Lock (water navigation)

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A lock is a device used for raising and lowering boats, ships and other watercraft between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways. The distinguishing feature of a lock is a fixed chamber in which the water level can be varied; whereas in a caisson lock, a boat lift, or on a canal inclined plane, it is the chamber itself (usually then called a caisson) that rises and falls.

Locks are used to make a river more easily navigable, or to allow a canal to cross land that is not level. Later canals used more and larger locks to allow a more direct route to be taken.

Since 2016, the largest lock worldwide is the Kieldrecht Lock in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium.

A pound lock is a type of lock that is used almost exclusively nowadays on canals and rivers. A pound lock has a chamber with gates at both ends that control the level of water in the pound. In contrast, an earlier design with a single gate was known as a flash lock.

Pound locks were first used in medieval China during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD), having been pioneered by the Song politician and naval engineer Qiao Weiyue in 984. They replaced earlier double slipways that had caused trouble and are mentioned by the Chinese polymath Shen Kuo (1031–1095) in his book Dream Pool Essays (published in 1088), and fully described in the Chinese historical text Song Shi (compiled in 1345):

The distance between the two locks was rather more than 50 paces, and the whole space was covered with a great roof like a shed. The gates were 'hanging gates'; when they were closed the water accumulated like a tide until the required level was reached, and then when the time came it was allowed to flow out.

This page was last edited on 17 April 2018, at 22:39.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lock_(water_transport) under CC BY-SA license.

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