Twisting

ApwbD1912

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Hello, guys
Some testimonies, such as the one given by Caroline Bonnel, suggested that the ship was quite hog-backed at a relatively shallow angle. We all know that the whole ship had a list to port of at least 10 degrees when the bridge went under. When the top deck of a ship starts to get underwater, the possible list of the ship to any of its sides, either corrects or causes the ship to topple. Could the Titanic be already bending when the forward boat deck started to flood? And, further, would the sudden correction of the port list twist the ship to pieces?(as we know, the after part lurched to port)
This theory supports some testimonies who saw the ship writhe (twist).
Carrie Chaffee:
“The ship seemed to writhe, breaking into three parts into which it was divided.”
 

R.M.S TITANIC

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Well, it is a possibility. The list also depends on how the weight on board is shifted. On the afternoon of Sunday, the ship had a port list of about 2.5 degrees, which is most likely due to the stokers down below shoveling the burning coal from the coal fire into the boilers, assuming the fire was on the starboard side. But generally, and as far as I know, a ship doesn't really twist while breaking up. Besides, most of the stuff that would of added the most weight, like the engines, were generally bolted to the floor. The layout of the ship has to also be taken into consideration.
 

ApwbD1912

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Well, it is a possibility. The list also depends on how the weight on board is shifted. On the afternoon of Sunday, the ship had a port list of about 2.5 degrees, which is most likely due to the stokers down below shoveling the burning coal from the coal fire into the boilers, assuming the fire was on the starboard side. But generally, and as far as I know, a ship doesn't really twist while breaking up. Besides, most of the stuff that would of added the most weight, like the engines, were generally bolted to the floor. The layout of the ship has to also be taken into consideration.
If the hull girder (everything below A deck, which was a superstructure) was already bending at an early stage, it could have allowed water to flood areas amidships (BR#1 and Engine Room), causing the keel to bend downwards and the third funnel deckhouse area to fall apart.This, combined with the rapid flooding of the upper decks, would twist the ship as the forward part wants to right itself while the after part wants to roll to port. When the keel failed, the two hulls surely acted as distinct ships.
 

R.M.S TITANIC

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Well.. that does make sense. The bow was full of water, which was pulling down equally on both sides more or less, but the port list at the break up meant that the stern was at an angle, causing the stern to flood unevenly, with more water coming in on the port side, pulling the port side down more.... Yeah, I totally agree. But surely it would leave some evidence of twisting? The double bottom was ridgid, so if the ship did twist, there should be some sign that the double bottom was being twisted violently.
 

Seungho Kang

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Mar 5, 2019
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Yes, it is possible.

The entire ship had a port list, but the only part flooded to make that happen was mostly the bow section.
If the ship breaks, the bow would retain that list, but the stern, only partially or not flooded, would eventually correct its list and stand upright.

If the bow does not break off clearly, and have some “vague” sections at the midship that hasnt parted yet, these sections would pull apart from both sides and possibly create a “third”, and at greater extent, a “fourth” section, hence the forward and aft towers (3rd funnel deckhouse, and the reciprocating engine vent area)

this would make the ship twist or at least look as if it was physically twsting.

(from Roy Mengot)
The "Big Piece" is significant because it's part of the sheer strake and was formed by tearing the double 1" steel hull plates on each side. A simple bending force on the hull might cause the sheer strake to tear on one side, but tearing it again so nearby requires a mystery force. The only way steel plates can be torn on multiple lines like that is if there was a twisting motion on the steel. The tears may possibly have come from the top and bottom on opposite sides in that case. The "Ballard Piece" represents yet another tear in close proximity to the two tears forming the big piece. Had a clean, simple tear occurred in the shell plate, these pieces might well have been part of some of the other larger hull sections identified in the debris field. The bending, twisting, and tearing of the hull plates into smaller pieces indicates the "hinge" existed long enough to support extensive tearing of the hull laterally along the K-strake.
 

