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Tue, 02 Aug 2022 16:00:00 -0500 en text/html Killexams : Broken Promises Of The Wankel Engine

Through the history of internal combustion engines, there has been plenty of evolution, but few revolutions. Talk of radically different designs always leads to a single name – Wankel. The Wankel rotary engine, most notably used in automobiles by Mazda, has been around since the late 1950’s. The Wankel rotary is an example of a design which makes sense on paper. However, practical problems cause it to underperform in the real world.

Invention and History

felixwankelFelix Wankel’s engine was conceived during a dream. In it, 17-year-old Felix was driving his car to a concert. When he arrived, he bragged to his friends that his car used a new type of engine – half turbine, half reciprocating. “It is my invention!” he told his friends. Upon waking up, Wankel became dedicated to building his engine. Though he never received a formal degree (or a driver’s license), Wankel was a gifted engineer.

Young Wankel’s checkered history includes membership in several anti-semitic groups in the 1920’s. He was also involved with the founding of the Nazi party. His conflicting views on the direction of the party lead to his arrest in 1933. Eventually released through action of Hitler himself, Wankel joined the SS in 1940. The end of the war saw Wankel spending several months in a French prison for his wartime involvement.

Work on the engine resumed in 1951 with funding from NSU Motorenwerke AG. The first working prototype was produced in 1957. Dubbed the DKM 54, this engine had a rotor and housing which rotated on separate axes. The engine was capable of great rotational speeds, up to 17,000 RPM. Maintenance was a problem though. The entire engine had to be torn down just to replace the spark plugs.


Unknown to Wankel, Hanns Dieter Paschke was called in to build a simplified version. His prototype was called the KKM 57P. This much simpler design utilized a stationary housing. It pleased everyone except Wankel who remarked, “You’ve turned my race horse into a plow mare.” The KKM design was quickly adopted and licensed. This engine is the basis of the modern “Wankel” rotary engine.

Engine operation

Piston powered engines, chiefly the Otto and Diesel cycle, are current kings of the internal combustion mountain. Piston powered engines turn reciprocating energy (the up and down motion of the pistons) into rotational energy. Wankel flies in the face of all this. A simplified Wankel engine has only two moving parts: the rotor, and the eccentric shaft.

CC-BY-SA-3.0 by Y_tambe via Wikimedia Common

The rotor is a triangle shape, but the sides bow out. Many rotors are also use cupped faces to increase combustion chamber volume. The rotor rotates within a roughly oval epitrochoid-shaped housing. The rotor doesn’t just spin, it orbits on an eccentric shaft which is analogous to the crankshaft of a piston powered engine. A fixed gear mounted to the engine case meshes with a ring gear on the rotor. The gear ensures that the rotor rotates ⅓ turn for every 1 turn of the eccentric shaft.

The points (or apexes) of the rotor create three chambers inside the housing. These chambers move with the rotation of the rotor. Fuel and air are pulled in through the intake port, compressed against the narrow side of the housing, ignited by the spark plugs. The expanding gasses push the rotor through the power stroke until the apex passes the exhaust port, which allows the spent gasses to escape.

The animation shows the process for one face. The genius of the Wankel engine is that the process is happening for all three faces in parallel. In effect, the engine has pipelined the combustion process. It would be fair to say that a single rotor Wankel engine is analogous to a three cylinder piston engine.

Commercial research and development

gmRotaryThere were numerous licensees for the Wankel engine. Just about every major manufacturer spent time researching the concept. GM created a two rotor prototype. Rolls Royce created a two stage model with low and high pressure rotors. A few companies put the Wankel into production. Curtis Wright built airplane engines, Sachs produced small air-cooled engines for everything from chain saws to snowmobiles. Norton created several motorcycles using the design. However, the only major manufacturer still working on Wankel engines for cars is Mazda. The RX series of sports cars has been synonymous with Wankel rotary engines for decades. The last model was the RX-8, discontinued in 2011. Mazda has not given up on the Wankel though, with concept cars such as the RX-Vision as proof of their continued research.

Reality sets in

So why aren’t we all driving Wankel-powered cars? The problem lies in the pitfalls of the design.

