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floating platform of wood, cork, or air-inflated rubber for conveying goods or people. Originally, several logs, bound together by vines, strips of animal skin, and later rope, formed a flat surface upon which goods and people could move across bodies of water. From prehistoric times to the 19th cent. rafting was an important means of transportation. Rafts were indispensable in the frontier period of American history; on rivers such as the Ohio and Mississippi they were used to convey settlers and transport supplies. Large rafts are still used occasionally on the Pacific coast to float lumber along the coastline. In recent times life rafts have come to replace lifeboats on many vessels. Because they are more easily handled and cannot capsize or crash in launching, life rafts can merely be thrown over the side of a ship or permitted to slide down into the water. They contain distress signals and other emergency paraphernalia to sustain the lives of persons awaiting rescue.



(1) A transport unit composed of bundles of logs that is used for timber flotation. Usually rafts are towed by a vessel; more rarely they float with the current of the river. The shape of river and lake rafts is usually rectangular, and their volume may be as much as 27,000 cu m. Seagoing rafts are cigar-shaped, and their volume may exceed 1,500 cu m.

(2) A platform made up of several connected floating objects, on top of which a plank flooring is usually laid. People and cargo are transported over water on rafts. The rafts are propelled by poles, oars, or sails. For making the rafts, logs, reed bundles, floats from hollow objects (barrels or boxes), or inflated containers are used.

(3) A means for rescuing people; part of the rescue equipment of a vessel or aircraft.


A quantity of timber or lumber secured together by means of ropes, chains, or rods and used for transportation by floating.
A rock fragment caught up in a magma and drifting freely, more or less vertically.
An accumulation or jam of floating logs, driftwood, dislodged trees, or other debris, formed naturally in a stream by caving of the banks.


a buoyant platform of logs, planks, etc., used as a vessel or moored platform


(Resource Area For Teaching, San Jose, CA, www.raft.net) A non-profit organization that offers materials and its Silicon Valley facility to help K-12 kids learn science, math, technology and art with hands-on activities. RAFT recycles surplus and used equipment as well as scrap materials and routinely sends trucks to local donors for pickup. See e-cycling.
References in periodicals archive ?
Both alcohol and viral infections influence the functions of lipid rafts and the functional proteins they contain, which may exacerbate disease progression.
This You Sank My Lipid Rafts activity proved to be successful for both the instructor and students.
2009) Lipid rafts enriched in phosphatidylglucoside direct astroglial differentiation by regulating tyrosine kinase activity of epidermal growth factor receptors.
2005) Prion protein recruits its neuronal receptor NCAM to lipid rafts to activate p59fyn and to enhance neurite outgrowth.
Lipid rafts, the sarcoplasmic reticulum and uterine calcium signalling: An integrated approach.
Lipid rafts control signaling of type-1 cannabinoid receptors in neuronal cells.
Although many of the mechanisms that govern membrane organization are increasingly well understood, such as lipid rafts or protein-anchoring to the cortical cytoskeleton, these mechanisms are not sufficiently specific to account for the partitioning of closely homologous proteins in separate membrane domains.
reported that MVP was rapidly recruited to lipid rafts when human lung epithelial cells were infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa?
Perhaps any disruption or change in the cholesterol-sphingomyelin ratio or sterol content by the addition of phytosterols may influence the activities of lipid rafts and thus expression of and signaling through Fas receptors.
The book has been reorganized and updated, and other new features include chapter summaries, more problems, an associated website, and new topics such as lipid rafts, noncoding RNAs, and hormonal controls governing eating behavior.