the bow section slammed into the ocean floor at around 26 knots and still stands proudly today even after her decks suffered major trauma. Even the structure of the stern section survived amazingly intact, given the forces acting against it. I think that such forensic evidence makes it difficult to assert that the intregrity of these structures was anything less than outstanding. And there is even more to the story that will soon come to light, which will make you even more appreciative of the Olympics' architectural design.

No matter how detailed our analysis of the collision may be, don't lose sight of the forest for the trees. As was mentioned above, ships are simply not meant to be driven full tilt against objects of greater mass.

Parks
 
Sep 28, 2002
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Like I said earlier, the rivets were probably the weakest link in the chain.
Now that Dr Foecke is back here and might even answer me, I would suggest to him to ask Harland & Wolff for a rivet out of the Thompson Dock Gate. I am told they are the same rivets.

BTW the programme also stated that the builders only installed 20 lifeboats because of the ship was unsinkable. That really put me off the programme by trying to put the blame on the builders. I had hoped that National Geographic was a serious tv station.
 
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