Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 101

Search results for: Johan Sebastián Lopera Valle

11 Preparedness and Control of Mosquito-Borne Diseases: Experiences from Northwestern Italy

Authors: Federica Verna, Alessandra Pautasso, Maria Caramelli, Cristiana Maurella, Walter Mignone, Cristina Casalone


Mosquito-Borne Diseases (MBDs) are dangerously increasing in prevalence, geographical distribution and severity, representing an emerging threat for both humans and animals. Interaction between multiple disciplines is needed for an effective early warning, surveillance and control of MBDs, according to the One Health concept. This work reports the integrated surveillance system enforced by IZSPLV in Piedmont, Liguria and Valle d’Aosta regions (Northwestern Italy) in order to control MDBs spread. Veterinary services and local human health authority are involved in an information network, to connect the surveillance of human clinical cases with entomological surveillance and veterinary monitoring in order to implement control measures in case of outbreak. A systematic entomological surveillance is carried out during the vector season using mosquitoes traps located in sites selected according to risk factors. Collected mosquitoes are counted, identified to species level by morphological standard classification keys and pooled by collection site, date and species with a maximum of 100 individuals. Pools are analyzed, after RNA extraction, by Real Time RT-PCR distinctive for West Nile Virus (WNV) Lineage 1 and Lineage 2, Real Time RT-PCR USUTU virus (USUV) and a traditional flavivirus End-point RT-PCR. Positive pools are sequenced and the related sequences employed to perform a basic local alignment search tool (BLAST) in the GenBank library. Positive samples are sent to the National Reference Centre for Animal Exotic Diseases (CESME, Teramo) for confirmation. With particular reference to WNV, after the confirmation, as provided by national legislation, control measures involving both local veterinary and human health services are activated: equine sera are randomly sampled within a 4 km radius from the positive collection sites and tested with ELISA kit and WNV NAT screening of blood donors is introduced. This surveillance network allowed to detect since 2011 USUV circulation in this area of Italy. WNV was detected in Piedmont and Liguria for the first time in 2014 in mosquitoes. During the 2015 vector season, we observed the expansion of its activity in Piedmont. The virus was detected in almost all Provinces both in mosquitoes (6 pools) and animals (19 equine sera, 4 birds). No blood bag tested resulted infected. The first neuroinvasive human case occurred too. Competent authorities should be aware of a potentially increased risk of MBDs activity during the 2016 vector season. This work shows that this surveillance network allowed to early detect the presence of MBDs in humans and animals, and provided useful information to public authorities, in order to apply control measures. Finally, an additional value of our diagnostic protocol is the ability to detect all viruses belonging to the Flaviviridae family, considering the emergence caused by other Flaviviruses in humans such as the recent Zika virus infection in South America. Italy has climatic and environmental features conducive to Zika virus transmission, the competent vector and many travellers from Brazil reported every year.

Keywords: west nile virus, integrated surveillance, mosquito borne disease, Zika virus

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10 Optimization of the Jatropha curcas Supply Chain as a Criteria for the Implementation of Future Collection Points in Rural Areas of Manabi-Ecuador

Authors: Edward Jimenez, Boris G. German, Sebastián Espinoza, Andrés G. Chico, Ricardo A. Narváez


The unique flora and fauna of The Galapagos Islands has leveraged a tourism-driven growth in the islands. Nonetheless, such development is energy-intensive and requires thousands of gallons of diesel each year for thermoelectric electricity generation. The needed transport of fossil fuels from the continent has generated oil spillages and affectations to the fragile ecosystem of the islands. The Zero Fossil Fuels initiative for The Galapagos proposed by the Ecuadorian government as an alternative to reduce the use of fossil fuels in the islands, considers the replacement of diesel in thermoelectric generators, by Jatropha curcas vegetable oil. However, the Jatropha oil supply cannot entirely cover yet the demand for electricity generation in Galapagos. Within this context, the present work aims to provide an optimization model that can be used as a selection criterion for approving new Jatropha Curcas collection points in rural areas of Manabi-Ecuador. For this purpose, existing Jatropha collection points in Manabi were grouped under three regions: north (7 collection points), center (4 collection points) and south (9 collection points). Field work was carried out in every region in order to characterize the collection points, to establish local Jatropha supply and to determine transportation costs. Data collection was complemented using GIS software and an objective function was defined in order to determine the profit associated to Jatropha oil production. The market price of both Jatropha oil and residual cake, were considered for the total revenue; whereas Jatropha price, transportation and oil extraction costs were considered for the total cost. The tonnes of Jatropha fruit and seed, transported from collection points to the extraction plant, were considered as variables. The maximum and minimum amount of the collected Jatropha from each region constrained the optimization problem. The supply chain was optimized using linear programming in order to maximize the profits. Finally, a sensitivity analysis was performed in order to find a profit-based criterion for the acceptance of future collection points in Manabi. The maximum profit reached a value of $ 4,616.93 per year, which represented a total Jatropha collection of 62.3 tonnes Jatropha per year. The northern region of Manabi had the biggest collection share (69%), followed by the southern region (17%). The criteria for accepting new Jatropha collection points in the rural areas of Manabi can be defined by the current maximum profit of the zone and by the variation in the profit when collection points are removed one at a time. The definition of new feasible collection points plays a key role in the supply chain associated to Jatropha oil production. Therefore, a mathematical model that assists decision makers in establishing new collection points while assuring profitability, contributes to guarantee a continued Jatropha oil supply for Galapagos and a sustained economic growth in the rural areas of Ecuador.

