Titanic's Proposed Coal Consumption


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Although this topic has been partly covered in the spin-off ‘Speed, coal, etc.’ thread under ‘Collision/Sinking theories,’ I think it warrants a new thread. It has been hotly-debated regarding the amount of coal Titanic had on her maiden voyage, and whether she had enough to arrive late on Tuesday night.

I would like to present my calculations, inviting opinion, and detail the assumptions:

1. That Titanic had 5,892 tons of coal in approximate measure when she departed Southampton.

2. That Titanic burned approximately the same amount of coal as Olympic at similar speeds.
Data is lacking, but on Olympic’s maiden trip she burned a total of 3,540 tons of coal, averaging 620 tons of coal per day at 21.7 knots; she arrived in New York with a reserve of some 1,300 tons, having departed Southampton with a mere 4,800 tons of coal.
However, figures given by Harold Sanderson during the war indicate that Olympic burned far more fuel in service than on her maiden voyage; this may be because his figures are for Olympic drawing 38 feet 6 inches of water, a displacement of more like 55,000 tons, and they may include 100 additional tons of reserve fuel per 24 hours, giving a 850-ton consumption at 22.5 knots rather than a more likely 750 tons. In any case, Sanderson’s consumption figures seem far too high. Nevertheless, these figures have been used below as a maximum amount possibly burned by Titanic, in a far lighter condition.

Initial fuel stock: 5,892 tons coal.

Speed:
Average 18 knots Southampton to Queenstown, burning 485 tons for 24 hours (actual time is less).
Coal remaining: 5,407 tons.
20 knots April 11th to April 12th, burning a total of 630 tons of coal.
Coal remaining: 4,777 tons.
21 knots April 12th to April 13th, burning a total of 710 tons of coal.
Coal remaining: 4,067 tons.
22 knots April 13th to April 14th, burning a total of 800 tons of coal.
Coal remaining: 3,267 tons.
22.5 knots April 14th to April 15th, burning a total of 850 tons of coal.
Coal remaining: 2,417 tons.
23 knots April 15th to April 16th, burning a total of 900 tons of coal.
Coal remaining: 1,517 tons.
23.5 knots April 16th until 11.59 p.m., burning no more than 500 tons of coal.
Coal remaining: 1,017 tons.

It is considered prudent to have a five or ten percent fuel reserve: 589 tons assuming an initial 5,892 tons. A remaining 1,017 tons is far above this.

Even starting with 5,300 tons as a fuel stock leaving Southampton, the lowest estimate I have seen, there would still be 425 tons of fuel remaining in New York, ample for 24 hours at 17 knots.

If we do not use Sanderson’s figures, which seem too high, and assume more like 650 tons at over 22 knots, then we may have as much as 1,500 tons of coal remaining when the ship reached New York.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Hi Mark, while I'm no mathmatician myself, it's pretty obvious that at 55,000 tons displacement, the Olympic was overloaded. That would certainly account for the higher figures in later years. I don't remember offhand what the Titanic's displacement was at departure, but I'm sure it didn't get anywhere near that high. My inclination would be to figure on the lower consumption rate as the ship didn't have all that extra mass working against her.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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Mike,

I agree completely. She was overloaded, but I suppose that would have been it in wartime. That's why, I believe, the maximum figure given for consumption is 22.5 knots being maintained; otherwise, it would have been good to see it go up to over 23.5 knots.

Going for the lower consumption rate is my best idea for Titanic, but even if people argue that she used more than that, even using Sanderson's higher figures Titanic seems to have had more than enough coal.

I'll do someday a table assuming the lower figures as certified by Olympic's maiden trip.

Best regards,

Mark.

P.S. Gone back to my 'trademark' font.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Hi again Mark, I think you'll find overloading is a very common practice in wartime as the authorities want to get the most out of any ship, be they civilian transports or warships.(Notice how badly overweight some U.S. Warships were by the end of WWII?)