Fuel Economy: The Wankel’s combustion chamber is long, thin, and moves with the rotor. This causes a slow fuel burn. Engines try to combat this by using twin (leading and trailing) spark plugs. Even with the two plugs, combustion is often incomplete, leading to raw fuel being dumped out the exhaust port. The small 1.3 liter 232 horsepower two rotor engine in the 2011 Mazda RX-8 gets worse fuel economy (16 city / 23 highway) than the 6.2 liter 455 horsepower V8 engine used in the 2015 Corvette Stingray (17 city / 29 highway).

Emissions: The unburnt fuel, along with burned oil (described below) both result in terrible emissions from Wankel engines. The emissions problems are one of several reasons the RX-8 was pulled from production.

wankel-inside-kart-engineSealing: Rotors use seals on the faces, seals around the central port, and most importantly apex seals. The apex seal rides the wall of the housing, sealing each of the three chambers formed by the rotor. The apex seals are under extreme thermal and pressure stresses as they travel around the engine housing. Failing apex seals are the primary cause of rotary engines going down for overhaul. YouTube is littered with videos showing the rotary overhaul process.

Much like piston rings, these seals have to be lubricated. However, due to the design of the rotary engine, there is no way to keep the oil lubricating the seals out of the combustion chamber. Mazda engines include an injector pump which pushes small amounts of oil right into the engine housing, as well as into the air intake. This oil is eventually burned, causing increased carbon and emissions over the life of the engines.

Overhaul interval: Rotary engines in general don’t last as long as piston powered engines. As explained eloquently by Regular Car Reviews, the primary problem is with the seals. Browsing Mazda and rotary forums shows people rebuilding somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 miles. However, this all must be taken with a grain of salt. The RX-7 and 8 are after all, sports cars. While some people treat them gingerly, many people drive these cars hard. Aftermarket performance parts like turbochargers will also negatively impact engine reliability.

787The Wankel rotary story isn’t completely bleak. There are some advantages to rotary engines. As mentioned above, rotary engines create more power (albeit at lower torque) than equivalent piston powered engines. They also are more reliable in the short term. With fewer moving parts, there is simply less to break. Rotary engines also tend to fail gracefully. With failing apex seals, rotary engines lose power, but will still get you home. Piston powered engines tend to fail catastrophically, blowing holes into engine blocks, spraying oil and parts all over the place. Rotary engines do well on the racetrack, that is, when they are allowed. Many racing classes (notably F1) have banned rotary engines. Of those allowed, the most notable is the Mazda 787B, which won the 1991 24 hours of Le Mans race.

What does the future hold for the Wankel rotary engine? Most likely more of the same. Mazda will continue to support the engine, and it will continue to be used in some niche fields. However, it would take a major advancement in materials and design to correct all the issues that have thus far relegated the Wankel engine to a footnote in the history of internal combustion.

Fri, 05 Aug 2022 12:00:00 -0500 Adam Fabio en-US text/html
Killexams : New Reading, Math Scores Dubbed “Crisis”

Laura Glesby Photo

Upping her game after school: Serenity Smith with tutor Charlene Cua at New Haven Reads.


Newly released numbers show up to 84 percent of third-graders studying below grade level and district-wide numbers that officials called an ​emergency” — while disagreeing about who should fix it and how.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Ivelise Velazquez presented the board with an early analysis of the district’s English, math, and science assessment data at its regular Monday Zoom meeting. 

Velazquez cautioned that the preliminary data won’t show growth metrics and state-wide trend data. 

Click here to view the presentation.

District leadership says the primary solution to the academic decline is a need for a village approach to educating students in and outside the classroom. Educators and community members disagreed, arguing that the solution is a funded evidence-based shift in the district’s curricula. 

Data from the Smarter Balance state assessment for math and English Language Arts (ELA) showed 3rd through 8th grade results. This year’s assessment, unlike last year’s, was administered only in person.

Of about 8,000 students this year, 23 percent were on grade in ELA, and 12 percent were on grade level in math.

This year’s numbers are lower than those of previous pre-pandemic years like 2019, when 34 percent of students were at grade level for ELA and 22.5 percent for math. 

The district’s third-grade students had the highest percentage of students performing below grade level for ELA, with 84 percent of students underperforming for their grade. 

The summative data also showed that for grades 3 through 8, more than half of students’ overall performance was below grade level. 

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) state assessment tested 5th, 8th, and 11th grade students and was presented alongside pre-pandemic state and district data from 2019. This year’s numbers show a 6.2 percent drop (26.6 percent to 20.4 percent) from the district’s 2019 data. 

