Physics Of The Titanic Essay

1060 words - 4 pages

Dimensions: Length: 882 feet 9 inches Height: 97 feet Width: 92 ½ feet Displaced Weight: 52,250 tons Maximum Speed: 25 knots Average Speed: 21-22 knots Decks: 9 Lifeboats: 16 lifeboats (76 people each), 4 collapsibles (20 people each) Bilge Tanks: 300 feet to prevent rolling in heavy seas Reasons The Titanic Sank: a) Loss of buoyancy and displacement b) Reduction in hull speed c) Weakened rivets from cold temperatures d) Gravitational force acting on hull a) Loss of buoyancy and displacement Archimedes Principle states that when an object is placed in a liquid that is more dense than the object it floats. This is called buoyancy. The floating object replaces a certain volume of water, which means that the water has to move aside for the object. This is called displacement. The Titanic had 16 watertight compartments. The iceberg had put holes in the first five compartments. This meant that the bow filled with water. The water being in the bow meant that the bow lost its displacement and therefore its buoyancy and the weight of the water made it sink to an angle where the water could flood over the top of each compartment. Losing even more buoyancy made the Titanic's bow sink lower and lower, eventually pulling the stern into the air from the weight and gravitational pull in the bow.Mr Andrews in the 1996 film "˜Titanic', by James Cameron puts it best: " Water 14 feet above the keel in 10 minutes, in the forpeek, in all three holds and in boiler room No. 6. That's five compartments. She can stay afloat if the first four compartments are breached, but not five"¦.. As she goes down by the head, water will spill over the tops of the bulkheads at E Deck, from one to the next"¦"¦ There's no stopping it"¦.. No matter what we do, Titanic will founder." b) Reduction in hull speed When the iceberg was sighted the First Officer ordered the engine room "˜full stop, then full astern' and turn "˜hard-a-port'. This encouraged the ship to collide. A ship changes course by the force of the water acting on the rudder. As the ship moves, the water pushes on the rudder and pushes the stern sideways in the opposite direction to which the ship's helm is turned. The faster the ship moves, the more water pressure on the rudder, so the quicker the ship turns. By asking for "˜full astern', the Titanic slowed down and therefore the rate of turn slowed down too. By asking for "˜hard-a-port' the chances of colliding were higher as the stern actually swung around in the direction of the iceberg. If the Titanic had turned less and not slowed down she may not have collided with the iceberg. (See Diagram) c) Weakened Rivets From Cold Temperatures When the iceberg hit the Titanic, she popped many of the steel rivets holding the plates together. The quality of the steel was as high as possible at the time but would not comply with today's standards. While the steel could hold the Titanic together in normal...

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