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849832.  Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:22 pm Reply with quote

According to the OED "inflatable" means "Capable of being inflated, blown out, or distended with air or gas." If an anchor is enlarged with a fluid then it is not inflatable as it is not using a gas. If anything hydraulics has a closer definition. I realise this is being pedantic, but accuracy seems to be what this show is about.

849837.  Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:02 pm Reply with quote

I was wondering about Stephen's explanation and wondered whether he understood it wrong.

There is a type of anchor used on some sea beds where the spike that goes in has a membrane which is inflated to avoid displacement of sand on top of the anchor itself.

849842.  Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:15 pm Reply with quote

This may help:

Spud McLaren
849854.  Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:06 pm Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
This may help:
No - it won't open for me.

Wiki holds that the etymology of inflation (in this sense) is as follows:

From Middle English, from Latin īnflātiō (“expansion", "blowing up”), from īnfātus [sic], the perfect passive participle of īnflō (“blow into", "expand”), from in (“into”) + flō (“blow”).

- which to my mind, don't help us none. Why can't you blow fluids into a balloon, tyre, etc, to inflate it, as well as blowing a gas?

Looking a bit further, I find this article, which seems to suggest that the term inflate relates solely to gasses. So, assuming this to be correct, what would be a better term meaning to cause to distend by injection of fluid?

I realise that there is an awful lot of scope for double entendre and innuendo in this post; but you'll all just have to put up with it.

849856.  Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:18 pm Reply with quote

The link from Flash mentions a membrane and spike, I've got to wonder if I'd read the same thing too :)

849903.  Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:22 am Reply with quote


"Why can't you blow fluids into a balloon, tyre, etc, to inflate it, as well as blowing a gas?" You can, but it is my understanding of the word "inflate" that to expand something like a balloon, tyre, bladder, etc. using a gas is to inflate, if you use a fluid then you move into Hydraulic territory. Which also answers your next point.

"Looking a bit further, I find this article, which seems to suggest that the term inflate relates solely to gasses. So, assuming this to be correct, what would be a better term meaning to cause to distend by injection of fluid?"

Now I am not 100% it is Hydraulics only that I do believe it is not inflation.

Thankyou for your link Flash, it is a technical article about the anchor and they do refer to the anchor being inflated many times, but just because an engineer misuses a word that does not make it correct. My original point still stands. You cannot inflate something with a fluid only a gas.

849909.  Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:01 am Reply with quote

Minor quibble: a gas is a fluid but not a liquid (which is also a fluid)

Expanding a vessel with a liquid could maybe be engorged, probably not the most suitable word but way more fun than inflated. Hydraulic rams are extended or retracted but I think really the membrane in the anchor is simply expanded by hydraulic pressure.


A closer look at the anchor shows
ii. The anchor was filled with water, de-aired and
attached to the beam so that it was centered in
the container at the desired embedment depth.
iii. Then, the container was filled in 30cm lifts with
C.S. sand until the desired embedment was
achieved. The sand was “rained" into place from
a sieve that was positioned 130cm above the
sand surface at all times. The in place density of
each lift was measured using small density pots.
iv. After placing the sand, the position beam was
removed and a reaction beam was installed and
fixed to the container.
v. The pullout motor, screw jack, and load cell were
installed in series to the reaction frame and
connected to the anchor top.
vi. The inflation pressure was applied in steps using
the pneumatic pump.

So, the anchor is filled with water and pressurised with air to expand it, bit fiddly this one.

852323.  Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:16 am Reply with quote

If I recall, the original question was "what would an inflatable anchor be used for?"

If the object in question is usually called an "inflatable anchor", then the question's right even if the terminology of the anchor name is wrong. It's like quibbling over "how many arms does a starfish have" by pointing out a starfish isn't a fish.

Personally, I prefer the suggestion that an inflatable anchor is used to prevent submarines going too deep.

886467.  Thu Feb 16, 2012 4:01 pm Reply with quote

I have to say that I agree with RLDavies, in that I too think the answer of "preventing a submarine going too deep" is a good one.

Sadurian Mike
886594.  Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:47 am Reply with quote

The link provided by Flash show an anchor that uses an inflated membrane.

The wording on that piece is:
The portion of the anchor rod that was covered by the membrane had sixteen 3mm diameter holes drilled in it and the membrane was inflated by pumping fluid through the anchor rod and out of the holes. A small de-airing valve was placed at the end of the anchor rod to remove air.

Now that clearly describes inflation through fluids (I assume a liquid, but may be wrong).

The paper is from the Geotechnical Research Centre, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Western Ontario.

Personally, I would assume that they know enough to know whether or not using fluid is inflating. After all, engineers are the ones who pretty much define such terms in the technical sense.

This is where a dictionary shows its limitations. It also defines 'tank' as

OED wrote:
2. a heavy armoured fighting vehicle carrying guns and moving on a continuous articulated metal track.

This is incorrect in so much as the definition would also cover tank destroyers, self-propelled artillery, APCs, etc etc. For military purposes the definition is far more narrow than that given by the OED, and I dare say that the same is true for the engineering use of the word 'inflate'.

Spud McLaren
886739.  Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:09 pm Reply with quote

inflate (v.)
early 15c., "cause to swell," from L. inflatus, pp. of inflare "to blow into, inflate" (see inflation). Economics sense from 1844. In some senses a back formation from inflation. Related: Inflatable; inflated; inflating.
Online Etymology Dictionary

inflation (plural inflations)
An act, instance of, or state of expansion or increase in size, especially by injection of a gas. [bold mine]

Especially - not exclusively.


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