List of definitions of terms and concepts related to civil engineering
This glossary of civil engineering terms is a list of definitions of terms and concepts pertaining specifically to civil engineering, its sub-disciplines, and related fields. For a more general overview of concepts within engineering as a whole, see Glossary of engineering.
An instrument used in surveying which consists of a fixed sighting tube, a movable spirit level that is connected to a pointing arm, and a protractor scale. An internal mirror allows the user to see the bubble in the level while sighting a distant target. It can be used as a hand-held instrument or mounted on a Jacob's staff for more precise measurement.
The process of scuffing, scratching, wearing down, marring, or rubbing away a substance or substrate. It can be intentionally imposed in a controlled process using an abrasive. Abrasion may also be an undesirable effect of exposure to normal use or exposure to the elements.
In chemistry, the common logarithm of the ratio of incident to transmitted radiant power through a material. Spectral absorbance or spectral decadic absorbance is the common logarithm of the ratio of incident to transmitted spectral radiant power through a material. Absorbance is a dimensionless quantity, and in particular is not a length, though it is a monotonically increasing function of path length, and approaches zero as the path length approaches zero.
A special kind of board made of sound-absorbing materials, designed to provide sound insulation. Between two outer walls sound-absorbing material is inserted and the wall is porous. Thus, when sound passes through an acoustic board, the intensity of the sound is decreased. The loss of sound energy is typically balanced by the production of heat energy.
A generic name for a group of mathematical methods to model activated sludge systems. The research in this area is coordinated by a task group of the International Water Association (IWA). Activated sludge models are used in scientific research to study biological processes in hypothetical systems. They can also be applied on full scale wastewater treatment plants for optimisation, when carefully calibrated with reference data for sludge production and nutrients in the effluent.
In cellular biology, the movement of molecules across a membrane from a region of their lower concentration to a region of their higher concentration—against the concentration gradient. Active transport requires cellular energy to achieve this movement. There are two types of active transport: primary active transport that uses ATP, and secondary active transport that uses an electrochemical gradient.
A mechanism by which a control system acts upon an environment. The control system can be simple (a fixed mechanical or electronic system), software-based (e.g. a printer driver, robot control system), a human, or any other input.
The tendency of dissimilar particles or surfaces to cling to one another (cohesion refers to the tendency of similar or identical particles/surfaces to cling to one another). The forces that cause adhesion and cohesion can be divided into several types. The intermolecular forces responsible for the function of various kinds of stickers and sticky tape fall into the categories of chemical adhesion, dispersive adhesion, and diffusive adhesion. In addition to the cumulative magnitudes of these intermolecular forces, there are also certain emergent mechanical effects.
In thermodynamics, an adiabatic process is one that occurs without transfer of heat or mass of substances between a thermodynamic system and its surroundings. In an adiabatic process, energy is transferred to the surroundings only as work. The adiabatic process provides a rigorous conceptual basis for the theory used to expound the first law of thermodynamics, and as such it is a key concept in thermodynamics.
A process in sewage treatment designed to reduce the volume of sewage sludge and make it suitable for subsequent use. More recently, technology has been developed that allows the treatment and reduction of other organic waste, such as food, cardboard and horticultural waste.
The study of the motion of air, particularly its interactions with solid objects such as airplane wings. Aerodynamics is a sub-field of fluid dynamics and gas dynamics, and many aspects of aerodynamics theory are common to these fields.
The engineering discipline that studies agricultural production and processing. Agricultural engineering combines the disciplines of mechanical, civil, electrical and chemical engineering principles with a knowledge of agricultural principles according to technological principles. A key goal of this discipline is to improve the efficacy and sustainability of agricultural practices.
A broad area of mathematics, together with number theory, geometry and analysis. In its most general form, algebra is the study of mathematical symbols and the rules for manipulating these symbols; it is a unifying thread of almost all of mathematics. It includes everything from elementary equation solving to the study of abstractions such as groups, rings, and fields. The more basic parts of algebra are called elementary algebra; the more abstract parts are called abstract algebra or modern algebra. Elementary algebra is generally considered to be essential for any study of mathematics, science, or engineering, as well as such applications as medicine and economics. Abstract algebra is a major area in advanced mathematics, studied primarily by professional mathematicians.
