Unit One. Technology in use. Agenda. Describing technical functions and applications Explaining how technology works Emphasising technical advantages Simplifying and illustrating technical explanations. Introducing the Course. Cambridge English for Engineering ,
Technology in use
useful vocabulary in this section:
use, use for ...ing, use to (application), user, useful for ...ing
enable to, allow to, prevent from, ensure that
1A SS complete the tasks in pairs. examples,
mobile phones – phone calls, text messages, exchanging photos and videos, voice recording
electric drill/screwdriver handsets – for providing a turning force, drilling holes, putting in and removing screws, tightening and loosening nuts/
bolts hammers – for generating impacts, for driving in nails, hitting punches and chisels, breaking things
1bStudents complete the task in pairs.
Extension activity: GPS
What do you know about the origins of GPS?
The system was originally developed for military use in the United States before being made available for civilian use internationally, with some limitations on its precision.
2 (monitoring) delivery vehicles
3 (finding) stolen cars
5 man overboard
6 innovative uses of
4 a SS complete the extracts.
Explaining how technology works
You will find the following vocabulary useful in this section.
attach, fix, connect, link, support, carry, drive, power, propel, control, lift, raise,
6 a SS discuss the questions in pairs.
Before you begin …
Look at the meaning of the following terms.
space ship vs. space station
payload = meaning load, usually used in the context of space
environmentally unfriendly = opposite of environmentally friendly
orbital space = the height above which objects orbit the Earth, rather than falling rapidly back to earth
geostationary orbit = orbiting at the same speed as the Earth spins in order to remain above the same point, above the equator, on the Earth’s surface
remote control = controlled from a distance
6b SS read the article and compare it to their answers in Exercise 6a.
6c Students match the verbs and definitions, referring back to the article in Exercise 6b to see how the words are used in context.
Some of the verbs have more than one meaning:
l to attach, for example fix with bolts
l to remain still, for example fixed above a point on earth
l to repair, for example fix a puncture
l to withstand a load, for example the columns carry the roof
l to transport, for example the conveyor belt carries boxes
l to control, for example the driver drives the car
l to propel, for example the engine drives the wheels
Before you begin … Look at the meaning of the following terms.
This is the strength of a material relative to its weight. Frequently, the stronger a material is, the heavier it is, and vice versa. For example, steel is strong and heavy, and polystyrene is light and weak. Materials with a high strength-to-weight ratio are both strong and light. The metal titanium is an example.
self-contained energy source
Cars have a self-contained energy source, as their fuel is carried on board in a fuel tank. Electric trains use an external energy source – their power is supplied by overhead electric cables.
Transmission by waves, without a direct wire link.
solar power Converting sunlight to electricity using photovoltaic panels.
7 a SS complete the notes.
7b SS read and check their answers to Exercise 7a.
c SS complete the task in pairs.
The notes are missing articles (a/an, the) and some auxiliary verbs (e.g. be).
a = offshore base station = station, at the bottom of the cable, which is located in the sea/ocean.
SS = do the task in pairs
B SS = read and answer the questions
1 By a floating structure
2 To attach the base to the seabed
3 Ships would carry them.
4 Collisions between the cable and space debris
5 The anchors would be raised and the station would be moved.
Before you begin Task 9 … Look at the meaning of the following terms.
wind loads = the force of wind blowing against the cable horizontally and trying to
push it sideways
propulsion system = system for making something move
propeller = device which causes a ship or aircraft to move, consisting of two or more
blades which turn round at high speed
9 a SS analyse the notes in pairs and read them out in full.
The anchoring system
The wind loads on the cable will be huge. What are the implications for the
anchoring system? The base will need to be moved continually and sometimes
urgently. What temporary system could be used to hold the base in position?
Should the base be in shallow water near the coast, or in deep water further
offshore? The choice will have an impact on the design of the anchor system.
The propulsion system
Will the weight of the cable allow the base to be moved by its own propellers or
will a more powerful system for propulsion and control be required? For example,
an external power source.
9b SS complete the task in pairs and then compare their ideas to the
suggested answers on page 96.
It will be possible to anchor the base more securely in shallow water, near the
coast. A permanent anchor structure could be built on the ocean bed, in shallow
water. The base station could then be fixed securely to it with cables. If several
anchor structures are built at different locations along the coast, the base station
can be moved between them.