The results revealed declines in math and studying scores across the board from before the pandemic, with large majorities of students performing below grade level, but with some numbers rising from a year ago and some differences notable from school to school.

In reaction to the presentation, board members Yesenia Rivera, Matt Wilcox, and OrLando Yarborough asked what the districts’s plan is for the future to turn things around. 

This looks really really bad,” Rivera said. 

Velazquez said the district is looking to analyze every grade level’s curriculum and provide educators with the ​capacity to increase student growth.”

Student representative Dave Cruz Bustamante declared the district’s academic plunge an emergency and crisis. 

Even I in high school, I see a lot of my peers still struggle with studying and writing basic words,” he said. 

Velazquez confirmed that the district will be adopting new structured literacy materials to ​build the capacity across the early grades.” 

2022 K-3 DIBELS data.


Student rep Dave Cruz Bustamante: Even high schoolers "struggle with basic words."

The districts also administered the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) test to K‑3 students. The DIBELS test measures students’ studying fluency, processing speed, and phonological awareness.

The district’s DIBELS data showed steady improvements throughout the year; however, more than half of K‑3 students continue to read below grade level. 

Kindergarten numbers improved from 14 percent in the fall to 19 percent in the winter to 33 percent studying at benchmark level in the spring. First grade numbers started at 25 percent then increased to 30 percent in the winter and finished the highest of all the grades at 37 percent this spring. Second grade benchmark scores began at 29 percent then 30 percent then finished the year at 33 percent. And third grade scores began at 35 percent declined to 28 percent in the winter and finished at 33 percent in the spring. 

Velazquez added that ​there’s a lot more data to look at” and reported that the district’s school-by-school breakdown for this years DIBELS assessment has schools with numbers as low as 12.2 percent studying at grade level and some as high as 79 percent at grade level. 

When you look at these averages it’s not flat across the district. There are schools using current curriculum and current materials that again are successful at 79 percent,” Velazquez said. ​This year we’ll be looking at that to see what are the different ways that teachers are teaching studying across the districts. We’ll also be taking some very important steps to ensure that teachers know how to teach reading.” 

That has been a focus of controversy: Claiming that the old way of teaching doesn’t need to be overhauled, officials including the superintendent and several board members have pushed back against a new state requirement that all schools move from ​balanced” to more phonics-based ​structured” literacy in the face of new brain research on how kids learn to read.

Right now we all know that phonics instruction is an area that we want to make sure teachers know how to teach,” Velazquez said. ​It’s a tall order, because it’s 28 schools, and it needs to happen, and that’s going to be our number one focus.” 

Board Secretary Edward Joyner said teaching students is a community effort. He spoke of eight learning variables that influence student learning that require parents, educators, and the community to educate students rather than ​passing the problem on to teachers.” The variables included student readiness and attendance, intervention supports, pedagogical leadership, and adequate material. 

Everybody has a role to play,” Joyner said. ​It’s almost like having a chorus. We need to have everybody singing in tune, showing up to rehearsal.”

In order to lift this heavy load everybody has to participate,” Joyner said. ​We’re trying to lay the blame for every social problem at the foot of institutions and we don’t talk about individual and group responsibility.” 

Others put the blame on district leadership and approach.

This data is a five-alarm fire. An expected and entirely preventable one,” said Fair Haven Alder Sarah Miller, a member of the Board of Alders Education Committee. ​While districts with similar resources and demographics pivot to more effective teaching methods and see their literacy outcomes begin to improve, NHPS barrels ahead — including in summer school as we speak — with methods that do not meet the learning needs of the majority of our kids.”

2022 High School Common Assessment data.

12% At Grade Level In Math

The high school Common Assessment data shows proficient ELA scores increasing from 26 percent for 9th and 10th graders and 33 percent for 11th and 12th graders to 43.5 percent (9th and 10th) and 58.6 percent (11th and 12th) by the spring. However, Velazquez pointed out a drastic drop in the number of tests administered declining from 2,102 and 1,853 in the fall to 593 and 794 in the spring. 

We need to talk about how assessments, academics are also tied to chronic absenteeism and full implementation curriculum,” Velazquez said. 

2022 iReady Math Assessment data.

