Friday, September 8, 2017

Engineering In Ancient World

The invention of efficient tools and basic processes was the necessary first step in the development of engineering. By the time of the Egyptian empires, early machine tools such as the lathe were already in use; metal smelting, metalworking, and casting process had beed developed; and such basic devices as the windless, andless chain, and bellows were widely employeed. The pyramids and other early monumental structures attest to a highly developed knowledge of quarrying and construction techninques.

The Greeks were talented inventors of mechanical devices, and many of their designs prefigure machines developed centuries later. Hero of Alexandria devised two types of heat engines, one for opening the doors of a temple, the other simply a mechanical toy. Hero was the first to study and classify the types of mechanical force, and his categories of simple machines, the lever, wedge, pulley, wheel, and axle, formed the basic of mechanical engineering.

The waterwheel appeared in the 4th century BC. A machine whose power was not provided by men or animals. It may be called the first true prime mover. Two centuries later, the Greek mathematician and inventor Archimedes studied the mechanics of solid bodies immersed in fluids, one of the first scientific studies of natural phenomena.

The Romans, while not so inventive as the Greeks, nevertheles adopted and improved on Greek devices, using them in the construction of the great works, roads, aqueducts, edifices, that marked their empire. Vitruvius's 10-Volume De architectura (1st century AD) was a compendium of Roman engineering practice.

In its inventive abilities ancient China was easily the equal of Greece, but many centuries were to pass before such oriental devices as the windmill and the double piston bellows, and the wheelbarrow reached the Western world.

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