Why didn't she stay intact


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Oct 23, 2000
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Just watched the "Raise The Titanic" trailer and got to wondering:

The Britannic stayed intact (though more or less so up by her bow) when she sank in 1916, so why on earth didn't the Titanic stay in one piece when she was lost?

Richard Krebes
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Different stresses on the hull could be one explaination. Britannic settled differently and had the bow come to rest on the bottom before the hull was completely submerged. Also, she rolled over before being completely submerged so the hull girder wasn't stressed in quite the same way. Her double skin may well have beefed up the hull girder in a way the Titanic lacked.

Pick any and/or all that may apply.
 

Will C. White

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All of the damage to the Titanic was to the forward section of the ship, and all of the lower ports were closed, inc. the watertight doors, thereby channeling the flooding. Britannic was fully open all the way aft, and they were in a warm climate and many of the lower ports were open as they were "airing" the ship with was mercifully not loaded with casualties at the time. Britannic sank (rolled) exactly as later tests with the even flooding theory have shown. Current best theory as to the Titanic breakup is that she broke from the bottom up due to keel compression which blew out the entire bottom side to side somewhere in the vacinity of the forward engine spaces bulkhead.
 
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>> Current best theory as to the Titanic breakup is that she broke from the bottom up due to keel compression which blew out the entire bottom side to side somewhere in the vacinity of the forward engine spaces bulkhead.<<

Errrrrrr....no, it's not. Sorry but the sections of double bottom found and studied in the debris field show no evidence whatever of the compression damage they should have had were this the case.


Watertight doors, by the way, do not channel flooding. What they do, when closed, is confine it to a given space.
 

Luke Owens

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Which, if the confined space is filled with air or other gas, will make the space more buoyant. Unfortunately, there were too many leakages of water in the first six boiler rooms. Titanic was doomed from the moment the iceberg intersected her trajectory (if that word is allowable for a ship at sea).

Luke
 
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>>Which, if the confined space is filled with air or other gas, will make the space more buoyant.<<

Not entirely accurate. Weight is still weight snd has the net effect of reducing bouyancy Also moot since the bulkheads themselves were not at the core of the problem. The leakage you spoke to was in the hull plating which had come into contact with the ice. This was the primary damage. Everything which followed as a consequence of that...including any bulkhead failures would be the secondary damage.
 

Luke Owens

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You're right, of course, Mike. That's what I get for not proofreading what I wrote. I should have phrased it differently. Thanks!

Luke
 
Oct 28, 2000
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No two ships sink in exactly the same manner. Comparing Britannic with Titanic beyond certain overall design parameters is a dicey proposition. The nature of the damage, the pre-damage condition of the ships, the damage control efforts, and even the watertight subdivision of the two vessels were all substantially different. Add to that a different depth of water and the result is two completely different incidents.

Titanic foundered in deep water from damage and ingress confined to the bow. This caused the bow to tip down, while the stern was raised. Images of a teeter-totter come to mind. When one end goes down, the other must go up--unless the strain on the board is too great and it breaks at the fulcrum. There was no exact analog to a teeter-totter fulcrum in the case of Titanic, but otherwise the strain of raising up the stern overcame the strength of the hull.

Conventional wisdom hold that compressive forces on the keel caused the bottom to fail first. Having had the privilege of looking at extensive video of those two "missing pieces" of double bottom, I am convinced the classic compressive failure did not occur. None of the signs of such failure, such as the "washboarding" or "accordioning" of the steel are evident. The classic evidence of failure of a steel structure is a rippled appearance not unlike that of an old-fashioned washboard or the bellows of an accordion.

There are none of these classic compressive failure appearances. No ripples mark either of the two pieces of double bottom which came out from beneath boiler Room #1 at the epicenter of the break. Rather, the exact opposite appears the case. The pieces appear to have come out of the hull while in tension.

Once again, Titanic seems to be toying with researchers. The more we learn, the less we seem to know. Answering one mystery seems to open two more enigmas, each larger than the first.

My friend Roger Long has suggested the expansion joints, and the design of those joints, as the first point of failure. Personally, I favor what he suggests, although my opinion is not that of a trained engineer. It seems to me that something must have caused the sides to fail before either the upper decks or the double bottom.

I'll leave any analysis of how the breakup progressed to those with the training in stress analysis and strength of materials. From a practical standpoint, however, none of that matters to the outcome of the night. Once the hull was compromised, it had to bend, break, and tear itself apart.

Whether the expansion joints were poorly designed, or the best ever, isn't worth arguing. The use of these joints proved to be only a stopgap measure until better ideas prevailed. Naval architects over time learned these joints caused more problems than they solved, so better ways were found to allow lightweight superstructure to be piled up on top of the hull girder.

Titanic broke because the strain on the hull exceeded its design strength. The hull was simply too weak to raise its stern up out of the water by a flooded bow. So what? No passenger ship is designed to be that strong. To do so would be a total waste of money not likely to save one soul. By the time Titanic (or any other ship) reached breaking strain , the vessel was already consigned to Davy Jones. The breakup may have increased the speed with which Titanic disappeared, but sinking was already inevitable.

-- David G. Brown
 
Oct 23, 2000
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It is just the Titanic was such a lovely ship, it is a pity she was not only sunk, but utterly destroyed.
If she had sunk intact like in Cussler's novel, she would have looked, well, more dignified when finally found.
Ah ships and the mystic hold they have on people.

Richard Krebes
 
Apr 3, 2005
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In my own opinion Titanic still looks dignified. She has a grandeur and mystique all her own. Far younger shipwrecks look far worse than Titanic does.
Anyhow, even if she had not sank, she would more than likely have ended up the same as the olympic and barely remembered and we'd be posting opinions on the Encyclopedia Lusitania forums....
happy.gif
 
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