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Professional English


Describing technical functions and applications Explaining how technology works Emphasising technical advantages Simplifying and illustrating technical explanations

Words stemming from use allow,

prevent Verbs to describe movement Verbs and adjectives to describe advantages Adverbs for adding emphasis Phrases for simplifying and rephrasing

Listening GPS applications Space elevators Advantages of a new pump A guided tour Reading Space elevators Otis lift technology Pile foundations

Describing specific materials Categorising materials Specifying and describing properties Discussing quality issues

Common materials Categories of materials consist of,

made out of Properties of materials Phrases for describing requirements Compounds of resistant Adverbs of degree

Listening An environmental audit Specialised tools High-performance watches Reading Materials recycling Regenerative brakes Kevlar

Describing component shapes and features Explaining and assessing manufacturing techniques Explaining jointing and fixing techniques Describing positions of assembled components

Shapes and 3D features Words to describe machining Phrases for describing suitability Verbs and nouns to describe joints and fixings Prepositions of position

Listening A project briefing Electrical plugs and sockets Metal fabrication UHP waterjet cutting Options for fixing Cluster ballooning Reading Cutting operations Flow waterjet technology Joints and fixings The flying garden chair

Working with drawings Discussing dimensions and precision Describing design phases and procedures Resolving design problems

Views on technical drawings Phrases related to scale Phrases related to tolerance length,

Drawing types and versions Verbs for describing stages of a design process Verbs and nouns for describing design problems

Listening A drawing query Scale A floor design Design procedures Revising a detail Reading Superflat floors Queries and instructions

Describing types of technical problem Assessing and interpreting faults Describing the causes of faults Discussing repairs and maintenance

Verbs and adjectives for describing technical problems Words for describing faults and their severity Phrases for describing certainty/ uncertainty Adjectives with prefixes for describing technical problems Verbs for describing repairs and maintenance

Listening A racing car test session Test session problems Technical help-line Tyre pressure problems A maintenance check Reading Air Transat Flight 236



Discussing technical requirements Suggesting ideas and solutions Assessing feasibility Describing improvements and redesigns

Phrases for referring to issues Phrases for referring to quantity and extent Phrases for suggesting solutions and alternatives Idioms to describe feasibility Verbs with re

to describe modifications Idioms to describe redesigning

Listening Simulator requirements and effects Lifting options Hole requirements and forming A project briefing Reading Mammoth problem

Describing health and safety precautions Emphasising the importance of precautions Discussing regulations and standards Working with written instructions and notices

Types of industrial hazards Types of protective equipment Phrases for emphasising importance Terms to describe regulations Common language on safety notices Language style in written instructions

Listening A safety meeting Hazard analysis Live line precautions Safety training Oral instructions Reading Live line maintenance Helicopter safety on oil platforms

Describing automated systems Referring to measurable parameters Discussing readings and trends Giving approximate figures

Words to describe automated systems Words to describe measurable parameters Words to describe fluctuations Words and phrases for approximating numbers

Listening Intelligent buildings and automation Monitoring and control systems Electricity demand and supply problems Pumped storage hydroelectric power Internal reviews Reading Industrial process monitoring Dynamic demand controls

Explaining tests and experiments Exchanging views on predictions and theories Comparing results with expectations Discussing causes and effects

Words to describe test types Words and phrases for stating assumptions Words and phrases for agreeing and disagreeing Phrases for comparing expectations and results Words for linking causes and effects

Listening Vehicle design and testing Water rockets Air drop problems Moon landings Reading A rocket competition Chicken cannon

Discussing performance and suitability Describing physical forces Discussing relative performance Describing capabilities and limitations

Adjectives for describing suitability and performance Words to describe types of forces factor,

consideration Words and phrases to describe degrees of difference Words to describe capabilities and limits

Listening Wind turbine towers Tall structures TGV world speed record The story of John Paul Stapp Reading Wind turbines fact file Solar towers Transport alternatives The Sonic Wind tests The rocket sled proposal


Answer key




UNII 1 •

Describing technical functions and applications Explaining how technology works Emphasising technical advantages Simplifying and illustrating technical explanations

Describing technical functions and applications 1 a

In pairs,

think about two or three products you use regularly and discuss the following questions

What are the main functions of the products

?) What are their different applications

What do you know about Global Positioning System (GPS) devices

describe their main function ,

and give some examples of different applications of GPS devices

a design engineer for a GPS manufacturer,

is discussing product development with Jose,

a senior manager new to the company

Listen to the conversation and complete the following notes

the primary application of GPS associated applications

(5) (6)

