Titanic's Achilles Heel History Channel

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Inger Sheil

Inger Sheil

Member
I have a personal reason for hoping that the show presents reasonable evidence and conclusions. My name is attached to this project, so if the analysis doesn't come across as credible, then my own credibility will suffer as a result.
Although no one who knows you or knows the Titanic research community could doubt your conscientiousness, your phenomenal ability, or your dedication to the subject, Parks. I can only hope that the end result adequately reflects your committment, because if so the result will be remarkable.
 
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Parks Stephenson

Member
I can only hope that the end result adequately reflects your committment, because if so the result will be remarkable.

Ing,

Thank you for your sentiment. I guarantee you that I will not rest until I can make everything that I have learned available to everyone.

Parks
 
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George L. Lorton

Member
Parks >>I guarantee you that I will not rest until I can make everything that I have learned available to everyone.<<

Sweet!
Happy
Happy


I hope to catch the show later that night as I gotta work Sunday.
Sad
Sad
 
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Tarn Stephanos

Member
I look forward to this special-particulary any Britannic footage. I hope a book companion will be published at some point...
It hope the area between the 3rd & 4th funnels on Britannic was examined closely..
It just amazes me that Titanic is in such a state of devistation, yet her sister Britannic is one of the most articulated wrecks (of that era) on the sea floor...
It makes me wonder how Olympic & Britannic were have fared had they been placed in titanic's fatal situation....

I reject the 'brittle steel' theory, but think there is validity to the idea there may have been a design flaw- The area between the 3rd & 4th funnels contained 2 large spaces- the uptake for the reciprocating engines, and the aft grand staircase..Plus there was the aft expansion joint..

One would think Harland & Wolff would recognize that the reciprocating engines & aft grand staircase opened up large sections of the deck- and must have compensated by strengthening those particular areas.
If not, then such may point to a very real design flaw...
 
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Tarn Stephanos

Member
"I guarantee you that I will not rest until I can make everything that I have learned available to everyone.

Parks" QUOTE



Hi Parks
This positive attitude is what makes you a very important player in the Titanic community.

I have met my fair share of Titanic scholars and explorers who opted to keep their findings to themselves, or share only with a select few...

Your inclusive approach is refreshing, and other Titanic scholars should take heed and follow your example. It gives me hope for our community!
Thanks very much!


regards


Tarn Stephanos
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
For whatever it's worth, the History Channel is presenting this as a two hour show which starts at 8pm EST tommorrow. At least that's how the schedule is showing on DISH TV. I already have it set to record since I'll still be at work when it starts.

>>but think there is validity to the idea there may have been a design flaw...<<

As a point of order, there are always design flaws and shortcomings in one form or another and this is true of any ship, no matter how well designed and constructed. It's just in the nature of the game that a ship is a study in tradeoffs and compromises so that she can best do the sort of job expected of her.

Of course, the question is whether or not the Olympic class had a design flaw above and beyond the call of the usual sort of thing that goes with any design.
 
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Parks Stephenson

Member
Of course, the question is whether or not the Olympic class had a design flaw above and beyond the call of the usual sort of thing that goes with any design.

As has been suggested, Olympic's career must be considered when evaluating the longevity of the design. However, one must remember that Olympic went through a substantial alteration to her original hull design in 1913. Therefore, we don't have any historical data for how well the original Olympic design would have endured the sea-going environment, except for the period 1911-12. We did look at the 1913 modifications to see if they addressed any design flaw that would have plagued the original Olympic/Titanic design.

Parks
 
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Bob Read

Guest
Parks:
Leaving aside for the moment the debate about whether Olympic's 1913 modifications made any siginificant increases in her hull strength,
The following quote from Mark Chirnside's book "The Olympic Class Ships" about a January 1912 voyage by Olympic in WNA conditions:

"- On January 14, 1912, in gale-force conditions, a massive wave swept across her Forecastle Deck with enough strength to tear off the No. 1 Hatch and hurl it back into the forward Well Deck."

Hopefully nobody dismissed the conditions encountered in this particular voyage as insufficient to reveal an "Achilles heel" in Olympic Class design.