Bill Vanek

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Jul 22, 2019
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Hello, guys
Some testimonies, such as the one given by Caroline Bonnel, suggested that the ship was quite hog-backed at a relatively shallow angle. We all know that the whole ship had a list to port of at least 10 degrees when the bridge went under. When the top deck of a ship starts to get underwater, the possible list of the ship to any of its sides, either corrects or causes the ship to topple. Could the Titanic be already bending when the forward boat deck started to flood? And, further, would the sudden correction of the port list twist the ship to pieces?(as we know, the after part lurched to port)
This theory supports some testimonies who saw the ship writhe (twist).
Carrie Chaffee:
“The ship seemed to writhe, breaking into three parts into which it was divided.”
The port list was corrected before the bridge went under. Only one man said that it was still listing while he was working on the collapsible boats, but the list straightened out at about that time. One proof of it is that Mellors said that the list was so bad that you couldn't walk on deck without holding onto something. Just before the bridge went under, that was no longer the case. Col. Gracie's book and Thayer's experience were that people (and themselves) were able to move about freely at the last, before they ended up in the water. See the attachment.
 

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ApwbD1912

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The port list was corrected before the bridge went under. Only one man said that it was still listing while he was working on the collapsible boats, but the list straightened out at about that time. One proof of it is that Mellors said that the list was so bad that you couldn't walk on deck without holding onto something. Just before the bridge went under, that was no longer the case. Col. Gracie's book and Thayer's experience were that people (and themselves) were able to move about freely at the last, before they ended up in the water. See the attachment.
I kinda agree with this sequence of events. It portrays the break up starting at the moment the bridge went under. This matches lots of testimonies. But, what do you think that caused the breakup if the weight of the stern up in the air wasn’t the cause?
I tend to think that something, either exploded or imploded amidships and caused the following destruction of the forward and aft tower sections.
The next morning, once rescued by the Carpathia, Major Peuchen saw the barber’s pole floating in the water and assumed that a great explosion had to have happened for the pole to break free from its fastenings. The barber shop was located in the aft Grand Staircase at the C deck landing, so the destruction of the stern section surely started at the surface.
 

Scott Mills

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Jul 10, 2008
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Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Hello, guys
Some testimonies, such as the one given by Caroline Bonnel, suggested that the ship was quite hog-backed at a relatively shallow angle. We all know that the whole ship had a list to port of at least 10 degrees when the bridge went under. When the top deck of a ship starts to get underwater, the possible list of the ship to any of its sides, either corrects or causes the ship to topple. Could the Titanic be already bending when the forward boat deck started to flood? And, further, would the sudden correction of the port list twist the ship to pieces?(as we know, the after part lurched to port)
This theory supports some testimonies who saw the ship writhe (twist).
Carrie Chaffee:
“The ship seemed to writhe, breaking into three parts into which it was divided.”
I am no physicist or engineer, but ships are almost always bending as they travel through the water, even at relatively slow speeds and relatively calm seas. Given this, the stresses put on the hull during the foundering mean that Titanic was almost certainly 'bending,' and the hull under heavy strain, when the bridge went under.

Particularly given that the bridge going under is the beginning of the end stage of Titanic's foundering.
 

Scott Mills

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Jul 10, 2008
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I kinda agree with this sequence of events. It portrays the break up starting at the moment the bridge went under. This matches lots of testimonies. But, what do you think that caused the breakup if the weight of the stern up in the air wasn’t the cause?
I tend to think that something, either exploded or imploded amidships and caused the following destruction of the forward and aft tower sections.
The next morning, once rescued by the Carpathia, Major Peuchen saw the barber’s pole floating in the water and assumed that a great explosion had to have happened for the pole to break free from its fastenings. The barber shop was located in the aft Grand Staircase at the C deck landing, so the destruction of the stern section surely started at the surface.
Aaron, something that has struck me recently when I was contemplating the grounding theory is:

Could there have been damage to the keel or somewhere along the double bottom of Titanic's hull further aft, which while not leading to the direct ingress of water during the first phase of Titanic's sinking, played a contributing role in the structural failure of the hull?​

With my limited knowledge of engineering, I am assuming that you could string a story together which combines your thoughts with my musings; that being said, I am not altogether convinced my speculation is anywhere close to the truth.
 

