Watertight compartments

Erik Wood

Member
Apr 10, 2001
3,519
4
168
Hello All,

Speaking from experience there is no such thing as a water "tight" compartment. It may be able to hold it but only for so long. Then BOOM you loose a compartment or the ship.

Erik
 
Jan 8, 2001
309
0
146
54
Ok, one more stupid question! So if the bulkheads are capped off by a deck, in this case E Deck. How does the water get through this deck from the water tight compartment? Does the pressure of the incoming water explode through the floor? I'm just not sure I follow how the water goes up over the bulkhead if there is a deck in place on top of the compartent. Plus, why would it matter how high the bulkheads went? It seems if the water was going to somehow punch through the deck, it wouldn't matter how high they went. It seems that would only slow the sinking down a bit. Thanks in advance!
 

Jason D. Tiller

Moderator
Member
Dec 3, 2000
8,242
5
198
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Hi Michael,

As soon as the Titanic struck the iceberg, water was flowing in at a rate of 7 tons per second. The water filled up the first bulkhead and went to the next and then the next and so on. Their was no stopping it. Think of it as a icecube tray, one to the next.

If the bulkheads had gone a deck or two higher, it might have saved the Titanic from sinking or she might stayed afloat a little longer in time for the Carpathia to arrive and rescue more passengers. Almost immediately after the Titanic sank, her sister ship the Olympic was recalled to Harland & Wolff in Belfast to raise the bulkheads higher than the Titanic's. (I think they were raised a deck higher, but I'll have to double check my sources for that).

When the third sister ship the Britannic was built 1914 she was given a double bottom and she could stay afloat with five compartments filled, so that a disaster that befelled the Titanic wouldn't also happen to the Britannic. If their ever was to be an unsinkable ship, this was it.

I hope I have explained enough!

Best regards,

Jason
 

Mike Herbold

Member
Feb 13, 2001
1,007
2
168
Jason:
Unfortunately the double-unsinkable Britannic went to the bottom of the sea faster than the Titanic during WWI
 
D

Dean Manning

Guest
Hi Michael.

I'm not sure if the bulkheads were sealed between the top of the bulkhead and the deck or not. However, the water can get through the upper deck because they weren't designed to seal off the water. From what I've read, and such, if you want to seal off the tops of the bulkhead with a deck, you have to deal with water pressure pushing up on the deck.

Also, like Jason had mentioned, it may or may not have made a difference if the bulkheads went higher. The reason they didn't go higher is because under conditions the ship was designed to handle, the pressure differential between the water on the outside and the inside of the hull would even out, and water would stop flowing in before the water had a chance to spill over.

One thing that I find really interesting is that at some point just after the sinking, it was calculated that either the Lusitania or Mauritania (I can't remember which) would have survived a similar scenario. Check out Edward Wilding's testimony ant the British Inquiry.

later.

-Dean
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,590
380
283
Easley South Carolina
Hmmmm...now I have a reason to jump ahead in my transcripts. As to the bulkheads, there was no gap between the bulkheads and the decks, however, there were hatchways, and assorted openings IN the deck which were not designed to be watertight. What happened then was that the water welled up out of these openings and spread out through passageways to fall down into the comparments beyond through the ladderwells into the compartments below.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
4
0
To contribute to this discussion, I would direct you to my page on the subject at:

http://home.flash.net/~sparks12/steel.html

There is, in addition, relevent material at the bottom of another page:

http://home.flash.net/~sparks12/general.html

Hope this helps to dispel some of the myths surrounding the watertight compartments. You have to remember that passenger ships are not as compartmentalised as warships...as Susan pointed out, the added hassle for the passengers would not be economically viable.

Another facet of the 'watertight compartment' discussion: Senator Smith was not an expert on nautical matters, but he did do his homework. However, as an elected official, he also had to play to his constituents and the press. Several people had read about Titanic's watertight compartments in the newspapers and sent letters to Senator Smith, asking if people could have taken refuge in the "watertight compartments." He silenced those queries for good by asking the question during the Inquiry and having the answer recorded in the transcripts. If you'd like to know more about this, I would direct you to "Titanic : End of a Dream" by Wyn Craig Wade.

Parks
 

Erik Wood

Member
Apr 10, 2001
3,519
4
168
As far as how water would go from compartment to compartment I believe but Mr. Standart might be able to be more clear, it simply over comes. The water tight igrity stops at E deck. Meaning the eventually water will come up through open hatches and go down e deck then down ladders into the next compartment and so on. I think. Michael?

Erik
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,590
380
283
Easley South Carolina
Hi Erik, and I think you pretty much have it right. The water would come up through the hatches, scuttles, and manholes then move most quickly and randomly through the passageways, open spaces and then down the first deck openings it reached. The rate of flooding was anything but consistant. As Dave Gittens pointed out in a different thread, the ship reached a state of near equilibriam where the flooding slowed down some several times. Not totally though, and as the weight of water coming in increased, so too would the rate of flooding.

Stress on the hull would have been a contributing factor as well since the bending loads would have opened up seams, and cracks that were either small or nonexistant, and allowed new ways for water to come in that weren't there befor.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
4
0
Michael,

I don't believe flooding slowed 'several' times. According to modeling (both physical and computer) conducted by Gibbs & Cox, the ship reached a state of near equillibrium just before BR #4 flooded. What tipped the scale, as you mentioned, was water entering non-watertight decks through hull openings pulled under by the weight of the bow.

I don't believe there is any evidence of a bending moment opening seams in the hull prior to the break. You're not talking about the opening of the expansion joint, are you?