An electronic device that can increase the power of a signal (a time-varying voltage or current). It is a two-port electronic circuit that uses electric power from a power supply to increase the amplitude of a signal applied to its input terminals, producing a proportionally greater amplitude signal at its output. The amount of amplification provided by an amplifier is measured by its gain: the ratio of output voltage, current, or power to input. An amplifier is a circuit that has a power gain greater than one.
states that the upward buoyant force that is exerted on a body immersed in a fluid, whether fully or partially submerged, is equal to the weight of the fluid that the body displaces and acts in the upward direction at the center of mass of the displaced fluid. Archimedes' principle is a law of physics fundamental to fluid mechanics. It was formulated by Archimedes of Syracuse.
The technology by which a process or procedure is performed with minimal human assistance. Automation  or automatic control is the use of various control systems for operating equipment such as machinery, processes in factories, boilers and heat treating ovens, switching on telephone networks, steering and stabilization of ships, aircraft and other applications and vehicles with minimal or reduced human intervention.
A device consisting of one or more electrochemical cells with external connections provided to power electrical devices such as flashlights, mobile phones, and electric cars. When a battery is supplying electric power, its positive terminal is the cathode and its negative terminal is the anode. The terminal marked negative is the source of electrons that will flow through an external electric circuit to the positive terminal. When a battery is connected to an external electric load, a redox reaction converts high-energy reactants to lower-energy products, and the free-energy difference is delivered to the external circuit as electrical energy. Historically the term "battery" specifically referred to a device composed of multiple cells, however the usage has evolved to include devices composed of a single cell.
A structural element that primarily resists loads applied laterally to its axis. Its mode of deflection is primarily by bending. The loads applied to the beam result in reaction forces at the beam's support points. The total effect of all the forces acting on the beam is to produce shear forces and bending moments within the beam, which in turn induce internal stresses, strains and deflections of the beam. Beams are characterized by their manner of support, profile (shape of cross-section), length, and material.
A physical property of a material such that, when subjected to stress, it breaks without significant plastic deformation. Brittle materials absorb relatively little energy prior to fracture, even those of high strength.
A measure of how resistant to compression a substance is, defined as the ratio of the infinitesimal pressure increase to the resulting relative decrease in volume. It is one of three standard moduli used to describe a material's response to stress, along with the shear modulus and Young's modulus.
The professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including public works such as roads, bridges, railways, canals, dams, airports, sewage systems, pipelines, structural components of buildings, and infrastructure for civic utilities.
In chemistry and physics, a law which states that in a mixture of non-reacting gases, the total pressure exerted is equal to the sum of the partial pressures of the individual gases. This empirical law was first observed by John Dalton in 1801 and published in 1802, and is closely related to the idealgas laws.
An engineer whose profession focuses on the engineering design process in any of the various disciplines of engineering, e.g. civil engineering. Design engineers tend to work on products and systems that involve adapting and using complex scientific and mathematical techniques in order to develop solutions for human society.
Any interconnection of electrical components (e.g. batteries, resistors, inductors, capacitors, switches, etc.), or a model of such an interconnection consisting of electrical elements (e.g. voltage sources, current sources, resistances, inductances, and capacitances).
The study of the combined disciplines of physics, mathematics and engineering, particularly computer, nuclear, electrical, electronic, materials or mechanical engineering. By focusing on the scientific method as a rigorous basis, it seeks ways to apply, design, and develop new solutions in engineering.
A mechanical device which uses the conservation of angular momentum to store rotational energy. Flywheels are therefore a type of accumulator, analogous to electrical inductors, in that they store energy for later use. They are commonly used to smooth deviations in the power output of an energy source, to deliver stored energy at rates that exceed the ability of the energy source, and to control the orientation of mechanical systems.
An established norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task, especially when written in a formal document that establishes uniform criteria, methods, processes, and practices. A technical standard may be developed privately or unilaterally by edict, or by groups such as trade associations, industry standards organizations, or governments, often according to the formal consensus of experts in the discipline.
Also ultimate strength or simply tensile strength (TS).