With all the thousands carried by say, the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth, I doubt they were traveling at their ideal displacement. The extra provisions for the people as well as their equipment, armament carried and the ammunition for same wouldn't help. I'll bet their fuel consumption figures as transports compared to their later configuration as liners would be equally interesting.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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Further point regarding speed, as I understand it, although this is mostly a coal thread. I give two scenarios:

The distance from Daunt Rock to wreckage of the ship is 1,808 miles; giving a final run of 259 miles in 11.66 hours (with first runs of 484, 519 and 546 miles).

<FONT COLOR="ff0000">1. Taking the taffrail log as read by Quartermaster Rowe at about 11.40 p.m., the ship had covered roughly 260 miles since noon (through the water) at a speed of 22.3 knots; however, assuming a 0.6 knot current against the ship, this means her speed was 21.7 knots, lower than the previous run over the ground of 22.1 knots.

I believe there is no evidence she slowed down and so believe the log may have been under-registering, based on the ship's position unless the current was 0.08 knot, which surely is highly improbable.

Anyway, we know the ship’s wreckage is 259 miles over the ground after the first runs.

Assuming she maintained 22.0784 knots over the ground until 7 p.m., she covered 154.5 miles. This leaves 104.4 miles in the next 4.66 hours, or 22.43 knots over the ground on average. (23.03 knots through the water.)

However, this all assumes the ship’s wreckage is directly below where the collision took place and that the previous runs were perfectly accurate.

<FONT COLOR="ff0000">2. What if the ship had moved astern with the current in 2 hours when stopped and sinking? (This assumes she did not move further on her previous course after the collision, or moved North with little Easterly direction.) This gives a run of some 260.2 miles in 11.66 hours over the ground at an average of 22.32 knots, assuming a current of 0.6 knots. (Yet, we’ll never know the current. It may be more like 1 knot.

So, until 7 p.m. I assume she did 154.5 miles at 22.0784 knots over the ground.
Then I assume the remaining 105.7 miles was done at a higher speed; we get 22.68 knots over the ground, or 23.28 knots through the water.

We will never know for certain how strong the current was, how the ship drifted, or how fast she moved at any certain time; but I believe she accelerated in her later hours, a continuing increase in speed to arrive on Tuesday night, which she had enough coal to do.

I hope we can get a fascinating discussion boiling.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Hi Mark, 81,235 gross tons is all the information I have at my immidiate beck and call. The ship is certainly no lightweight.

In regards the Titanic's manuevering, I think it's a pretty safe bet she did some. It's been discussed several times here on ET. That fact alone would tend to skew the figures some.

BTW, where are the rest of the techies? You and I can't possibly be the only ones interested in this.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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Don't know where the others are: Cal, Capt. David, Parks, Capt. Eric, Morgan...

It's proving hard. I think 259 miles can be accepted as the minimum distance she travelled in 11.66 hours over the ground.


Quote:

'So you've not yet fired-up all those brainy boilers.'

'No, I don't see the need. We are having excellent discussions.'

'The press knows the size of our boilers, now I want them to marvel at our technical discussion...'





Couldn't resist putting that in. Where's it from?

Best regards,

Mark.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Some of our chums seem to have taken a bit of a sabbatical from the board. I know of two who are taking a breather for personal reasons.

As to the dialogue, it looks like the real conversation that took place between Captain Smith and the e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-vile Fu Man Ismay.

(Just kidding about the "evil" part, Teri. Thought I'd poke some fun at the bad press the bloke seems to get, even these days.
wink.gif
)

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Seriously, what does it say about me that I can remember the movie's dialoge?

I believe it was exagerated in the movie; I think Ismay did want to beat Olympic's maiden crossing time and advised Smith, who thought it was acheivable. (Olympic had arrived Tuesday on her second Wsetward trip, her best run at 560 miles near the beginning despite the current, being fully loaded and not completely broken in...)