Keywords: Supply Chain, Linear Programming, jatropha curcas, collection points

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9 Numerical Investigation of Thermal Energy Storage Panel Using Nanoparticle Enhanced Phase Change Material for Micro-Satellites

Authors: Jelvin Tom Sebastian, Vinod Yeldho Baby


In space, electronic devices are constantly attacked with radiation, which causes certain parts to fail or behave in unpredictable ways. To advance the thermal controllability for microsatellites, we need a new approach and thermal control system that is smaller than that on conventional satellites and that demand no electric power. Heat exchange inside the microsatellites is not that easy as conventional satellites due to the smaller size. With slight mass gain and no electric power, accommodating heat using phase change materials (PCMs) is a strong candidate for solving micro satellites' thermal difficulty. In other words, PCMs can absorb or produce heat in the form of latent heat, changing their phase and minimalizing the temperature fluctuation around the phase change point. The main restriction for these systems is thermal conductivity weakness of common PCMs. As PCM is having low thermal conductivity, it increases the melting and solidification time, which is not suitable for specific application like electronic cooling. In order to increase the thermal conductivity nanoparticles are introduced. Adding the nanoparticles in base PCM increases the thermal conductivity. Increase in weight concentration increases the thermal conductivity. This paper numerically investigates the thermal energy storage panel with nanoparticle enhanced phase change material. Silver nanostructure have increased the thermal properties of the base PCM, eicosane. Different weight concentration (1, 2, 3.5, 5, 6.5, 8, 10%) of silver enhanced phase change material was considered. Both steady state and transient analysis was performed to compare the characteristics of nanoparticle enhanced phase material at different heat loads. Results showed that in steady state, the temperature near the front panel reduced and temperature on NePCM panel increased as the weight concentration increased. With the increase in thermal conductivity more heat was absorbed into the NePCM panel. In transient analysis, it was found that the effect of nanoparticle concentration on maximum temperature of the system was reduced as the melting point of the material reduced with increase in weight concentration. But for the heat load of maximum 20W, the model with NePCM did not attain the melting point temperature. Therefore it showed that the model with NePCM is capable of holding more heat load. In order to study the heat load capacity double the load is given, maximum of 40W was given as first half of the cycle and the other is given constant OW. Higher temperature was obtained comparing the other heat load. The panel maintained a constant temperature for a long duration according to the NePCM melting point. In both the analysis, the uniformity of temperature of the TESP was shown. Using Ag-NePCM it allows maintaining a constant peak temperature near the melting point. Therefore, by altering the weight concentration of the Ag-NePCM it is possible to create an optimum operating temperature required for the effective working of the electronics components.

Keywords: Thermal Energy Storage, carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer, micro/nano-satellite, nanoparticle phase change material

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8 Photo-Fenton Degradation of Organic Compounds by Iron(II)-Embedded Composites