Locally administered math tests, including iReady and IX,L showed slight improvements for the first full year of implementation of the new programs. The ​iReady” program assesses K‑5 students and IXL test 6 – 12th. 

iReady saw an improvement from 4 percent of students at grade level in the fall to 20 percent in the spring. That leaves 80 percent of students at least one grade level behind and some three or more levels behind. 

Velazquez said the district is considering changing from IXL to a new 6th-12th grade math program to better assess students’ mathematical reasoning. 

"This Is An Emergency"

Monday's Board of Ed meeting.

Board member Darnell Goldson agreed with Joyner and said the board, parents, and district leaders all have to take responsibility for the data. 

It’s embarrassing to see where we are in this city with education and I take personal responsibility for being on this board and mpt being able to move the needle,” he said. ​And we all should.” 

New Haven Public school system is like a big dead carcass with all these people coming and organizations and people coming to feed on it,” he said. ​We have these test, more test, and more test to tell us what the problem is but we don’t have a solution next to that problem.” 

Superintendent Iline Tracey said studying comprehension is an important measure that the district wants to do more of with student assessments in the future. She added that the district has students speaking 69 languages, and this too contributes to the difficulty of teaching studying for educators. 

Board members and the community requested that central office share its plans and steps in the near future with the board and the community to build trust and offer transparency. 

Board member Abie Benitez suggested the district identify how a handful of ​master” teachers at some schools have been successful using the district curriculum and have them train newer teachers.

Justin Elicker requested to see the trends of neighboring school districts to understand ​how much of it is covid that impacted us versus how much of it is things that we need to be doing differently.”

Maya McFadden Photo

Teacher/parent Sarah Levine testifies at Alder education committee April hearing.

After the Monday meeting, K‑4 studying specialist at Barnard School Sarah Levine weighed the pros and cons of the board’s discussion after the presentation. She described it as a relief that the board ​finally acknowledged we’re in an emergency situation” though said she was left feeling frustrated after the presentation because no plan was shared about moving forward.

It’s worse than I would have expected,” she said. ​Today I heard a lot of excuses. I didn’t hear ​Here’s where we are and here’s our specific plan to move forward.’ ”

Increased parent involvement and community outreach would be great additions to improving the district, she said, but what’s most needed is ample support for teachers to do their job educating students. ​Not all parents are accessible, but we can’t blame the kid for that,” she said. 

She said the district’s dismal scores over the years, dating back to before the pandemic, have put a pressure on teachers to be accountable for teaching and analyzing data to reform a curriculum that doesn’t work. 

But the board and the central office made excuses. I don’t know why they’re not being held accountable the same way teachers are,” she said. ​Teachers are doing what they’re told to do and it’s not working.”

New Haven Reads Tackles "Emergency"

Pushing for change: State Sen. Gary Winfield, at right, at New Haven Reads with Fiona Bradford.

Some New Haven students are receiving literacy instruction both in and out of school, from a combination of the balanced and structured methods.

Leaning over her worksheet in a cozy nook on Friday afternoon, rising fourth grader Serenity Smith brainstormed and sounded out words ending in ​ank” with help from her New Haven Reads tutor, Charlene Cua: bank, sank, tank…

While Smith attends East Rock Community Magnet School by day, she spends three days each week during the school year learning through a structured literacy model in New Haven Reads’ afterschool RISE program.

At the Bristol Street studying hub, Smith learns to break words down into combinations of sounds and identify patterns. 

Reading is fun,” Smith said of the New Haven Reads program. ​The teachers are nice, kind, and funny.” Her favorite book she’s read so far is Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham.
Gov. Ned Lamont and State Sen. Gary Winfield visited the organization’s Bristol Street headquarters on Friday to see the studying programs in action.

New Haven Reads was ​a lifeline for our kids who weren’t getting enough from our schools,” said Winfield, a strong proponent of structured literacy. Without a focus on breaking down words into fundamental parts, Winfield argued, ​there are going to be a lot of children who don’t know how to read.”

A 2020 – 2021 pilot of the RISE program saw students Improve by 40 percent in studying test scores from October to May.

Mon, 25 Jul 2022 23:40:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : Ivy Tech offering a grant-funded Certified Clinical Medical Assistant training course

BLOOMINGTON — Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus is offering a 12-week Certified Medical Assistant (CCMA) training course at no cost for eligible students that starts Aug. 23. Grant funding with the state’s Next Level Jobs Workforce Ready Grant covers costs for qualified participants. 