Let's hope all the furnaces will be operating soon; 'I want us at 22&frac12; knots by noon...'
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Here's the table I did ages ago utilising the lower accurate figures:

Coal burned…Date…….……..
550 tons……..until April 11th…
620 tons…..…until April 12th…
640 tons……..until April 13th…
700 tons……..until April 14th…
850 tons……..until April 15th…
900 tons……..until April 16th……
500 tons……..until late April 16th…


This is perhaps more accurate.

Total consumption: 4,760 tons = 1,132 reserve.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Looks to me like the Big T had an adaquate reserve of coal. Nearly 20% in fact. I'm not entirely convinced they were out to break the Olympic's crossing time. Arriving a little too early would likely have caused problems for some who had arranged accomadation/lodging ahead of time. Still, It's possible.

Just as plausible is the possibility that they may have wanted to do an all out full power run to see what the ship could do. It's a common enough practice with new ships.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Personally I believe the evidence is very convincing that they wanted to arrive Tuesday night; but my point is not so much that they were definitely out to do that, but I believe that the coal supply was more than adequate to attempt to do so.

We might have to wait to fire up all the 29 boilers…
 

Cal Haines

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Nov 20, 2000
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Mark wrote:
Don't know where the others are: Cal, Capt. David, Parks, Capt. Eric, Morgan...

Hi Mark,

Don't know about the rest of the gang, but for some reason I stopped getting e-mail versions of the posts. Seems to happen each time Phil does an upgrade.
happy.gif


Cal
 
Jan 5, 2001
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ummm... In my case I am just happy to have access to my e-mail account.

We still might get a burning discussion yet.
smile.gif
 
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Further displacement info.

33 feet 6 inches - - - - 50,500 tons
34 feet 0 inches - - - - 51,340 tons
34 feet 7 inches - - - - 52,310 tons

Two first figures per Thomas Andrews' July 1911 calculation; last figure per Edward Wilding. So Olympic loaded at 38 feet 6 inches gives displacement more like 60,000 tons at a rough estimate.
 

Erik Wood

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Aug 24, 2000
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Gentleman,

Sorry for my late arrival in this here subject but personal affairs have kept me away from the board. However, Mr. Chirnside as always is full of insightfull knowlegde. Having only skimmed over the posts above I will attempt to rattle off my thoughts on the subject in hopes that nobody becomes offended and that I did not repeat anything already said.

I am a firm believer in the fact that Titanic left Southampton with enough coal to get her to where she was going with that little extra cushion that Captains like to have. Now it has been discussed in other threads that Mr. Ismay wanted to burn that reserve in a speed run to be carried out the day after the accident. Now although this could be very true the reality is that Ismay wouldn't have needed this extra coal to accomplish his goal as Captain Brown as stated several times.

Ships on there maiden run historically like to burn fuel almost like breaking in the engines (as well as the fuel system) now since I don't really have any experience with coal fired boilers I had to differ thoughts on this to Captain Harry Anderson on this here subject. Captain Anderson was the Captain of the S.S William G. Mather which at first was a coal fired ship. He confirms my thoughts on the subject that ships like to burn fuel on there maiden ships. Especially Triple Expansion Steam. Why he didn't know and either do I.

What are we suggesting Titanics displacement was with her load of coal??? Or is this something that would or should be shard privately. I am open for that as well.

Erik
 
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<FONT COLOR="ff0000">What are we suggesting Titanics displacement was with her load of coal???

I'm not quite sure what you mean here, do you mean when 5,892 tons were aboard and everything else like at Southampton, or when she was nearing the end of her destination? I've guessed from Thomas Andrews' figures that her lowest weight would be 45,000 tons; with 59,000 horsepower that gives 1.3 horsepower/displacement ton, compared to Mauretania's 1.7...

(BTW, there are some more interesting figures in the thread 'Olympic's Speed.')

Mark.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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G'Day Erik, good to see you back! I suspect Mark is trying to work out a table of displacements...namely what they would be at a certain draft. Now that I think of it, such information might be useful for the research you're trying to do.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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