Authors: Marius Sebastian Secula, Andreea Vajda, Benoit Cagnon, Ioan Mamaliga


One of the most important classes of pollutants is represented by dyes. The synthetic character and complex molecular structure make them more stable and difficult to be biodegraded in water. The treatment of wastewaters containing dyes in order to separate/degrade dyes is of major importance. Various techniques have been employed to remove and/or degrade dyes in water. Advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) are known as among the most efficient ones towards dye degradation. The aim of this work is to investigate the efficiency of a cheap Iron-impregnated activated carbon Fenton-like catalyst in order to degrade organic compounds in aqueous solutions. In the presented study an anionic dye, Indigo Carmine, is considered as a model pollutant. Various AOPs are evaluated for the degradation of Indigo Carmine to establish the effect of the prepared catalyst. It was found that the Iron(II)-embedded activated carbon composite enhances significantly the degradation process of Indigo Carmine. Using the wet impregnation procedure, 5 g of L27 AC material were contacted with Fe(II) solutions of FeSO4 precursor at a theoretical iron content in the resulted composite of 1 %. The L27 AC was impregnated for 3h at 45°C, then filtered, washed several times with water and ethanol and dried at 55 °C for 24 h. Thermogravimetric analysis, Fourier transform infrared, X-ray diffraction, and transmission electron microscopy were employed to investigate the structural, textural, and micromorphology of the catalyst. Total iron content in the obtained composites and iron leakage were determined by spectrophotometric method using phenantroline. Photo-catalytic tests were performed using an UV - Consulting Peschl Laboratory Reactor System. UV light irradiation tests were carried out to determine the performance of the prepared Iron-impregnated composite towards the degradation of Indigo Carmine in aqueous solution using different conditions (17 W UV lamps, with and without in-situ generation of O3; different concentrations of H2O2, different initial concentrations of Indigo Carmine, different values of pH, different doses of NH4-OH enhancer). The photocatalytic tests were performed after the adsorption equilibrium has been established. The obtained results emphasize an enhancement of Indigo Carmine degradation in case of the heterogeneous photo-Fenton process conducted with an O3 generating UV lamp in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. The investigated process obeys the pseudo-first order kinetics. The photo-Fenton degradation of IC was tested at different values of initial concentration. The obtained results emphasize an enhancement of Indigo Carmine degradation in case of the heterogeneous photo-Fenton process conducted with an O3 generating UV lamp in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. Acknowledgments: This work was supported by a grant of the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation, CNCS - UEFISCDI, project number PN-II-RU-TE-2014-4-0405.

Keywords: Photodegradation, heterogeneous Fenton, anionic dye, carbonaceous composite, screening factorial design

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7 Evaluation of Redundancy Architectures Based on System on Chip Internal Interfaces for Future Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Flight Control Computer

Authors: Sebastian Hiergeist


It is a common view that Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) tend to migrate into the civil airspace. This trend is challenging UAV manufacturer in plenty ways, as there come up a lot of new requirements and functional aspects. On the higher application levels, this might be collision detection and avoidance and similar features, whereas all these functions only act as input for the flight control components of the aircraft. The flight control computer (FCC) is the central component when it comes up to ensure a continuous safe flight and landing. As these systems are flight critical, they have to be built up redundantly to be able to provide a Fail-Operational behavior. Recent architectural approaches of FCCs used in UAV systems are often based on very simple microprocessors in combination with proprietary Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) or Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) extensions implementing the whole redundancy functionality. In the future, such simple microprocessors may not be available anymore as they are more and more replaced by higher sophisticated System on Chip (SoC). As the avionic industry cannot provide enough market power to significantly influence the development of new semiconductor products, the use of solutions from foreign markets is almost inevitable. Products stemming from the industrial market developed according to IEC 61508, or automotive SoCs, according to ISO 26262, can be seen as candidates as they have been developed for similar environments. Current available SoC from the industrial or automotive sector provides quite a broad selection of interfaces like, i.e., Ethernet, SPI or FlexRay, that might come into account for the implementation of a redundancy network. In this context, possible network architectures shall be investigated which could be established by using the interfaces stated above. Of importance here is the avoidance of any single point of failures, as well as a proper segregation in distinct fault containment regions. The performed analysis is supported by the use of guidelines, published by the aviation authorities (FAA and EASA), on the reliability of data networks. The main focus clearly lies on the reachable level of safety, but also other aspects like performance and determinism play an important role and are considered in the research. Due to the further increase in design complexity of recent and future SoCs, also the risk of design errors, which might lead to common mode faults, increases. Thus in the context of this work also the aspect of dissimilarity will be considered to limit the effect of design errors. To achieve this, the work is limited to broadly available interfaces available in products from the most common silicon manufacturer. The resulting work shall support the design of future UAV FCCs by giving a guideline on building up a redundancy network between SoCs, solely using on board interfaces. Therefore the author will provide a detailed usability analysis on available interfaces provided by recent SoC solutions, suggestions on possible redundancy architectures based on these interfaces and an assessment of the most relevant characteristics of the suggested network architectures, like e.g. safety or performance.

