Civil Engineering Dictionary Terms : P

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Sr.TermDefinition
1Parapet Any protective railing, low wall or barrier at the edge of a bridge, roof, balcony or the like.
2ParkwayAn arterial highway for non-commercial traffic, with full or partial control of access, usually located within a park or a ribbon of parklike development.
3Passive PressureA pressure acting to counteract active pressure.
4PavementThe uppermost layer of material placed on the traveled way or shoulders. This term is used interchangeably with surfacing.
5Pavement StructureThe combination of subbase, base course, and surface course placed on a subgrade to support the traffic load and distribute it to the subgrade.
6PeatPlant material partly decomposed by action of water.
7PebblesSmaller pieces of material (0.12 to 0.25 inch minimum size) which have broken away from a bedrock.
8PedestalAn upright compression member whose height does not exceed three times its average least lateral dimension.
9PerforatedPierced with holes.
10PermeabilityThat property of a material which permits a liquid to flow through its pores or interstices.
11Ph ValueAn index of the acidity or alkalinity of a soil in terms of longarithm of the reciprocal of hydrogen ion concentration (e.g., a pH indication of less than 7.0 is acidic, whereas a reading of more than 7.0 is alkaline).
12PierA wide column or a wall of masonry, plain or reinforced concrete for carrying heavy loads, such as a support for a bridge.
13Pier CapThe top part of a bridge pier which uniformly distribute the concentrated loads from the bridge over the pier .
14Pier ShaftThe part of a pier structure which is supported by the pier foundation.
15PileA long slender timber, concrete, or steel structural element, driven, jetted, or otherwise embedded on end in the ground for the purpose of supporting a load or compacting the soil.
16PitAny borrow pit, mine, quarry or surface excavation to obtain sand, clay, gravel, etc.
17PlansThe official project plans and Standard Plans, profiles, typical cross sections, cross sections, working drawings and supplemental drawings, or reproductions thereof, approved by the Engineer, which show the location, character, dimensions and details of the work to be performed. All such documents are to be considered as a part of the plans, whether or not reproduced in the special provisions.
18PlasticityThe property of a soil which allows it to be deformed beyond the point of elastic recovery without cracking or appreciable volume change.
19Plasticity Index (Pi)Numerical difference between the liquid limit and the plastic limit. This is an indication of the clay content on a soil or aggregate.
20Plasticizer Or Water ReducerAn admixture in mortar or concrete which can increase the workability of a mix so much, that the water content can be low and the mortar or concrete strength can thus be increased.
21Plastic LimitThe water content at the lower limit of the plastic state of a clay. It is the minimum water content at which a soil can be rolled into a thread of 1/8 inch diameter without crumbling.
22PlatA small plot of land.
23Portland CementA product obtained by pulverizing clinker consisting mainly of hydraulic calcium silicates. Many different cements now use portland cements or at least contain some, the varieties include: Ordinary, Rapid-hardening, Ultra-high-earlystrength, Portland blast-furnace, Sulphate-resisting and Waterrepellent cements, apart from Colored cements.
24Post-TensioningA method of prestressing concrete in which the cables are pulled or the concrete is jacked up after it has been placed. This method is usual for bridges and heavy structures which are placed in place.
25Potable WaterDrinking water.
26Potential EnergyEnergy due to position such as the elevation head of water or the elastic energy of a spring or structure caused by its deformation.
27PrecisionOf a measurement, the fineness with which it has been read, therefore, precision is different from accuracy.
28Precast ConcreteConcrete beams, columns, lintels, piles, manholes, and parts of walls and floors which are cast and partly matured on the site or in a factory before being placed in their final position in a structure. Where many of the same unit are required, precasting may be more economical than casting in place, may give a better surface finish, reduce shrinkage of the concrete on the site and make stronger concrete.
29PressureA force acting on a unit area.
30PrestressingA process of preparing concrete slabs and beams for extra strength by placing the mix over tightly-drawn special steel wire rope or rods which are later released to provide strong dense concrete. prestressing accomplished by applying forces to a structure to deform it in such a way that it will withstand its working loads more effectively or with less total deflection. When concrete beams are prestressed they deflect upwards slightly by an amount about equal to their total downward deflection under design load. Downward deflection is thus less that half that of a reinforced-concrete beam of the same shape. The struts or braces to deep excavations in bad ground are prestressed to prevent settlement of the surface and damage to neighboring structures.
31Prestressed ConcreteConcrete in which cracking and tensile forces are eliminated or greatly reduced by compressing it by stretched cables, wires or bars within it. Two main methods for prestressing are : post-tensioning and pre-tensioning. Prestressed concrete is economical for spans which are large or where the beam depth must be reduced to a minimum.
32Prime CoatThe initial application of a low viscosity bituminous material to an absorbent surface, preparatory to any subsequent treatment, for the purpose of hardening or toughening the surface and promoting adhesion between it and the superimposed constructed layer.
33Profile GradeThe trace of a vertical plane intersecting the top surface of the proposed wearing surface, usually along the longitudinal centerline of the roadbed. Profile grade means either elevation or gradient of such trace according to the context.
34ProfilographAn instrument for measuring smoothness of a surface (as of metal casting, or a highway or road) by amplification of the minute variations from the plane or arc of smoothness.
35ProjectThe specific section of the highway together with all construction to be performed thereon under the contract.
36ProposalThe offer of a bidder, on the prescribed forms, to perform the work and to furnish the labor, equipments and materials at the prices quoted.

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