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General Engineering Glossary

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Engineering - profession in which a knowledge of math and natural science is applied to develop ways to utilize the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of all human beings.

Abutment - outermost end supports on a bridge, which carry the load from the deck.

Aggregate - sand, gravel etc mixed with cement to form concrete.

Aluminum - lightweight chemical element (Al); the most abundant metallic element in the Earth's crust.

Anchorage - secure fixing, usually made of reinforced concrete to which the cables are fastened.

Apron - smooth (generally concrete) surface that is placed between culvert and channel to improve capacity and reduce erosion.

Aqueduct - a bridge or channel for conveying water, usually over long distances.

Arch Bridge - curved structure that converts the downward force of its own weight, and of any weight pressing down on top of it, into an outward force along its sides and base.

Arch Dam - dam with an arched shape that resists the force of water pressure; requires less material than a gravity dam for the same distance.

Archimedes Screw - type of pump that looks like an angled corkscrew.

Architect - a person who designs all kinds of structures; must also have the ability to conceptualize and communicate ideas effectively both in words and on paper to clients, engineers, government officials, and construction crews.

Articulated Rock Truck - four-wheel drive dump truck with heavy duty tapered box and pivoting connection between cab and box.

Axial Flow - pump that acts like an outboard motor in a casing.

Backhoe - rubber tired vehicle with loader bucket in front and small excavator bucket at back.

Backwater - place a culvert or use a weir such that there will always be some depth of water within the culvert.

Bar Scalping/Skimming - remove a thin layer (1-5???), from the top of gravel bars.

Batch Plant - local facility for preparation and distribution of concrete.

Beam - rigid, usually horizontal, structural element.

Beam Bridge - simple type of bridge composed of horizontal beams supported by vertical posts.

Bedding - fine gravel or crushed rock placed around culverts to evenly distribute load.

Bedrock - solid rock layer beneath sand or silt.

Benchmark - elevation reference point.

Bend - curve; bending occurs when a straight material becomes curved; one side squeezes together in compression, and the other side stretches apart in tension.

Bends - see caisson disease.

Blast Mat - large heavy mat made from rubber tires used to confine debris during rock blasting.

Blowout - rupture of concrete forms.

Bobcat - trade name for a four wheeled skid steer loader.

Bottomless - culvert consisting of an arch with an open bottom such that shows native streambed is exposed.

Box Culvert - culvert of a rectangular cross section is commonly of precast concrete.

Brace - structural support; to strengthen and stiffen a structure to resist loads.


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