Parks
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,590
380
283
Easley South Carolina
Hi Sparks, actually, I was noting evidence of stress fracturing in the hull plating itself as mentioned in the Discovery documentary Titanic, Answers From The Abyss. This was supposed to have been caused by the bending loads which increased with the water flooding in and pulling the ship down.

I'm wondering if you've seen this presentation and what your take is on it. What do you concur with if anything, and what do you disagree with and why? (I like second sources when I can get them. It's about the only good insurance against mistakes.
happy.gif
)

I'll defer to the modeling experiments in regards to Boiler Room 4. Though I have to wonder if it was just that or other spaces that may have begun to flood at nearly the same time. Scotland Road had to make for a wonderful aquaduct.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
4
0
Michael,

How much time to do you have? :)

I have 'Answers From the Abyss' on tape and as usual, I agree with portions of it, disagree with others. I would have to watch it again and take notes, if you wanted me to detail my observations. The problem I find (and this is all my own opinion) with this and other Discovery Channel specials on the forensics of the sinking, is that individual experts make the correct findings within their field of expertise, but in many cases, the findings are skewed in the final analysis to support someone's expectations (it also doesn't help that the entire case has to be laid out within the program's alloted time slot). One example to illustrate my point is the analysis of the rivets. The metallurgical analysis on the recovered samples was correct, but the sampling of 40 rivets from a localised area out of a total of 3 million is inconclusive, as anyone experienced in sampling procedures will tell you.

Stress fracturing of the hull prior to the break was mostly microscopic in nature. Steel has a certain amount of yield before it will fracture, during which time grain separation will occur up to the point where the bending moment exceeds the yield strength of the steel. I don't believe that Titanic's hull suffered any macrocracking significant enough to allow additional water into the hull until the hull began to buckle prior to the break.

When I mention BR #4, that was for establishing a major event on the sinking timeline only. As you say, other spaces were flooding at the same time. Once the water entered the non-watertight decks, it had the run of the ship. Titanic was a passenger liner and therefore did not have the interior compartmentalisation we're accustomed to in warships.

Parks
 
Dec 2, 2000
1,513
1
168
I find this thread fascinating. I would like to see a contributed research piece by a group of you like Parks, Dave Gittins, Michael Standart and Dean...oooops don't forget Bill and Eric. I think it would be a winner guys! This stuff is great!

Just a thought!
Maureen.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,590
380
283
Easley South Carolina
Hi Sparks, and thanks for that. I can't say as I took the rivits thing all that seriously myself. Granted, some broke, but then the ship DID hit an iceberg at nearly full power, so it shouldn't be a shock that a bunch of them gave up the ghost. Now if an expidition were to collect samples of rivits from all over the ship, THEN the conclusions might be worth a look.

Mo, I might be game for a research project if I had the time and the expertise in some of the more arcane diciplines such as metallurgy. However, for books worth of stuff that I know, there's libraries worth of stuff that I DON'T know...but then, that's why I'm here. To learn whatever is learnable and have some means of fact checking material which comes my way. Sparks comments on stress fracturing is an example of something new I learned today.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
D

Dean Manning

Guest
Hi everyone!

If memory serves me correctly, I seem to remember in the answers from the abyss video the mentioning of a crack forming in the upper part of of the starboard bow. The idea was expressed that the crack did form while the ship was still on the surface, although, there was absolutely no evidence presented to support this.

One note about the rivets. I do agree with you guys for the most part concerning the sample to population size and the lack of variability in the location in which the rivets were chosen from. They are excellent points. However, in processes control engineering, engineers takes samples of both things being processed and supplies (such as resistors, for example) that are shipped in that are used in products. In some cases, the parent population is very large compared to the sample size. The point is that while the data that was presented was by no means good enough to draw concrete conclusions from, I don't think it should necessarily be disregarded either.

Maureen, I've given thought to the idea of doing research. However, at this stage of the game, I'm no where near qualified. Basically, I view myself on the opposite end of the spectrum from Michael. You have to remember, I'm still an engineering *student*. While I may have an advantage in talking technical jargon, I'm still not up to speed in certain technical areas. Couple that with the fact that I'm a land lubber, and I really have nothing to offer. As far as I'm concerned, Parks is really the person on this board to do forensics research. He has the experience of being at sea, and he has specific engineering knowledge about ships. For me to be qualified to conduct research, I would need to get my ME degree, and spend a good amount of time in marine engineering.

-Dean
 
Dec 4, 2000
3,240
484
213
For the record, Titanic had 73 watertight compartments, not 16. Of these, 44 were spaces beneath the tank top deck. Some of these were voids, while others were used as tankage for boiler water. Above the tank top, there were 13 smaller compartments, six of which were used for the storage of fresh water. Finally, there were the 16 large compartments formed by the 15 primary bulkheads.

Any consideration of the flooding of Titanic must take into consideration all of these smaller compartments. For instance, what was the effect of the buoyancy beneath the tank top when the boiler rooms and holds above were flooded?

As I stated in my book, I believe that damage to the void spaces on the starboard side from boiler room #6 forward resulted in the ship's immediate list. The corresponding voids on the port side were not damaged by the ice. This is only speculation, but some of those port voids may have remained dry until the bow reached its crush depth.

-- David G. Brown
 

Erik Wood

Member
Apr 10, 2001
3,519
4
168
Hello Again,

I think that it is still worthy to note that the stress fracturs could have occured when she slammed into the bottom or could be just the signs of a new ship getting banged around in transit between docks.

I still stand by my belief that there is no such thing as a watertight compartment.

Erik