Answer to Question #162324 in History for Sarah Dakmak

Question #162324

some canals tried to use an aqueduct or locks to get up and down hills. Briefly explain how locks were used to solve the problem of going up and down hills.

Expert's answer

Most rivers are unnavigable because they contain shallow rocky areas and rapids with fast-flowing water. Locks are one of the fascinating pieces of engineering that allow boats to travel downhill or uphill. In a canal, the locks assist in slowing down the flow of water both at the bottom and top of a canal (Stefoff, 2018). Furthermore, in order to get the boas down or up to the required elevation, the locks assist in floating them in a tab of water.

The “locking down” and "locking down" process

During the “locking down” process, the gates located on the upstream side of the locks are easily swung open because the level of the water inside the lock is the same as that on the downstream side. Next, the cranks are turned to open the gates so as to allow the boat to float into the locks. After that, the upper gates are closed before opening the valves located on the downstream side of the locks.  Water from the locks is then allowed to flow out. As the water continues to flow out, the boat also floats down. After ensuring that the water level in the locks matches with that on the downstream side, the gets are opened to allow the boat to move out.

On the other hand, during the “locking up” process, the same procedure is followed. The only difference is that the valves located on the downstream side of the locks are used to allow water to flow into the locks. When the level of the water on the downstream side matches with that on the upstream side, the boat is allowed to move upstream (Stefoff, 2018). The whole process is repeated again and again to allow boats into or out of the canal.


Stefoff, R. (2018). Building the Erie Canal. New York: Cavendish Square Publishing.

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