Complete the following extracts from the discussion with words that come from use

Then you've got associated applications,

_ _ that are related to navigating

tracking systems you can _ _ for monitoring delivery vehicles

from the end-_ _ point of view,

accuracy is no longer the main selling point

Most devices are accurate enough

The key is to make them more _ _

Unit 1 Technology in use

Match the GPS applications (1-6) to the descriptions (a-f)

2 3 4 5 6

topographical surveying \ geological exploration civil engineering avionics equipment maritime applications GPS in cars and trucks

navigation and safety at sea setting out positions and Levels of new structures mapping surface features applications in mining and the oil industry highway navigation and vehicle tracking air traffic control,

navigation and autopilot systems

In pairs,

practise explaining the applications of GPS in Exercise 3a to a colleague who has limited knowledge of the devices using the following phrases

Complete the following extracts from the conversation by underlining the correct words

there 's a setting on the CPS that allows/prevents it to detect the movement

and allows/prevents the boat from drifting unnoticed

and enables/ensures that you don 't lose track of where you were,

which then enables/ensures you to turn round and come back to the same point

Match the words in Exercise 4a to the synonyms

C Complete the following extract from the user's manual of a GPS device using the verbs in Exercise 4a


more than one answer is possible


The core function of your GPS receiver is to (1) ___ you to locate your precise geographical position

To (2) ___ the device to function ,

it receives at least three signals simultaneously from the GPS constellation

To ( 4) ___ extremely precise positioning and (5) ___ errors from occurring due to external factors,

this device is designed to receive four separate signals (see enhanced system accuracy on page 18)

In pairs,

explain the main functions and applications of a product made by your company or a product you know about

Student A,

you are an engineering manager

Student B,

Use the language from this section and the phrases in the box

Swap roles and practise again

In other words

So you mean

Unit 1 Technology in use

Explaining how technology works 6 a

In pairs,

look at the picture and discuss the following questions

How do you think a space elevator would work

? What technical challenges would it face

? How seriously do you think the concept of space elevators is being taken at present

Read the following article and compare it to your answers in Exercise Ga

IN his 1979 novel,

The Fountains of Paradise ,

Arthur C Clarke wrote about an elevator connecting the earth 's surface to space

Three decades later,

this sciencefiction concept is preparing to take off in the real world

NASA has launched the Space Elevator Challenge,

a competition with a generous prize fund ,

and several teams and companies are working on serious research projects aimed at winning it

As its name suggests,

a space elevator is designed to raise things into space


supplies for astronauts in space stations,

and even astronauts themselves are examples of payloads that could be transported into orbit without the need

for explosive and environmentally unfriendly rockets


How could such a height be reached

? The answer is by using an incredibly strong and lightweight cable ,

strong enough to support its own weight and a heavy load

The design of such a cable is still largely theoretical

This would be attached to a base station on earth at one end and a satellite in geostationary orbit (fixed above a point on the equator) at the other

Lift vehicles would then ascend and descend the cable ,

powered by electromagnetic force and controlled remotely

C Match the verbs (1-9) from the text in Exercise Gb to the definitions (a-i)

1 2 3 4 5

6 7 8 9

over a distance) hold something firmly/ bear its weight c'climb down d'provided with energy / moved by a force e joining f driven / have movement directed g fixed h climb up Lift/ make something go up

b raise transported support attached ascend descend powered controlled

is giving a talk on space elevators

Complete his notes using the correct form of the verbs ( 1-7) in Exercise Ge

Space Devators • Challenge of(/) •To (2)

CO\\\\eci-i\\B a sate//

te to earth by cable is significant

cable would need phenomenal strength to-weight ratio

• How could vehicles be (4) into space,

? • Self-contained energy source problematic,

due to weight (heavy fuel or batteries required to (5)

•Two possible ways round problem:

I Transmit electricity wirelessly

But technique only at research stage

But would only allow vehicle to (6)

as car could be controlled remotely,

Unit 1 Technology in use

C What kinds of word are missing from the notes

compare the audioscript on page 86 with the notes in Exercise 7a

Some space elevator designs propose an offshore base station

In pairs,

discuss how such a system might work using words in Exercise Ge

What advantages might an offshore base have compared with a land base

Listen to the talk and answer the following questions

How would an offshore base station be supported

? 2 What would the function of its anchors be

? 3 How would payloads reach the base station

? 4 What problem would a mobile base station help to prevent

? 5 What would the procedure be if there was an alert

You are members of a space elevator research team designing a concept for offshore base stations

