What if the designers should have raised the bulkheads


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Jul 9, 2000
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In this James, I suspect raising the bulkheads would have caused new problems in regards to so much weight being concentrated forward once all the sections had flooded solid. (Perhaps enough to cause the ship to break up sooner?) I'd love to see some computer simulations done on this just to see what would really happen.
 
Oct 28, 2000
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I have always been struck by one simple fact of the event -- that while virtually all of the post-sinking analysis has focused on water coming over top of the bulkheads...none of the survivors reported that happened until the hull was filled sufficiently that large amounts of secondary flooding began. Descriptions of flooding for 90 minutes after the accident indicate that it came up, not down. This tends to indicate that the height of the bulkheads played little role in the outcome of events. It appears that even if the bulkheads had gone upwards another deck or two, water would still have risen in the forward compartments and doomed the ship. From testimony it would appear that water rose upward holds #1 and #3, and boiler rooms #6, #5, and #4.

The theory that water simply overtopped the bulkheads, in my opinion, has been used as a quick and easy explanation to avoid the difficulties of serious forensic analysis. For instance, overtopping of the bulkheads does not explain the water rising upward in boiler room #4 which was not damaged by direct ice contact.

Titanic was not an ice cube tray (the analogy often used for the overtopping theory). It was hundreds of steel plates held together by millions of rivets. Quite obviously a lot more was going on than simply a quiet filling of one compartment after another.

The forces on the hull caused by the ingress of water and loss of buoyancy were enormous. This is the focus of the research being conducted by Captain Erik. I find it curious how closely his version of events in the bow foreshadows Roy Mengot's "bottom up" version of the final breakup. I'm sure more will come out on this over the next few weeks as Erik refines his ideas.

In the meantime, I caution everyone to cast a jaundiced eye on the simplistinc "ice cube tray" theory. The sinking was a much more dynamic event.


-- David G. Brown
 

Erik Wood

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Aug 24, 2000
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Remeber that you can fill an ice cube tray from both ends. Hence water can over top the little boxes from behind as well as from forward.
 
Aug 19, 2002
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Great ideas everyone!.....this sure is an interesting subject but confusing - Everyone has sound theroies - SO WHO"S theroy is right? (WITH SMILES)
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Who's theory is right? Good question.Exploring that is what makes it interesting.
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Tomme Foster

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Having served aboard submarines, I understand the importance of water-tight integrity, especially regarding that of ballast tanks. I've heard that the Titanic's ballast tanks weren't sealed. If that's true, I don't believe she would have gone down had her ballast tanks been sealed.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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>>I don't believe she would have gone down had her ballast tanks been sealed.<<

The ballast tanks were so to say in the double bottom.
She was damaged above it.
Or do you mean the 16 watertight compartments?

Here is a well researched article by a fine researcher which could be of interest for you!
Titanic's Hidden Deck
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>If that's true, I don't believe she would have gone down had her ballast tanks been sealed.<<

As Ioannis pointed out, the tanks were all a part of the double bottom and they would have been very well sealed. If your talking about the watertight compartments, perhaps you're thinking of watertight decks.

If this is the case, you could very well be right. The problem here is that the watertight protection of a warship...which guys like me are used to...would have made getting around on a passenger vessel rediculously inconvenient for the passengers and it would have been a nightmare getting the crew trained to the point where they could competantly and reliably set it right.

Don't forget that warships typically have a years worth of intensive training in their workups to achieve that level of competance and the crews are reletively stable. Merchant ships don't have that going for them and the crews have very high rates of turnover which means a lot of the people with the needed skillsets go away.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Yes but after the collision and sinking of the Titanic both the Olympic and the Britannic had their watertight compartments risen. I would like to know how was adressed the issue of the passangers'mobility.<<

Not much, but making a watertight door through a bulkhead which slides into place isn't that big a deal, and they're fairly easy to close. Setting up watertight boundries through the decks would have been easy from a technical standpoint, but would of necessity have to be very small in order to be effective, and this is a serious impediment to ease of getting around. Forget elevators and grand staircases. At most, the watertight hatches I've seen have been about the size of refrigerator doors. Not a problem for a fit sailor, but a very big problem for elderly ladies and gentlemen to deal with.

Then there's that issue of training which I raised. From a technical standpoint, any passenger liner could be built to the standards of a warship, but in order for it to be worth anything, you would need a well drilled crew who would know how to set all of the hundreds if not thousands of watertight doors, hatches, scuttles, vents, wireways and the like and do it right the first time. A merchent vessel doesn't have the time to deal with the protracted training and workups which would be required to make this happen.

Been there, done that.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>But weren't the bulkheads on board designed to close automatically from the bridge?<<

Mmmmmmm....let's not lose focus here. The issue which was raised appears to be watertight hatches which would be located in the deck.

From a technical standpoint, this presents some very different problems. There are literally hundreds of vertical penetrations from ladderwells, stairways, vents, wireways and do on. It's not enough to just have hatches. You have to be able to close all of these as well.

While it is within the realm of technical possibility to design such fittings to be closed by remote control, the very complexity of such a system would render it impractical and prohibitively expensive. So expensive that this isn't even attempted on warships.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>I agree, after all, it was the ladder design one of the main contributors of the sinking since it allowed the water to flood the decks above and after that go down again (to the boiler rooms for instance) with ease.<<

Perhaps but only to the extant that it hastened the inevitable. With five and possibly six compartments breeched, more of the ship's watertight length was in open communication with the sea then she could possibly survive. Had the bulkheads been raised all the way up, that would only have slowed the sinking down, not prevented it.

If you go back into the archived portion of this thread, you'll notice a post by David G. Brown where he explained why the "Icecube tray" scenerio is extremely misleading. You might find it to be useful reading.
 
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