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Here are the definitions of “ballast” across different contexts:

  1. Ship Ballast: Ballast refers to any solid or liquid weight placed in a ship to regulate its stability, increase draft (the depth of a ship’s keel below the waterline), or alter its trim (the balance of a ship in the water). This can include materials like gravel, stone, or metal that are added or removed as needed depending on the ship’s cargo load or operational conditions.
  2. Road or Railway Ballast: In road or railway construction, ballast is a layer of broken stones, gravel, or other coarse materials placed above the formation level. Its primary purpose is to provide a stable foundation for the road metal (paving material) or the permanent way (rail tracks). Ballast helps distribute the load of the tracks or road evenly, facilitates drainage, and prevents the growth of vegetation.
  3. Concrete Aggregate: In construction, ballast can also refer to sandy gravel used as a coarse aggregate in making concrete. This type of ballast is essential for providing strength and stability to concrete structures by filling the voids and providing support to the cement matrix.
  4. Racing Ballast: In motorsports, ballast is strategically added to a vehicle to meet minimum weight requirements or to optimize its handling characteristics. This weight can be placed in different locations within the vehicle to adjust its center of gravity, improve traction, balance, and overall performance on the track. By adjusting the distribution of ballast, teams can fine-tune the car’s behavior to suit different race conditions and driver preferences.
  5. This use of ballast in racing allows teams to achieve better balance and control over the vehicle’s dynamics, ensuring competitive performance while complying with regulatory weight rules.

These definitions highlight the diverse applications of ballast across maritime, transportation, and construction industries, where its role is crucial for stability, load distribution, and structural integrity.

See Related Terms:

  • Dry ballast
  • Lead ballast
  • Liquid ballast
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