In pairs,

which were made during a briefing given by your manager

Imagine you are giving a presentation

Begin by reading out the abbreviated notes in full

Dff'5HD\Z£ BA'5f



AnGhorin9 5jfMrn Wind loadu on Gable

What irnpliGation5 for anc

In pairs,

discuss the questions raised in the notes and think of some suitable solutions for the anchoring system and the propulsion system

At this stage,

these should be overall concepts,

Remember to make notes

C In small groups,

take turns to give a short talk using your notes to explain how the systems work,

Imagine you are speaking to a small group of colleagues,

Write two or three paragraphs to summarise your talk

These will be included in your manager's longer report on offshore base stations

Unit 1 Technology in use

Emphasising technical advantages 10

In pairs,

discuss the term technical advantage

Give some examples of technology you are familiar with

Read the first paragraph of some promotional literature from Otis,

What is the Gen2 "' system

Match the words (1-6) from the text in Exercise 11 a to the synonyms (a-f)

energy-efficient enhanced reduces

decreases better / the best improved standard,

usual gets rid of has Low energy consumption

The key to Otis's patented drive technology At the heart of the Gen2™ elevator system is a flat belt (developed by and unique to Otis)

It is just 3mm th ick

Yet it is stronger than conventional steel cables

It lasts up to three times longer

And it has enabled Otis to completely re-invent the elevator

The flat

coated-steel belt tota lly eliminates the metal-to-metal effect of conventional systems

Coupled with a smooth-surface crowned machine sheave

the result is exceptionally quiet operation and superior ride comfort


the flexible flat belt enables a more compact,

which can be contained in the hoistway

This enhanced technology reduces building and system operating costs,

Complete the following text using the correct form of the words (1-6) in Exercise 11 b

You will need to use some words more than once

In pairs,

summarise the advantages of the flat belt system

Discuss durability,

Unit 1 Technology in use

Unique Flat Belt

Complete the following tips on emphasising technical advantages using the words in the box

conventional eliminated enhanced

When describing technical advantages,

compared with the older model of the same product

b negative issues that have been (2) _ __ _ _ ,

special features that differentiate the technology from (4) _ _ _ __ systems

performance levels that make the technology (5) _ _ _ _ _ to the competition

4 Stefan,

is briefing some sales colleagues on the advantages of a new pump design

Listen to the briefing and match the tips (a-d) in Exercise 12a to the extracts (1-4)

Extract 1 _ __ Extract 2 ___ Extract 3 ___ Extract 4 _ __

C Complete the following sentences from the briefing by underlining the correct emphasising word

We've come up with a completely/significantly unique profile

It completely/dramatically reduces vibration

Machines like these can never be entirely/highly free from vibration

The new design runs dramatically/extremely smoothly

Another advantage of the new profile is that it's considerably/entirely lighter

So compared with our previous range,

Trials so far suggest the design is completely/exceptionally durable

We expect it to be entirely/significantly more reliable than rival units

Match the words in Exercise 12c to the synonyms

considerably dramatically entirely exceptionally highly totally _ _ _ _ _ = completely

You are Otis engineers back in the 1850s,

In pairs,

prepare a short talk to brief your sales colleagues on the advantages of elevators for lifting people and goods

Emphasise the points below,

using the phrases and techniques from this section

Remember that people at this time are sceptical about the technology

Elevators are

Unit 1 Technology in use

Simplifying and illustrating technical explanations 14 a

5 Richard,

often takes clients on guided tours of their new buildings during construction

He is talking about explaining technical concepts to non-specialists

Listen and answer the following questions

What does Richard say about explaining technical concepts

? 2 What does he mean by dull explanations

In pairs,

think of some tips on how to solve the following problems

not being understood 3 explaining difficult concepts

Listen and summarise his ideas

Compare his tips with your suggestions

Richard has made notes for a guided tour of a site

The project is a skyscraper in the early stages of construction

During the tour he explains the technical terms to the non-specialist group

In pairs,

discuss the following terms and try to interpret them using everyday language to rephrase them

SUBSTRUCTURE Pile foundations (in general)

Bored in situ concrete piles Pre-cast driven concrete piles Pile driver

Pile auger Bentonite

Listen and make notes of his explanations of the following technical terms

Compare your ideas with his