Regards,
Bob Read
 
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Bob Read

Guest
I wanted to correct a citation error in my previous post. The quote is from Mark Chirnside's book: "RMS Olympic, Titanic's Sister".
Here is an expanded quote from the book which gives a more visceral feel for the conditions which Olympic weathered on this January 1912 voyage:

"Olympic’s first westbound crossing of the New Year, 1912, saw her experience a severe storm, which Captain Smith described as the most severe he could ever recall. On Sunday 14 January 1912, gale force winds and snow were encountered with rising seas; one particularly immense wave broke over the ship’s bow at about 1.30 pm, carrying tons of water aboard, loosening the steam winch and anchor windlass on the forecastle deck, tearing away a forward section of portside railing, and wrestling loose a forward five-ton hatch cover which landed on the fore well deck.1 However, fortunately repairs allowed the ship to arrive and depart on time. Leaving New York on 24 January 1912 on her first eastbound crossing of the year — the return leg of her seventh round trip — her passengers included Bruce Ismay, Molly Brown, the Astors and Mr Klaber, who were to travel on her sister’s maiden voyage in April…" p.97

Regards,
Bob Read
 
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Parks Stephenson

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Bob,

I know about that passage, but I don't know if that plays in the show. There are other things, too, that the advisors brought up during our discussions that may or may not come out in the show. If anything is missed, then we have to start pitching a new project....

Also, Bob -- and I'm not arguing with you here -- a wave that creates topside damage may or may not have an adverse effect on the hull. There are specific situations where a series of waves can create problems for a hull structure. I know that that was one of the areas that JMS Engineering was looking into. What they came up with, I don't yet know.

Parks
 
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Will C. White

Member
I note the reference to a single immense wave. I know that this is well before the time when rogue waves were considered fact as opposed to old sailors stories, but could this be an instance of same, or should we consider it a combined sea since I presume it came from the same direction as the other waves at the time? Heck of a blow to shed no matter what-bet Smith's heart rate shot up over a hundred when he saw that mother coming!
 
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Bob Read

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Will:
I don't think we can consider this a "rogue wave". This is what is known as WNA (winter North Atlantic" Here is a quote from a book called "The Great Liners":

"On every ship venturing forth on the North Atlantic there is a special load-line mark painted on the hull. It is the lowest and most cautious of all load lines, and it is identified as "WNA" - Winter North Atlantic. This is the line beyond which a vessel must never be loaded in that season on that ocean. No other ocean has ever inspired any such mark of fear and respect."

For Captain Smith, a veteran of years of crossings of this ocean during this season, to say that this storm was the most severe that he could ever recall is no small statement. What we had here was perhaps the most violent of conditions that an Olympic Class ship could face. The point of this is that here we have a real world test of the Olympic Class design under the kind of conditions which would reveal any Achilles heel. Olympic at this stage had not yet undergone any structural modifications from her original design. Titanic was for all intents and purposes an identical ship. So here we see the Olympic class design proven safe against these kinds of conditions.

Regards,
Bob Read
 
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Parks Stephenson

Member
The point of this is that here we have a real world test of the Olympic Class design under the kind of conditions which would reveal any Achilles heel.

Bob,

One stormy passage, no matter how severe, may not generate the kind of situation that can pose the greatest risk to a hull structure. One might encounter, for instance, a fatal periodicity in wave formation that does not have much to do with the local weather. The January 1912 storm does not conclusively prove that the Olympic class did not have a particular weakness to a certain phase in a given harmonic wave front. That kind of determination can only be done either in 1) an analysis after an at-sea failure; or 2) modeling in a controlled environment.

We are straying into an area that may or may not be covered in tonight's show...I don't know. I'm merely responding to the points that you have raised in thread and am therefore not speaking for the production. I'm not saying that the January 1912 storm wasn't something to look at; in fact, those of us who came together because of the show had numerous conversations about the documented damage that Olympic exhibited from normal -- and abnormal -- wear and tear throughout her career.

I don't believe that I have mentioned anything about rogue waves, or anything like that. If anything, I refer only to the kind of conditions that naval architectural firms use to calculate the seakeeping characteristics of any vessel. I don't want to stray into any speculation about "Titanic" meeting "The Poseidon Adventure."

Parks
 
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Bob Read

Guest
Parks:
As long as we're talking about Olympic not experiencing sufficient real world conditions to act as a laboratory for Titanic, maybe you could give us some idea of the inherent limitations of mathematical modeling on which a prediction of a catastrophic hull breakup would be based.

Regards,
Bob Read
 
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Parks Stephenson

Member
Bob,

Smart aleck comments like yours don't deserve a reply.

It's Father's Day and I'm going to enjoy time with my family. I'm outta here.

Parks
 
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