Mechanical Engineering Department
October 28, 1996
To: Michael Alley
From: Kris Johnson KTJ
Subject: Progress of My Research on the Evacuation of the R.M.S. Titanic
This memo responds to your request on the progress of my research project for ME 4984. As you might remember, my research project was an assessment of the evacuation of passengers from the R.M.S. Titanic on April 14-15, 1912, after it struck an iceberg. As presented in my proposal of October 14, 1996, I identified two principal objectives for the research: (1) assess the evacuation equipment that was available when the ship struck the iceberg, and (2) assess the evacuation procedures during the three hours that it took the Titanic to sink. This memo will first present the research that I have completed so far, including preliminary results. Then this memo will discuss the remaining research and suggest modifications to that research based on information uncovered so far. Finally, the memo will discuss my progress on meeting the original deadlines for the project.
Since submitting my proposal, I have spent most of my research time obtaining and reading sources. My principal source, Titanic: End of the Dream [Wade, 1992], is a book that has required much time to read through. Figure 1 presents a timeline depicting the work done so far. The shaded bars represent work that has been completed.
Preliminary research shows that an assessment of the equipment is straightforward. The Titanic did not have nearly enough lifeboats. In fact, it had lifeboats for only about half the 2200 passengers and crewmembers, but this lack of available lifeboats was not unusual for cruise ships at that time [Wade, 1992]. Of more interest from an engineering perspective is an assessment of the procedure the crew used for loading and filling those boats during the three hours that it took for the Titanic to sink. For instance, the first...