Building & general construction technology dictionary:
technology, architecture, civil, structural, forensic, mechanical, pavement and materials engineering, roofing, and masonry
with elements of testing and quality science
Hosted by A. Sebastian Engineering & Investigation Services
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ASEIS also offers a
Construction durability glossary
and a Building pathology glossary
First and foremost, this is a construction dictionary with English explanations. Given the difficulty that faces the Romance language speaker to relate to technical English (and the other way around), whenever possible, the corresponding equivalents are given (where genus choices are possible, only the masculine is shown). Some reference standards are also indicated. If you have a better translation, please e-mail it to us for consideration / inclusion / credit.
Items currently in the works may show in italics.
...or go the old fashioned way:
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A B C D to L M to Z
Abandonment Stage Final stage in a product's life cycle.
Abnormal Failure Artificially induced malfunction/failure of a component
Abrasion (F abrasion, R abraziune, frecare)Wear or removal of the surface of a solid material as a result of relative movement of other solid bodies in contact with it (BS CP3)
Abrasion resistance (R rezistenta de frecare) Ability of a construction element to resist mechanical abrasion such as foot traffic and wind blown particles which tend to progressively remove materials from exposed surfaces such as roofing the membranes
Absolute Pressure Transducer A transducer that has an internal reference chamber sealed at or close to 0 psia (full vacuum) and normally provides increasing output voltage for increases in pressure
Absolute Pressure Gage pressure plus atmospheric pressure
Absorbtion (F absorption, R absorbtie) entry and/or retention (of a fluid such as water) into the bulk of a solid material by virtue of the porosity / capilarity (BS 892). Var. Heat absorbtion (R absorbtia radiatiei termice)
Absorbant (R material sicativ, material higroscopic)
Acceleration (R acceleratie) The first derivative of velocity with respect to time. Units expressed in "g"
Accelerometer A transducer which converts mechanical motion into an electrical signal that is proportional to the acceleration value of the motion; it measures acceleration or gravitational force capable of imparting acceleration
Accuracy (R exactitate)The combined error of nonlinearity, repeatability, and hysteresis expressed as a percent of full scale output
Accuracy vs. Precision (R exactitate si precizie)If the actual value is 5.321 and you say that it is 5.30, then you are precise to 3 places but inaccurate by .021. If a value is represented as a bullseye on a target, a group of guesses or measurements represented by closely grouped points have a high degree of precision. If that group is near the center, it is highly accurate as well. On a bullseye, think of accuracy as how close to the center your arrow hits, and your measurement of precision as how closely you can group your shots
Acre (R acru) Area unit of measure: one acre equals 43,560 square feet of land. Also "Builder's Acre" or "Horse Acre" which are less than a full acre (not a legal acre).
Acrylic resin One of a group of thermoplastic resins formed by polymerization of esters or amides of acrylic acid; used in concrete or masonry construction as a bonding agent or surface sealer.
A/D Converter (also mentioned as 'A/D' or 'ADC') analog-to-digital converter. An instrument which converts real-world analog signals into a digital format that can be processed by a computer
Adhesion (F adésion, R adeziune, aderenta, lipire)The force that resists the separation of two bodies in contact (BS 5168). Var. Adhesive (R adeziv, lipici)
Admixture (F adjuvant, R adaos,
Var. Admixtures in Portland Cement Concrete (F Les adjuvants du béton de ciment portland):
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Adobe (R chirpici) Spanish word for a sun-dried brick as well as for the clay from which the bricks are made. Composed of a very fine mixture of clay, quartz, among other minerals, adobe is plastic and can be molded easily when moist into bricks, which receive straw as the only addition. These bricks are baked in the sun for 7 to 14 days. Because they disintegrate when wet, adobe bricks are used only in regions of limited rainfall, such as the southwestern region of the United States.
