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English for Science & Nature Glossary of Terms - P

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paper - thin sheet of material made of cellulose pulp, derived mainly from wood, but also from rags and certain grasses, and processed into flexible leaves or rolls. Used primarily for writing, printing, drawing, wrapping, and covering walls.

paper mills - mills (factories) that produce paper from wood pulp.

paper products - materials such as paper and cardboard, produced from trees.

particulate - of or relating to minute discrete particles; a particulate substance.

particulate pollution - pollution made up of small liquid or solid particles suspended in the atmosphere or water supply.

passive solar - using or capturing solar energy (usually to heat water) without any external power.

pelagic species - fish that live at or near the water's surface. Examples of large pelagic species include swordfish, tuna, and many species of sharks. Small pelagics include anchovies and sardines.

pesticides - chemical agents used to destroy pests.

plastics - durable and flexible synthetic-based products, some of which are difficult to recycle and pose problems with toxic properties, especially PVC plastic.

plutonium - a heavy, radioactive, man-made, metallic element (atomic number 94) used in the production of nuclear energy and the explosion of nuclear weapons; its most important isotope is fissile plutonium-239, produced by neutron irradiation of uranium-238.

PM10 - particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter.

poison - a chemical that adversely affects health by causing injury, illness, or death.

polluted runoff - precipitation that captures pollution from agricultural lands, urban streets, parking lots and suburban lawns, and transports it to rivers, lakes or oceans.

pollution prevention - techniques that eliminate waste prior to treatment, such as by changing ingredients in a chemical reaction.

population - (1) the whole number of inhabitants in a country, region or area; (2) a set of individuals having a quality or characteristic in common.

post consumer waste - waste collected after the consumer has used and disposed of it (e.g., the wrapper from an eaten candy bar).

power plants - facilities (plants) that produce energy.

public health - the health or physical well-being of a whole community.

public land (public estate) - land owned in common by all, represented by the government (town, county, state, or federal).

public transportation - various forms of shared-ride services, including buses, vans, trolleys, and subways, which are intended for conveying the public.

pulp - raw material made from trees used in producing paper products.