The maximum stress that a material under tension can withstand while being stretched or pulled before breaking. Ultimate tensile strength is usually found by performing a tensile test and recording the stress versus strain; the highest point of the stress–strain curve is the ultimate tensile strength. Tensile strengths are often important in the design of brittle members. Contrast compressive strength.
A management-led program to eliminate defects in industrial production that enjoyed brief popularity in American industry from 1964 to the early 1970s. Quality expert Philip Crosby later incorporated it into his "Absolutes of Quality Management" and it enjoyed a renaissance in the American automobile industry—as a performance goal more than as a program—in the 1990s. Although applicable to any type of enterprise, it has been primarily adopted within supply chains wherever large volumes of components are being purchased (common items such as nuts and bolts are good examples).
States that if two thermodynamic systems are each in thermal equilibrium with a third one, then they are in thermal equilibrium with each other. Accordingly, thermal equilibrium between systems is a transitive relation. Two systems are said to be in the relation of thermal equilibrium if they are linked by a wall permeable only to heat and they do not change over time. As a convenience of language, systems are sometimes also said to be in a relation of thermal equilibrium if they are not linked so as to be able to transfer heat to each other, but would still not do so (even) if they were connected by a wall permeable only to heat.
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^Zielinski, Sarah (1 January 2008). "Absolute Zero". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
^Dictionary of architectural and building technology. London: E & F N Spon. 1998. p. 3. ISBN 0-419-22280-4.
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^Carathéodory, C. (1909). "Untersuchungen über die Grundlagen der Thermodynamik". Mathematische Annalen. 67: 355–386. doi:10.1007/BF01450409. S2CID 118230148.. A translation may be found here. Also a mostly reliable translation is to be found in Kestin, J. (1976). The Second Law of Thermodynamics. Stroudsburg, PA: Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross.
^Bailyn, M. (1994). A Survey of Thermodynamics. New York, NY: American Institute of Physics Press. p. 21. ISBN 0-88318-797-3.
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^Daniel Malacara, Zacarias Malacara, Handbook of optical design. Page 379
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^Base unit definitions: Ampere Archived 25 April 2017 at the Wayback Machine Physics.nist.gov. Retrieved on 2010-09-28.
^Groover, Mikell (2014). Fundamentals of Modern Manufacturing: Materials, Processes, and Systems.
^Rifkin, Jeremy (1995). The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era. Putnam Publishing Group. pp. 66, 75. ISBN 978-0-87477-779-6.
^Automaton - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/automaton
^Williams, Jan R.; Susan F. Haka; Mark S. Bettner; Joseph V. Carcello (2008). Financial & Managerial Accounting. McGraw-Hill Irwin. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-07-299650-0.
^Crompton, T.R. (2000-03-20). Battery Reference Book (third ed.). Newnes. p. Glossary 3. ISBN 978-0-08-049995-6. Retrieved 2016-03-18.
^Pauling, Linus (1988). "15: Oxidation-Reduction Reactions; Electrolysis.". General Chemistry. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. p. 539. ISBN 978-0-486-65622-9.
^Schmidt-Rohr, Klaus (2018). "How Batteries Store and Release Energy: Explaining Basic Electrochemistry". Journal of Chemical Education. 95 (10): 1801–1810. Bibcode:2018JChEd..95.1801S. doi:10.1021/acs.jchemed.8b00479.
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^Gere, J.M.; Timoshenko, S.P. (1996), Mechanics of Materials:Forth edition, Nelson Engineering, ISBN 0534934293
^Beer, F.; Johnston, E.R. (1984), Vector mechanics for engineers: statics, McGraw Hill, pp. 62–76
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^Plesha, Michael E.; Gray, Gary L.; Costanzo, Francesco (2013). Engineering Mechanics: Statics (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. pp. 364–407. ISBN 978-0-07-338029-2.
^A Guide to Zero Defects: Quality and Reliability Assurance Handbook. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower Installations and Logistics). 1965. p. 3. OCLC 7188673. 4155.12-H. Retrieved May 29, 2014. Early in 1964 the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Installations and Logistics) invited the attention of the Military Departments and the Defense Supply Agency to the potential of Zero Defects. This gave the program substantial impetus. Since that time Zero Defects has been adopted by numerous industrial and Department of Defense activities.