Adsorbtion (F adsorption, R adsorptie, adsorbtie) Attachment of a substance to the surface of a solid by virtue of forces arising from molecular attraction (BS 892). Retention (of water vapor) as a surface layer on a material
AEC (US) Atomic Energy Commission, 1947-1974. Broken up in 1974 into the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Later ERDA became the Department of Energy
Aggregate (R agregate)
Air barrier (F pare air)
Aluminum ("aluminium' in Canada and most Europe) (F Aluminium, R Aluminiu) symbol Al, most abundant metallic element in the earth's crust. The atomic number of aluminum is 13; the atomic weight is 26.9815. Aluminum is a lightweight, silvery metal. In contact with air, aluminum rapidly becomes covered with a tough, transparent layer of aluminum oxide that resists corrosion. Aluminum is never found as alone but commonly occurs as aluminum silicate or as a silicate of aluminum mixed with other metals. Expensive to refine, these silicates are not useful ores. Bauxite, an impure hydrated aluminum oxide, is the commercial source of aluminum and its compounds. A low-cost technique dating from the 1880s is still the major method of production. Aluminum weighs less than one-third as much as steel. Its high strength-to-weight ratio makes aluminum useful in many applications
Ambient (F ambiant, R ambiant, inconjurator)Surrounding. Usually used in the context of environmental conditions, eg. temperature or noise (BS 4275)
Ambient Compensation The design of an instrument such that changes in ambient temperature do not affect the readings of the instrument
Ambient Conditions (R conditii inconjuratoare)
Conditions around a transducer (pressure, temperature, etc.)
Anchor (F ancrage, R ancora) Device providing a fixing to a solid surface. Var. "tension ~" (R tirant)=tie-rod
Anemometer (R anemometru) Instrument for measuring and/or indicating the velocity of air flow
Anion (R anion) Negatively charged ion (Cl-, NO3-, S2-, etc.)
ANSI American National Standards Institute: this organization represents the United States in the ISO (International Organization for Standardization)
Application Program Computer program that accomplishes specific tasks, such as word processing
Appraisal A somewhat subjective estimate of the market value of a property, often based solely upon the sale prices of other more or less similar properties in the same area. Lenders will base the size of the mortgage they are willing to approve in part on the appraised value as determined by a real estate appraiser.
Appreciation An increase in property value, sometimes reflecting inflation or a business potential.
Appurtenance Any constructed constructable secondary facility somehow annexed to a main building. It could be either attached or not (i.e., a shed to a house, or an easement to land) and it will pass as part of the main property upon sale.
Assessment Estimated value of a property as established by local officials for purposes of calculating the property taxes owed. The assessed valued may or may not be equal to the appraised value. Also "Assessor"
ASME American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Asphalt (R Asfalt) Black petroleum residue, which can be anywhere from solid to semisolid at room temperature. When heated to the temperature of boiling water, it becomes pourable. It is used in roofing materials, surfacing roads, in lining the walls of water-retaining structures such as reservoirs and swimming pools, and in manufacturing floor tiles. Asphalt should not be confused with tar, a similar looking substance made from coal or wood and incompatible with petroleum derivates
ASTM American Society for Testing and Materials
Atomic Number (symbolized Z) (R Numar Atomic)The number of protons in a nucleus. It determines the chemical properties of an element
Atomic Weight (R greutate atomica) The nominal atomic weight of an isotope is given by the sum of the number of neutrons and protons in each nucleus. The exact atomic weight differs fractionally from that whole number because neutrons are slightly heavier than protons and the mass of the nucleus is also affected by the binding energy
Auto-Zero Automatic internal correction for offsets and/or drift at zero voltage input
AWG American Wire Gage
AWS Automated Weather Station measures environmental factors such as air temperature, relative humidity, rain, wind, ground temperature, solar radiation and air pressure
Axial Load (R incarcare axiala) Load applied along or parallel to and concentric with the primary axis
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ACI, ANSI, APA, ASTM, BIA, BOCA, CIB, CSA, DEA, ISO, MinnDOT, NRCC, PCA, TMS, USACE
A. Sebastian: "Essential Construction & Architectural Engineering Dictionary"
Webster, formerly known as a "Dictionary of the American Language" (whatever that might mean)
American Heritage Dictionary
Encarta, a barely passable product from a much less than passable corporation
Echo-Eurodicatum: although sliding down fast, it is still the power house to beat in web multilingual dictionaries (http://www2.echo.lu/edic/)
TechDico, Logos (http://www.logos.it/query/query.html)
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