Vibration in the Ship Caused by Lost Propeller Blade?


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Aaron_2016

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The collision with the iceberg was described as a "jar" followed by a long vibration. Quartermaster Rowe thought they were going full speed astern and immediately reeled in the log line, but we know from engine room survivors that the engines did not go full astern during or immediately after the collision. Did they actually lose a propeller blade instead? The Olympic lost a blade twice in 1912. It happened at night. Newspapers said:

'Vibration of the screw was a source of discomfort for the passengers.'
'The damage created vibration and some of the passengers were roused from their cabins.'



propeller001a.PNG




Titanic survivors described an identical vibration:

Mr. Witter - "I thought she had dropped a blade from the propeller."

Mr. Wheelton -"It felt as if it was the dropping of a propeller or something like that."

Mr. Ward - " I thought at first it was the propeller gone, the way she went."

Mr. Crowe - "I thought one of the propellers had been broken off."

Mr. Burke - "I thought probably she had dropped her propeller, or something."

Mr. Ismay - "I really thought what had happened was we had lost a blade off the propeller."

Mr. Wheat - "Well, I thought she had cast one of her propeller blades. It sounded to me like that."

Q - Have you been on a ship where that has happened?
A - Yes.
Q - And you thought it was that?
A - Yes, I thought it was the same thing.

Lightoller - "It was a feeling as if she may have hit something with her propellers, and on second thoughts I thought perhaps she had struck some obstruction with her propeller and stripped the blades off....It flashed through my mind that possibly it was a piece of wreckage, or something. A piece of ice had been struck by a propeller blade, which might have given a similar feeling to the ship."


Looking at photos of the wreck it certainly appears that one of her starboard blades is missing.


Port propeller

prop1a.PNG



Starboard propeller - Bolts that held third blade are missing with no disturbance of sand underneath, so I doubt it broke off on landing.


propeller01a.PNG



Another perspective

propeller01d.PNG


propellersd1.PNG



Was the vibration felt on the Olympic very likely the same felt on the Titanic? Survivor Joseph Scarrott said: "It seemed as if the ship shook in the same manner as if the engines had been suddenly reversed to full speed astern, just the same sort of vibration, enough to wake anybody up if they were asleep." The engines were not reversing full astern according to engine room survivors during or immediately after the collision. The vibration of a lost blade did however wake up the passengers on the Olympic. Could this be the explanation for the vibration that was felt on the Titanic? Captain Smith was aboard the Olympic when she lost her blade just a few weeks before the Titanic sailed. According to QM Olliver he ordered 'half speed ahead' after the collision. Did he also believe (like the others) that they had indeed lost a blade?



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Kyle Naber

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I guess I hadn't noticed the missing blade in that picture beforehand. Very great observation! I had always assumed it was burried under the sea floor!
 

HSRP131346

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This makes me think. Perhaps Titanic never made the port turn until the ice had past? Maybe the berg scraped along the whole length of the ship and owing to the shape of the bow to BR6 it copped a more broadside hit gouging into it than what would be the more parallel hull from BR6 to the Recip eng room bouncing along. It could explain why people in the engine room astern heard the sound. It scraped right outside their section of the hull. The starboard propeller would still be foul that way. Just a thought.
 
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Aaron_2016

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It would be an interesting piece of the puzzle of the lost propeller could be found. It may tell us where the Titanic struck the iceberg and how far she turned and moved away from it before she sank. Trouble is, when they found the wreck, they stopped searching the ocean floor for anything else as their main goal was achieved. Wonder what could be resting half a mile away to the east and south east of the wreck? The lost propeller?


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Harland Duzen

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This is a interesting observation. I heard that her propeller shafts were damaged and now dis-connected, presumably because the propellers pushed up and bent them. If this is the case, then the blade is either in the debts field or not even been found yet. As mentioned above, it could pinpoint the collision location as like the boilers, it would have sunk like a rock.

However, since the Port Propeller's 3rd blade can't be seen and we know that wasn't dislodged, it the Starboard Propeller is there and it's just obscured.

titanic_ss9_218013.jpeg
 
Mar 18, 2008
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The propellers of Titanic had different pitch and the blades are different curved, so it does not make much sense to compare the wreck images with Olympics from 1911 (which also changed during the years).

The port side propeller is the same as the starboard side so this would mean that both would have lost a blade which can not be the case. The shafts are not only bend upward (the starboard one is on the high of F Deck) the are also delocated as the stern was pushed towards port when coming to rest. The missing blades are buried in the mud.
 

Harland Duzen

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I only used the image as it showed the port propeller clearly and in a similar state to the starboard propeller
 
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Aaron_2016

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The port propeller is half buried in the mud as she slammed into the seabed on that side and there is great disturbance around it.



Port propeller

portprop1a.PNG



Impossible to tell if the third blade of the port propeller is below the mud, but owing to the disturbance around it one must assume it was buried deep by the impact.

portprop1.PNG




Starboard propeller

prop001.PNG


propeller01a.PNG



Zooming in closer I can see were the bolts would have been. Third blade certainly is missing.


propstarboard.PNG


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Georges G.

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Feb 26, 2017
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Far away the idea to break up the party, but is it possible that the blade was torn off while the stern section crashed the seabed at high velocity?
 

Jim Currie

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If any propeller had hit the ice, it would have been the starboard one, not the port one.
The engines were turning astern 30 seconds after impact. Trimmer Dillon said they went slow astern but he did not see the telegraph order. They would start turning astern slowly at first. The turbine blades would drag. The result would be tremendous turbulence round each propeller and the rudder.
The prop blades would fall into the low pressure spaces in the turbulence and cause a heavy vibration in the shafts and associated stern framing. This would cause the hull to 'flex' longitudinally giving a thumping, humping sensation. It is a very normal and common sensation when a ship goes astern coming to anchor.
 
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Aaron_2016

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In February 1912 the Olympic lost a blade. This photo is stated to be March 1912 when repairs were under way. It is interesting to see the bolts on one side are still in place while the bolts on the other side appear to be missing and presumed torn away with the blade that was lost.



propolympic.PNG




It appears the huge bolts on Titanic's starboard propeller are also missing as well as the blade.


prop01a.PNG




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Harland Duzen

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Apparently Olympic ran over a shipwreck or something hard about 570km from Newfoundland which tore it off, and resulted in further delays to Titanic's fitting out.
 

daves1

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May 9, 2016
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I was examining this thread and thought we should consider the manner the stern impacted the ocean floor, turned, and dug in. Notice the cone has been sheared away as well. It's interesting to theorize what kind of forces could perhaps tear off a downward-pointing propeller blade and and an adjacent streamlined conical structure off of its housing. It's very difficult to tell.
 

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