Bill Vanek

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Jul 22, 2019
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I kinda agree with this sequence of events. It portrays the break up starting at the moment the bridge went under. This matches lots of testimonies. But, what do you think that caused the breakup if the weight of the stern up in the air wasn’t the cause?
I tend to think that something, either exploded or imploded amidships and caused the following destruction of the forward and aft tower sections.
The next morning, once rescued by the Carpathia, Major Peuchen saw the barber’s pole floating in the water and assumed that a great explosion had to have happened for the pole to break free from its fastenings. The barber shop was located in the aft Grand Staircase at the C deck landing, so the destruction of the stern section surely started at the surface.
Remember, the people always mixed facts and conjecture, and the man who saw the barber pole did exactly that. He was correct in knowing where the barber shop was, and correct that something major had to have happened besides the ship merely flooding and sinking. He used the word explosion as his guess. We now know that the ship did break up, so that corrects his language. Any massive break-up would have easily caused such flotsam to show up.

The only other thing that could have exploded was a boiler. However, that is really difficult to do. You have to lose feed (feedwater) to the hot boiler for long enough for the boiler to overheat, then re-establish feed suddenly enough to flash that water to steam instantly; so the "explosion" is actually just a huge expansion of steam in a space that is too small for it to exit easily. That's why it is frequently called a "steam explosion". In the case of Titanic, the boilers of Rooms 3 through 6 were flooded by that time, so the boilers were cold iron. The No. 1 boilers had not been lit. The boilers of Room 2 were still hot, as evidenced by the ship's lights being on (heat provides steam, which provides electricity). If by some crazy circumstance one of those hot boilers lost feed, then got it re-established (why would any of that happen??), and exploded, it would have been a localized explosion that blew the weaker ceiling (decks above it) upward, not the strong keel downward. It also would have harmed the boilers next to it. None of that is true, as evidenced by the intact boilers at the broken end of the bow section.

If by some other craziness the remaining engineers (who were likely trying to pump out floodwater) had lit one or more of the No. 1 boilers, and caused an explosion in one of them, we would have seen a destroyed boiler on the ocean floor. All of those boilers are intact. The keel pieces were so strong (5 feet thick; a grid of steel beams; inch-thick sheathing on the outside; so it was a 3-dimensional ) that a boiler explosion could not have blown two whole sections out of the bottom of the ship.

Implosion occurs when a trapped volume of air in some kind of tank, compartment, vessel, etc. gets enough pressure on the outside of the vessel to suddenly and catastrophically blast it inwards like an inward-directed explosion. It's not the same as a mere crushing in, as the guy on "Mythbusters" illustrated (and incorrectly called 'implosion') when he pulled a vacuum on a gallon gas can. The Titanic was still on the surface, so it was not deep enough to cause the pressures needed to implode anything.

The keel was too strong to fail in compression or in bending modes. And the two keel pieces on the ocean bottom illustrate neither of those. It had to have failed in buckling mode. The only question was whether it buckled inward or outward. Inward would have torn up the edges due to all of the frames being attached there, and the edges are not tore up. Also, inward would have smashed together the mating point of the two pieces at the bottom skin, and that is not so, either. So as much as I'd like to believe the two pieces buckled inward, the evidence says that they buckled outward. See the attached diagram.
 

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ApwbD1912

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Aaron, something that has struck me recently when I was contemplating the grounding theory is:

Could there have been damage to the keel or somewhere along the double bottom of Titanic's hull further aft, which while not leading to the direct ingress of water during the first phase of Titanic's sinking, played a contributing role in the structural failure of the hull?​

With my limited knowledge of engineering, I am assuming that you could string a story together which combines your thoughts with my musings; that being said, I am not altogether convinced my speculation is anywhere close to the truth.
Hi! I’m not Aaron, actually.
I strongly disagree with his theories depicting scenarios where the whole forecastle rises out of the water after the breakup. I think the bow section hesitated for some seconds after the break up, bobbing and leveling itself with the surface, giving some of those onboard and near the ship the impression that the whole section was rising out of the water.
 

