Mill race

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Mill Race, Redbournbury Mill, River Ver, near St Albans. Mill Race, Redbournbury Mill - geograph.org.uk - 1561163.jpg
Mill Race, Redbournbury Mill, River Ver, near St Albans.

A mill race, millrace or millrun, [1] mill lade (Scotland) or mill leat (Southwest England) is the current of water that turns a water wheel, or the channel (sluice) conducting water to or from a water wheel. Compared with the broad waters of a mill pond, the narrow current is swift and powerful. The race leading to the water wheel on a wide stream or mill pond is called the head race (or headrace [2] ), and the race leading away from the wheel is called the tail race [3] (or tailrace [2] ).

Contents

A mill race has many geographically specific names, such as leat, [4] lade, flume, goit, penstock. These words all have more precise definitions and meanings will differ elsewhere. The original undershot waterwheel, described by Vitruvius, was a 'run of the river wheel' placed so a fast flowing stream would press against and turn the bottom of a bucketed wheel. [5] In the first meaning of the term, the millrace was the stream; in the sense of the word, there was no separate channel, so no race.

As technology advanced, the stream was dammed by a weir. This increased the head of water. Behind the weir was the millpond, or lodge. The water was channelled to the waterwheel by a sluice or millrace- this was the head race. From the waterwheel, the water was channelled back to the course of the stream by a sluice known as the tail race. When the tail race from one mill led to another mill where it acted as the head race this was known as the mid race. The level of water in the millrace could be controlled by a series of sluice gates. [5]

See also

Related Research Articles

Leat

A leat is the name, common in the south and west of England and in Wales, for an artificial watercourse or aqueduct dug into the ground, especially one supplying water to a watermill or its mill pond. Other common uses for leats include delivery of water for hydraulic mining and mineral concentration, for irrigation, to serve a dye works or other industrial plant, and provision of drinking water to a farm or household or as a catchment cut-off to improve the yield of a reservoir.

Watermill Structure that uses a water wheel or turbine

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Water wheel Machine for converting the energy of flowing or falling water into useful forms of power

A water wheel is a machine for converting the energy of flowing or falling water into useful forms of power, often in a watermill. A water wheel consists of a wheel, with a number of blades or buckets arranged on the outside rim forming the driving car.

Weir

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Sluice A water channel controlled at its head by a gate

A sluice is a water channel controlled at its head by a gate. A mill race, leet, flume, penstock or lade is a sluice channelling water toward a water mill. The terms sluice, sluice gate, knife gate, and slide gate are used interchangeably in the water and wastewater control industry.

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Flume Human-made channel for water

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References

  1. "Millrace". World English Dictionary (10th ed.). HarperCollins. Retrieved 7 September 2013. millrace or millrun (ˈmɪlˌreɪs)— n; 1. the current of water that turns a millwheel.  2. the channel for this water.
  2. 1 2 Dictionary.com, word definition
  3. Chamber's Twentieth Century Dictionary, 1968, p=674
  4. "Leat". World English Dictionary (10th ed.). HarperCollins. Retrieved 7 September 2013. leat (liːt) — n ( Brit ) 1. a trench or ditch that conveys water to a mill wheel.   [Old English -gelǣt (as in wætergelǣt water channel), from let 1 ]
  5. 1 2 Yorke, Stan (2005). The Industrial Revolution explained. Newbury, Berks: Countryside Books. pp. 20–31. ISBN   978 1 85306 935 2.