Engines & Equipment

Engines and construction equipment are all complex machines. How do some of these engines work, and how do they help us construct buildings and structures?

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You know those loaders used in construction and landscaping that dig up and pick up EVERYTHING? Learn how these incredible machines work!

By Karim Nice

If a device has a motor, engine or spring, it probably has gears! But what do gears do, exactly, and how do they do it?

By Karim Nice & Kristen Hall-Geisler

Hydraulic cranes perform seemingly impossible tasks, lifting 70-ton objects with absolute ease. See the simple design behind the Herculean results.

By Kevin Bonsor

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We see them all the time, but do you ever think about everything these machines do? A fire engine is a combination personnel carrier, tool box and water tanker. Learn all about this amazing 3-in-1 machine.

By Kevin Bonsor

You probably ride escalators all the time, but do you know how they move, and flatten, and keep the handrail in synch with the steps? Find out exactly what is going on inside an escalator.

By Tom Harris

In action movies, elevators regularly plummet to the basement, landing in a spectacular ball of fire. Is this possible? There are some sophisticated engineering techniques at work behind every elevator ride you take.

By Tom Harris

A radial engine has a unique setup that makes it ideal for certain applications. Find out what makes radial engines different, how they operate and where they're used.

By Marshall Brain

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Ball bearings can be found in a wide variety of machines and gadgets. If you take a look at one of them you may notice how perfectly smooth they feel and appear. How do they get like that? Find out how ball bearings are created in this article.

You see gears in just about anything that has spinning parts — car engines, transmissions, electric toothbrushes... Learn what these gears are doing and get to the bottom of the "gear ratio" concept!

By Marshall Brain

You see backhoe-loaders on nearly every construction site around town. Learn how these amazing machines work and what they are able to do.

By Marshall Brain & Tom Harris

You've waited in line, and now it's time to board the roller coaster for the thrill ride of your life. If you're lucky enough to get to pick your seat, which car should you choose for the best ride experience?

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Diesel locomotives are some of the coolest modes of transport out there. Giant machines like these are just full of technological treats. Explore a hybrid-diesel locomotive — from engine to engineer controls.

By Karim Nice & Talon Homer

At first glance, it looks like a high-tech scooter. But people who have tried out the Segway claim that it is much, much more. Find out what's going on inside the Segway and what makes it so unique.

By Tom Harris

What does it take to build an ATV? We visited the Suzuki Manufacturing of America Corporation ATV factory in Rome, Georgia, to find out.

Oil tankers carry massive amounts of oil, gasoline and other petroleum products between ports. However, crewmembers must guard against explosions, pirates and more.

By Akweli Parker

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We humans are mobile. Long before flight, FusionMan or even your average automobile arrived on the scene, trains were transporting us all over civilization. How did we get from horse-drawn carts to high-speed trains?

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

We may fantasize about soaring through the sky, but humans aren't aerodynamic creatures. Could human flight be possible with personal jet packs?

By Ed Grabianowski

It doesn't seem like twisted rope and wooden gears or levers would be able to produce the force and speed needed to launch heavy loads a great distance.

By Yara Simón

Thomas the Tank Engine is a merchandising phenomenon that includes small wooden train sets, video tapes, books, clothing, an official Web site and tons of fan sites. But wait, what exactly is a "tank engine" anyway?

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How do the engines breathe in diesel submarines? Don't internal combustion engines need a lot of oxygen to run? Where would all of this oxygen come from when the sub is underwater?

When I was a kid, my Aunt had constantly flowing water from a natural spring down the hill. She said the water was pumped uphill using a hydraulic ram. This device ran constantly and didn't need any electricity! What is a hydraulic ram and how does i

Steam engines powered all early locomotives, steam boats and factories -- they fueled the Industrial Revolution. Learn how the steam engine produces power!

By Marshall Brain & Yara Simón

Bearings are the invisible heroes inside many mechanical devices. Learn about all different kinds of bearings, including 5-foot ball bearings that keep buildings on solid footing.

By Karim Nice

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Magnetic levitation trains, aka maglev trains, can travel much faster than even bullet trains, with less environmental impact. But they're very expensive to build. So, what's the future of maglev trains?

By Kevin Bonsor & Nathan Chandler

Right around the fall months you may have heard the phrase 'punkin chunkin.' Have you ever wondered what exactly that is, or how the machines that launch pumpkins work?