ApwbD1912

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Remember, the people always mixed facts and conjecture, and the man who saw the barber pole did exactly that. He was correct in knowing where the barber shop was, and correct that something major had to have happened besides the ship merely flooding and sinking. He used the word explosion as his guess. We now know that the ship did break up, so that corrects his language. Any massive break-up would have easily caused such flotsam to show up.

The only other thing that could have exploded was a boiler. However, that is really difficult to do. You have to lose feed (feedwater) to the hot boiler for long enough for the boiler to overheat, then re-establish feed suddenly enough to flash that water to steam instantly; so the "explosion" is actually just a huge expansion of steam in a space that is too small for it to exit easily. That's why it is frequently called a "steam explosion". In the case of Titanic, the boilers of Rooms 3 through 6 were flooded by that time, so the boilers were cold iron. The No. 1 boilers had not been lit. The boilers of Room 2 were still hot, as evidenced by the ship's lights being on (heat provides steam, which provides electricity). If by some crazy circumstance one of those hot boilers lost feed, then got it re-established (why would any of that happen??), and exploded, it would have been a localized explosion that blew the weaker ceiling (decks above it) upward, not the strong keel downward. It also would have harmed the boilers next to it. None of that is true, as evidenced by the intact boilers at the broken end of the bow section.

If by some other craziness the remaining engineers (who were likely trying to pump out floodwater) had lit one or more of the No. 1 boilers, and caused an explosion in one of them, we would have seen a destroyed boiler on the ocean floor. All of those boilers are intact. The keel pieces were so strong (5 feet thick; a grid of steel beams; inch-thick sheathing on the outside; so it was a 3-dimensional ) that a boiler explosion could not have blown two whole sections out of the bottom of the ship.

Implosion occurs when a trapped volume of air in some kind of tank, compartment, vessel, etc. gets enough pressure on the outside of the vessel to suddenly and catastrophically blast it inwards like an inward-directed explosion. It's not the same as a mere crushing in, as the guy on "Mythbusters" illustrated (and incorrectly called 'implosion') when he pulled a vacuum on a gallon gas can. The Titanic was still on the surface, so it was not deep enough to cause the pressures needed to implode anything.

The keel was too strong to fail in compression or in bending modes. And the two keel pieces on the ocean bottom illustrate neither of those. It had to have failed in buckling mode. The only question was whether it buckled inward or outward. Inward would have torn up the edges due to all of the frames being attached there, and the edges are not tore up. Also, inward would have smashed together the mating point of the two pieces at the bottom skin, and that is not so, either. So as much as I'd like to believe the two pieces buckled inward, the evidence says that they buckled outward. See the attached diagram.
Well, the barber shop was not near at all of the breakup point, just before the third funnel. This is what makes me think that some kind of major force had to be the cause for this upper sections of the ship to split in more than two pieces.
As for the buckling of the keel, the question is: what caused the tensions coming from the after part of the ship if it wasn't standing at an angle yet?
 

Bill Vanek

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Jul 22, 2019
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The entire section of the ship at the third funnel is completely broken up. How can you say that it was not the breakup point? Yes, there was major force, and the ship did split into more than 2 pieces.

Tension is not the stress state that causes buckling; compression is. When a long, slender item cannot compress, it buckles to one side instead. And then the broken pieces look like a tension failure, because they jumped instantly out to the side. Now turn that whole scenario 90 degrees sideways to understand the keel of the Titanic. The force on the keel was coming from the cantilevered mass of the stern. Beam bending causes tension at the top of the beam (in this case, the superstructure down through about deck D) and compression at the bottom of the beam (keel through deck E or so), with that compression pushing from stern toward bow throughout the rigid keel, 90' wide by 5' thick by 800+ feet long (the 5' dimension being the measure of its slenderness). The "sideways" buckling would be the keel busting upward or downward, instantly, where the 5' thickness gives way.

