Jump to content

Sinking of the Titanic


DrmDoc
 Share

Recommended Posts

This may be old news but, according to this Independent article, experts have determined that the Titanic may have sank because of an enormous coal fire that rage for more than a week in the ship's bowls before its eventual sinking April 15, 1912. That determination was based on photos taken before the Titanic's departure from the Belfast shipyard where it was built. It's alleged that an order by company officials, to not reveal the fire, cost the lives of some 1,500 passengers on that fateful day in April.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ship's fuel can't melt steel beams.

 

(Sorry, couldn't resist)

 

Good point. It's my understanding that steel smelts at about 1370 C and the article says temperature in the ship's coal compartment were likely burning as high as 1000 C, The article suggests temperatures in that compartment may have been sufficiently high to weaken the steel thus rendering the Titanic's hull vulnerable to ruptures caused by the iceberg collision.

What I don't understand is that this is old news - they knew about the fire and raised the possibility that the hull had been weakened by it. What's new?

 

It's my understanding that confirmation of this possibility was recently uncovered through the shipyard photos experts examined.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Good point. It's my understanding that steel smelts at about 1370 C and the article says temperature in the ship's coal compartment were likely burning as high as 1000 C, The article suggests temperatures in that compartment may have been sufficiently high to weaken the steel thus rendering the Titanic's hull vulnerable to ruptures caused by the iceberg collision.

 

I think it was suggested (years ago) that the rivets had been weakened, not the actual steel plates, so they all popped.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An enormous fire burning in the bowels of the ship would create enormous heat, would prevent the normal operation of the engines, would make a lot of noise, and huge quantities of smoke. (since the crew would be pumping sea water at it to try to put it out).

Funny none of the survivors noticed any of it, and the ship was making very good time, (wasn't it going for a record, or something?)

 

It all makes the fire story pretty unlikely to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a look at the Titanic page on Wikipedia, and it seems that there was a fire burning in one of the holds, but it's been known all along, and was a very common occurrence in big steamships at the time. It wasn't a huge fire, and was put out well before the collision.

Fires used to start spontaneously but they were like a fire in a hay-rick. Due to the lack of oxygen, they smouldered, rather than blazed, but were hard to get at, because of the tonnage of coal that you would have to move, and were controlled, rather than eradicated. As the stock of coal reduced, it got easier to access the fire.

That's why they burned for days. It was the best way to handle them.

 

As far as weakening the rivets, how does that work? The rivets are heated to high temperatures when they are fitted. That's how they work. How does heating them again weaken them?

Assuming that we believe wikipedia when it says that the fire had been out for several days, by they time they hit the iceberg.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's my understanding, from the recent evidence, that the fire was never extinguish and continued to rage until the ship struck an iceberg. Also, as I understand, it was the steel hull rather than the rivets that sustain substantial weakening over the extimated ten days the fire burned. It's highly likely that both hull and rivets--being made of steel--were weakened by the coal fire that reached an also estimated high of 1000 C, which is close to the smelting point of steel at 1350 C. I believe that weakened steel made the hull vulnerable to rupture from contact with the iceberg.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really don't see the logic of this argument. It's a most unlikely scenario.

Firstly, the fire was out, according to Wikipedia. Secondly, the ship was holed below the water line.

The hull was made of steel plate, 3cm thick. Outside of that was the cold sea, constantly refreshed at over 20mph.

 

Even if the temperatures of the coal reached 2,000 degrees, it would have little effect, against the chilling effect of the sea.

 

Even well above the waterline, it's doubtful if the steel could get very hot, with the cold damp weather in the north Atlantic, and regular sea spray.

If it did get that hot around the water line, it would have constantly created huge clouds of steam that passengers would have surely noticed and mentioned.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember - many years ago - watching a show on tv concerning the Titanic. They were claiming that the steel plates of the hull were made of poor quality steel that was too brittle, and that the cold water made them even more so. When the ship hit the iceberg it cracked instead of just denting.

Jim S.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really don't see the logic of this argument. It's a most unlikely scenario.

Firstly, the fire was out, according to Wikipedia. Secondly, the ship was holed below the water line.

The hull was made of steel plate, 3cm thick. Outside of that was the cold sea, constantly refreshed at over 20mph.

 

Even if the temperatures of the coal reached 2,000 degrees, it would have little effect, against the chilling effect of the sea.

 

Even well above the waterline, it's doubtful if the steel could get very hot, with the cold damp weather in the north Atlantic, and regular sea spray.

If it did get that hot around the water line, it would have constantly created huge clouds of steam that passengers would have surely noticed and mentioned.

 

This recent evidence, Wikipedia notwithstanding, suggests that the fire was never extinguished and, if the steel quality was as subpar as Jim S. recalls, then this is more than probable evidence of hull failure caused by the fire. The chill of the ocean water against one side of the hull would be an insufficient coolant, in my opinion, against a large and sustained coal fire. When I think of coal fires, I'm reminded of Centralia, Pennsylvania, where an inextinguishable coal mine fire has burned unabated since 1962. Such fires are notoriously difficult to extinguish.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

This recent evidence, Wikipedia notwithstanding, suggests that the fire was never extinguished and, if the steel quality was as subpar as Jim S. recalls, then this is more than probable evidence of hull failure caused by the fire. The chill of the ocean water against one side of the hull would be an insufficient coolant, in my opinion, against a large and sustained coal fire. When I think of coal fires, I'm reminded of Centralia, Pennsylvania, where an inextinguishable coal mine fire has burned unabated since 1962. Such fires are notoriously difficult to extinguish.

