air lock


air lock
1. Civ. Eng. an airtight chamber permitting passage to or from a space, as in a caisson, in which the air is kept under pressure.
2. the impedance in the functioning of a pump or a system of piping caused by the presence of an air bubble; vapor lock.
[1855-60]

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 device that permits passage between regions of differing air pressures, most often used for passage between atmospheric pressure and chambers in which the air is compressed, such as pneumatic caissons and underwater tunnels (tunnels and underground excavations). The air lock also has been used as a design feature of space vehicles; on March 18, 1965, the Soviet cosmonaut Aleksey Leonov (Leonov, Aleksey Arkhipovich) passed through an air lock to become the first man to walk in space.

      Sir Thomas Cochrane patented an air lock in 1830 for use in harbour works; its application to bridge foundations was pioneered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, James Eads, and others; James Henry Greathead used it in tunneling in the 19th century.

      A typical modern air lock consists of a cylinder of steel plate with airtight doors located at both ends, one opening from the outside into the lock, the other from the lock into the compressed-air chamber, together with valves to admit or to exhaust compressed air. One of the doors must always be closed; before the other is opened, the pressure within the air lock must be equalized with that on the opposite side.

      Two types of air locks are in general use: the horizontal, for tunnels, in which the doors are hinged on vertical axes; and the vertical, for caissons, in which the door arrangement must make provision for the cable that hoists material from the working chamber to the surface.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Air lock — Air Air ([^a]r), n. [OE. air, eir, F. air, L. a[ e]r, fr. Gr. ah r, air, mist, for a[digamma]hr, fr. root a[digamma] to blow, breathe, probably akin to E. wind. In sense 10 the French has taking a meaning fr. It. aria atmosphere, air, fr. the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • air-lock — /air lok /, v.t. to place in or confine to an air lock: to air lock divers before they descend. [1855 60] * * * …   Universalium

  • air lock — air′ lock n. 1) civ an airtight chamber permitting passage to or from a space, as in a caisson, in which the air is kept under pressure 2) mac an impedance in the functioning of a pump or a system of piping caused by the presence of an air… …   From formal English to slang

  • air lock — n. 1. an airtight compartment, with adjustable air pressure, between places that do not have the same air pressure, as between the working compartment of a caisson and the outside 2. a blockage, as in a water pipe, caused by trapped air …   English World dictionary

  • air lock — n 1.) a small room used for moving between two places that do not have the same air pressure, for example in a spacecraft 2.) a small amount of air in a pipe that stops liquid flowing through it …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • air lock — noun a chamber that provides access to space where air is under pressure • Syn: ↑airlock • Hypernyms: ↑chamber * * * noun 1. : an air space with two airtight doors or openings for permitting entrance to or exit from a sealed off space under… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Air lock — An air lock is gas trapped in a high point of a liquid filled pipe system. The gas, being lighter than the liquid, rises to the highest point and restricts the flow of liquid. In very tall systems, the gas can prevent flow entirely.Flushing the… …   Wikipedia

  • air-lock — ˈ ̷ ̷ˌ ̷ ̷ transitive verb Etymology: air lock : to stop (a flow) by an air lock …   Useful english dictionary

  • air lock — i. A stoppage or diminution of flow in a fuel system, hydraulic system, or the like caused by a pocket of air or vapor. Often called vapor lock. ii. A chamber capable of being hermetically sealed that provides for passage between two places of… …   Aviation dictionary

  • air lock — Synonyms and related words: aboideau, access, adit, approach, corridor, dock gate, entrance, entranceway, entry, entryway, flood hatch, floodgate, gangplank, gangway, gate, hall, head gate, in, ingress, inlet, intake, lock, lock gate, means of… …   Moby Thesaurus


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