Tugs (powerful boats used for pulling ships) could be used as an external power
source. However, the base station could be driven by its own propellers. The large,
powerful engines needed to propel it would be heavy, but that isn’t necessarily a
disadvantage, as extra mass, and therefore extra inertia, would help to make the
base more stable.
c SS complete the task in small groups.
d SS complete the task either in class or as a homework activity.
Emphasising technical advantages
Useful vocabulary in this section:
conventional, eliminate (problems), superior (quality), (energy-)efficient, enhanced,
reduce completely, significantly, dramatically, entirely, highly, extremely, considerably,
SS complete the task in pairs.
11b SS match the words and synonyms.
2 e 3 b 4 f 5 c 6 a
11c Students complete the extract.
Extension activity: more vocabulary
Look at the meaning of some of the terms in Exercise 11c in more detail.
gearless = has no gears – gears are cogwheels which mesh together to transfer drive from one wheel to another
wear = progressive degradation due to normal use, for example vehicle tyres
cords = wires
machine room = a room in a building where machines, such as lift machinery, air-conditioning units and water pumps are located – also often called a plant room,
plant being an alternative collective term for machines
11d SS complete the task in pairs.
12a Students complete the tips.
12b 1.4SS listen and match the tips to the extracts.
1 c 2 b 3 a 4 d
12c SS complete the task and then read again to check your answers.
Extension activity: lift design (Resource sheet 1b)
Here is Resource sheet 1b. SS describe the advantages of lift technology in pairs.
This eliminates the risk of someone being trapped inside the lift and being unable to call for help.
This reduces the temperature inside the lift during hot weather and offers superior comfort.
This reduces waiting time, making the operation of the lifts more efficient by allowing them to share the work. For example, if someone has called the lift on the third floor and both lifts are ascending, the first lift can stop at the third floor, while the second lift continues, without stopping, to a higher floor (provided nobody already inside it has selected the third floor).
This means each lift has a shorter maximum travel distance, reducing waiting times. Although people travelling the full height of the building have to change lifts at mid-height, this inconvenience is outweighed by the superior overall performance of the split-level system.
The 4-door system allows the doors to open twice as fast, enhancing entry and exit speeds.
Simplifying and illustrating technical explanations
Here is useful vocabulary in this section.
in simple terms, put simply, in other words, basically, effectively, essentially, what we call … , what we refer to as … , if you imagine …
if you picture … jargon
14a 1.5 SS read and answer the questions.
That you shouldn’t use jargon or it will sound like nonsense and that technical concepts can be difficult to explain, even using everyday language
Explanations that are boring
Speaking to an adult as if you’re talking to a child
14b SS complete the task in pairs.
14c 1.6 SS read and compare the points made with their answers in Exercise 14b.
15a SS discuss the technical terms and try to interpret the jargon.
15b 1.7 SS read and make notes and then compare Richard’s explanations
with their own ideas from Exercise 15a.
= The part of the structure below the ground
= a column going down into the ground
= to drill
= concrete poured on the construction site in its final position
= made at a factory away from the site
= to hammer in
= like a giant hammer
= like a giant drill
= a kind of clay suspension / a sort of mud
15c 1.7 SS Read again and compare the techniques Richard uses to simplify and illustrate the technical terminology with the tips in Exercise 14c using everyday language.
15d SS complete the table.
1 put simply; in other words; basically
2 effectively; essentially; basically
3 what we call; what we refer to as
4 if you imagine; if you picture
15e SS complete the task in pairs.
16 SS rephrase the description. This could be prepared as a written exercise with SS then reading out your explanations to the group.
There are two types of pile foundation: end-bearing piles and friction piles.
Essentially, end-bearing piles are used when you have soft ground which is on
top of hard ground or rock. Basically, the piles go through the soft ground and
sit on the hard ground below. It’s a bit like building over water. The soft ground
is like water, which can’t support anything, and the hard ground below it is like
the seabed. Put simply, the piles are like stilts. Friction piles are different. They’re used when there’s no hard ground. In simple terms, the sides of the pile grip the soft ground around them. If you picture a nail in a piece of wood, it’s the
same thing. The nail is gripped by the wood around it. Sometimes the bottoms
of friction piles are made wider. Imagine a leg with a foot at the bottom, it’s the
17 SS will have Resource sheet 1c to prepare individually.
SS complete the task in pairs, taking it in turns to be the guided tour host and visitor. Although the items of technology being explained will not be visible,
the student who is listening should try to picture what is being described, and
should regularly rephrase their partner’s explanations, to check understanding.