The hull shell that is physically connected to the water outside shouldn't much exceed the boiling point of water if heat was directly applied to it. Think of a non-electric kettle with a heat source directly heating the metal. Maybe you are too young to remember them. :)

Edited by StringJunky
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The hull shell that is physically connected to the water outside shouldn't much exceed the boiling point of water if heat was directly applied to it. Think of a non-electric kettle with a heat source directly heating the metal. Maybe you are too young to remember them. :)

 

Remember? I continue to use it for my occasional cup of tea. :rolleyes: For some reason, perhaps psychological, tea taste better to me when I boil water the old-fashion way. I think that Titanic's initially unstable hull, when heated sufficiently, would likely have negated the cooling effects of the ocean particularly above the waterline where almost 300 feet of hull damage was determined.

Edited by DrmDoc
Link to comment
Share on other sites

for what it's worth, there is a utube video that claims that he Titanic and Olympic identities were switched as the Olympic had unrepairable problems, and the re-branded Olympic was sent on the cruise to be "accidently" sunk.

Edited by hoola
Link to comment
Share on other sites

for what it's worth, there is a utube video that claims that he Titanic and Olympic identities were switched as the Olympic had unrepairable problems, and the re-branded Olympic was sent on the cruise to be "accidently" sunk.

 

That video makes it all sound totally plausible, until you hear the counter-argument that the Olympic had one deck with a visibly different structure so the switch could not possibly have been made. The real question is why such a totally dishonest video has been made. I think Trump was responsible somehow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Remember? I continue to use it for my occasional cup of tea. :rolleyes: For some reason, perhaps psychological, tea taste better to me when I boil water the old-fashion way. I think that Titanic's initially unstable hull, when heated sufficiently, would likely have negated the cooling effects of the ocean particularly above the waterline where almost 300 feet of hull damage was determined.

Any citation available for that? It seems at first sight to be highly unlikely, as 90% of an iceberg is under water, and if it had vertical sides, it would just flip over.

The wiki article says that it was holed below the waterline, as you would expect.

In any case, holes above the water line wouldn't sink the Titanic.

 

I don't see any way that the hull below the water line could get even warm.

You could put an oxy-acetylene torch on your kettle, but if the water inside was constantly changed, with water just above freezing, you wouldn't even get it slightly warm.

 

These low-oxygen fires are not infernos, they smoulder due to lack of air, and the only reason they can't put them out is that they can't get at them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Any citation available for that? It seems at first sight to be highly unlikely, as 90% of an iceberg is under water, and if it had vertical sides, it would just flip over.

The wiki article says that it was holed below the waterline, as you would expect.

In any case, holes above the water line wouldn't sink the Titanic.

 

I don't see any way that the hull below the water line could get even warm.

You could put an oxy-acetylene torch on your kettle, but if the water inside was constantly changed, with water just above freezing, you wouldn't even get it slightly warm.

 

These low-oxygen fires are not infernos, they smoulder due to lack of air, and the only reason they can't put them out is that they can't get at them.

 

Ok. Here are links to a Titanic Facts link, I believe it's highly probable that a sustained, high temperature fire could have exacerbated weaknesses contributing to Titanic's hull and rivets failures.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know what exact type of steel was used in the titanic, but it is worth noting that below a certain temperature, certain steels experience a situation where the yield strength rises above the ultimate strength. The required temperature is warmer than typical winter ocean temperatures. When this happens, and a stress is put on the steel (such as due to an iceberg), the steel fractures instead of bending. This was the cause of some of the Liberty ship hull failures in WWII. The point is that steel hulls can fail even without being weakened in advance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your own linked engineering review says nothing about a fire weakening any part of the ship, and it shows the six slits opened up by the ice, all well below the water line, which have been established by modern accurate sound mapping of the wreck.

 

There is no mention of any hole above the water line, and in any case, that would be irrelevant to the sinking.

The fire theory really is not supported by the facts.

As far as materials go, the sister ship of the Titanic was in service for many years, surviving numerous collisions, including being hit by a warship, and ramming and sinking a UBoat.

It's materials were what was commonly available at the time.

 

If the fire was so intense as to weaken the hull, you would think that the cabins immediately above it might have got a bit warm.

There's no mention of any of that in any of the history.

 

All the evidence points to a fairly routine fire, that was a common occurrence in coal bunkers of steam ships at the time, which was dealt with and put out before the collision.

And I'll say again, there is no way that steel plate, with the entire Atlantic ocean on the other side, just 3cm away, could reach any temperature much above freezing.

It's actually likely that the cold made the steel more brittle, not high temperatures.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.