There was enough stress on the keel once the stern half of the ship came out of the water at about 12-15 degrees of tilt.
 

Scott Mills

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The entire section of the ship at the third funnel is completely broken up. How can you say that it was not the breakup point? Yes, there was major force, and the ship did split into more than 2 pieces.

Tension is not the stress state that causes buckling; compression is. When a long, slender item cannot compress, it buckles to one side instead. And then the broken pieces look like a tension failure, because they jumped instantly out to the side. Now turn that whole scenario 90 degrees sideways to understand the keel of the Titanic. The force on the keel was coming from the cantilevered mass of the stern. Beam bending causes tension at the top of the beam (in this case, the superstructure down through about deck D) and compression at the bottom of the beam (keel through deck E or so), with that compression pushing from stern toward bow throughout the rigid keel, 90' wide by 5' thick by 800+ feet long (the 5' dimension being the measure of its slenderness). The "sideways" buckling would be the keel busting upward or downward, instantly, where the 5' thickness gives way.

There was enough stress on the keel once the stern half of the ship came out of the water at about 12-15 degrees of tilt.
But it isn't completely broken up is it? According to this article the 2010 expedition to Titanic discovered a big chunk of the deck house and support structure for Titanic's third funnel (including part of the funnel). This heavily implies that, unlike what was assumed previously, the portion of the hull around the break up did not completely 'break up' or disintegrate, but rather it broke apart in chunks.
 

Bill Vanek

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But it isn't completely broken up is it? According to this article the 2010 expedition to Titanic discovered a big chunk of the deck house and support structure for Titanic's third funnel (including part of the funnel). This heavily implies that, unlike what was assumed previously, the portion of the hull around the break up did not completely 'break up' or disintegrate, but rather it broke apart in chunks.
Look at the artist renditions of the bow and stern, and you'll see that the entire section around the 3rd funnel is destroyed. Yes, there are some chunks. There is a "forward tower" section that is like 5 decks tall, that encompasses the smoke riser that was going up the 3rd funnel. And the "aft tower" goes from C deck (where the barber shop was) up to the top, as one chunk. That chunk was torn from the ship at the barber shop location, so it's no surprise that loose wreckage came from there. No explosion necessary. Besides those large 'tower' pieces, everything else is in smaller sizes than that. It's about 70 feet of the keel of the ship that is wrecked, but measured along the top, it's like 200 feet of destruction. Everything on Mengot's elevation diagram that is in red or is labeled "unknown" is broken to pieces and somewhere else on the ocean bottom.
 

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R.M.S TITANIC

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The break up was a violent place, and had to be in order for such large chunks to be broken into many piece and strewn about on the sea floor. As mengot mentions, steel does not simply come apart and tear like paper.
 

Bill Vanek

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But it isn't completely broken up is it? According to this article the 2010 expedition to Titanic discovered a big chunk of the deck house and support structure for Titanic's third funnel (including part of the funnel). This heavily implies that, unlike what was assumed previously, the portion of the hull around the break up did not completely 'break up' or disintegrate, but rather it broke apart in chunks.
I drew in a barber pole near to where it was originally installed in relation to the artist's rendition of the stern (attached). :)
 

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Scott Mills

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I drew in a barber pole near to where it was originally installed in relation to the artist's rendition of the stern (attached). :)
So looking at the barber pole, and the annotated side view blueprint, it looks like Titanic actually split between the second and third funnels rather than between the 3rd and the 4th funnel.

There is some deep perturbation in my brain when I think about the breakup, because it seems prima facie that this should be a very straight forward engineering problem. In other words, it seems that someone (who is definitely not me), should be able to take what we know about the wreck and the location of the hull split, and then be able to get some computer time to do modelling, and that math could be applied to get a pretty precise picture of how Titanic's hull split, and why it split.
 
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R.M.S TITANIC

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Yes, it seems like it, but there are also many variables. There are several ways it could of happened.