The CCMA course is a short-term, non-credit workforce training opportunity that quickly prepares graduates to qualify for local, high-demand jobs in the field. Classes are held in the evenings from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from Aug. 23 to Nov. 10, with a one-week break.

For individuals who may not qualify for funding, the cost of the course is $2,599 and includes course materials, instruction, and the certification test to qualify for employment.

For questions or to get registered, contact Ivy Tech Bloomington’s workforce training office at 812-330-6042 or For more information about short-term, non-credit training opportunities, visit

Ivy Tech Community College offers more than 70 career and four-year transfer programs, with courses that start multiple times per year for quicker entry and graduation.

Thu, 28 Jul 2022 02:29:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : DGCA begins 2-month special audit of airlines following technical malfunction incidents
  • There have been many technical malfunction incidents in Indian carriers' planes during last 45 days
  • The focus of the aforementioned special audit will be facilities like hangars and stores
  • Equipment being used by airline personnel, airlines' quality assurance system will also be checked

DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) has begun a two-month long special audit of airlines. The development comes after the aviation regulator's spot checks earlier this month found that insufficient and unqualified engineering personnel are certifying carriers' planes before their departure. 

The spot checks were conducted as there have been many technical malfunction incidents in Indian carriers' planes during the last 45 days.

The focus of the aforementioned special audit will be facilities like hangars and stores, equipment being used by airline personnel, airlines' quality assurance system, aircraft grounded due to lack of spare parts and airlines' maintenance control centre, a DGCA order dated July 18 stated.

The special audit will also focus on the availability of "sufficient, suitably qualified and experienced" manpower, duty time limitations, availability of current maintenance data for all types of aircraft, adequacy of aircraft turn-around time during transit and "multiple MEL releases", as per the order, which has been accessed by PTI.

"MEL (minimum equipment list) releases" means an aircraft is allowed to fly with certain inoperative equipment or instruments for a specific period of time until the repairs are done.

There have been reports of increased engineering-related occurrences in scheduled airlines in exact times," the order mentioned.

The order said the special audit of all scheduled airlines is starting from July 19 in order to ensure that they are adhering to the "laid down standards".

The DGCA officials said the special audit will be completed within the next two months.

After conducting spot checks, the regulator had last week revealed its findings. The spot checks found that insufficient and unqualified engineering personnel are certifying planes of various carriers before their departure.

Before each departure, an aircraft is checked and certified by an aircraft maintenance engineer (AME). 

The spot checks found that the AME teams of airlines are improperly identifying the "cause of a reported defect", the DGCA said.

They also found that there has been an "increasing trend of MEL (minimum equipment list) releases" of aircraft, it noted.

"It is also seen that airlines are resorting to frequent one-off authorisation to Category A certifying staff at transit stations which is not in line with existing regulatory provisions," it mentioned.

The engineering head of one of the Indian airlines explained that a Category A engineer is called a 'limited scope engineer', and he or she is allowed to certify and release planes for departures only when the aircraft does not have any complex defect.

Therefore, the DGCA last week issued guidelines for airlines, asking them to deploy sufficient and qualified AME personnel, and directing them to comply by July 28.

There have been many technical malfunction incidents in Indian carriers' planes during the last 45 days.

Air India's Dubai-Kochi flight was diverted to Mumbai on July 21 after the pilot-in-command reported a loss in cabin pressure. On July 21, Go First's Mumbai-Leh and Srinagar-Delhi flights faced engine snags. 

A Go First flight heading from Delhi to Guwahati on July 20 was diverted to Jaipur after the A320neo aircraft's windshield cracked mid-air.

On July 17, IndiGo's Sharjah-Hyderabad flight was diverted to Karachi as a precautionary measure after pilots observed a defect in one engine.

On the night of July 16, the Calicut-Dubai flight of the Air India Express was diverted to Muscat after a burning smell was observed in the cabin mid-air. 

A live bird was found in the cockpit of the Air India Express Bahrain-Kochi flight on July 15.

SpiceJet is also under the scanner. On July 6, the DGCA issued a show-cause notice to SpiceJet following at least eight incidents of technical malfunction in its aircraft since June 19.

(With inputs from PTI)

Also Read | Air India Dubai-Cochin flight diverted to Mumbai due to low pressure; DGCA grounds plane, crew

Latest India News

Sat, 23 Jul 2022 18:03:00 -0500 en text/html
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