Keywords: redundancy, UAV, System-On-Chip, flight control computer (FCC)

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6 Stability of Porous SiC Based Materials under Relevant Conditions of Radiation and Temperature

Authors: Marta Malo, Carlota Soto, Carmen García-Rosales, Teresa Hernández


SiC based composites are candidates for possible use as structural and functional materials in the future fusion reactors, the main role is intended for the blanket modules. In the blanket, the neutrons produced in the fusion reaction slow down and their energy is transformed into heat in order to finally generate electrical power. In the blanket design named Dual Coolant Lead Lithium (DCLL), a PbLi alloy for power conversion and tritium breeding circulates inside hollow channels called Flow Channel Inserts (FCIs). These FCI must protect the steel structures against the highly corrosive PbLi liquid and the high temperatures, but also provide electrical insulation in order to minimize magnetohydrodynamic interactions of the flowing liquid metal with the high magnetic field present in a magnetically confined fusion environment. Due to their nominally high temperature and radiation stability as well as corrosion resistance, SiC is the main choice for the flow channel inserts. The significantly lower manufacturing cost presents porous SiC (dense coating is required in order to assure protection against corrosion and as a tritium barrier) as a firm alternative to SiC/SiC composites for this purpose. This application requires the materials to be exposed to high radiation levels and extreme temperatures, conditions for which previous studies have shown noticeable changes in both the microstructure and the electrical properties of different types of silicon carbide. Both initial properties and radiation/temperature induced damage strongly depend on the crystal structure, polytype, impurities/additives that are determined by the fabrication process, so the development of a suitable material requires full control of these variables. For this work, several SiC samples with different percentage of porosity and sintering additives have been manufactured by the so-called sacrificial template method at the Ceit-IK4 Technology Center (San Sebastián, Spain), and characterized at Ciemat (Madrid, Spain). Electrical conductivity was measured as a function of temperature before and after irradiation with 1.8 MeV electrons in the Ciemat HVEC Van de Graaff accelerator up to 140 MGy (~ 2·10 -5 dpa). Radiation-induced conductivity (RIC) was also examined during irradiation at 550 ºC for different dose rates (from 0.5 to 5 kGy/s). Although no significant RIC was found in general for any of the samples, electrical conductivity increase with irradiation dose was observed to occur for some compositions with a linear tendency. However, first results indicate enhanced radiation resistance for coated samples. Preliminary thermogravimetric tests of selected samples, together with posterior XRD analysis allowed interpret radiation-induced modification of the electrical conductivity in terms of changes in the SiC crystalline structure. Further analysis is needed in order to confirm this.

Keywords: Radiation Damage, Electrical Conductivity, Thermal Stability, flow channel insert, DCLL blanket, porous SiC

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5 Medical Examiner Collection of Comprehensive, Objective Medical Evidence for Conducted Electrical Weapons and Their Temporal Relationship to Sudden Arrest

Authors: Michael Brave, Mark Kroll, Steven Karch, Charles Wetli, Michael Graham, Sebastian Kunz, Dorin Panescu


Background: Conducted electrical weapons (CEW) are now used in 107 countries and are a common law enforcement less-lethal force practice in the United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA), Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and others. Use of these devices is rarely temporally associated with the occurrence of sudden arrest-related deaths (ARD). Because such deaths are uncommon, few Medical Examiners (MEs) ever encounter one, and even fewer offices have established comprehensive investigative protocols. Without sufficient scientific data, the role, if any, played by a CEW in a given case is largely supplanted by conjecture often defaulting to a CEW-induced fatal cardiac arrhythmia. In addition to the difficulty in investigating individual deaths, the lack of information also detrimentally affects being able to define and evaluate the ARD cohort generally. More comprehensive, better information leads to better interpretation in individual cases and also to better research. The purpose of this presentation is to provide MEs with a comprehensive evidence-based checklist to assist in the assessment of CEW-ARD cases. Methods: PUBMED and Sociology/Criminology data bases were queried to find all medical, scientific, electrical, modeling, engineering, and sociology/criminology peer-reviewed literature for mentions of CEW or synonymous terms. Each paper was then individually reviewed to identify those that discussed possible bioelectrical mechanisms relating CEW to ARD. A Naranjo-type pharmacovigilance algorithm was also employed, when relevant, to identify and quantify possible direct CEW electrical myocardial stimulation. Additionally, CEW operational manuals and training materials were reviewed to allow incorporation of CEW-specific technical parameters. Results: Total relevant PUBMED citations of CEWs were less than 250, and reports of death extremely rare. Much relevant information was available from Sociology/Criminology data bases. Once the relevant published papers were identified, and reviewed, we compiled an annotated checklist of data that we consider critical to a thorough CEW-involved ARD investigation. Conclusion: We have developed an evidenced-based checklist that can be used by MEs and their staffs to assist them in identifying, collecting, documenting, maintaining, and objectively analyzing the role, if any, played by a CEW in any specific case of sudden death temporally associated with the use of a CEW. Even in cases where the collected information is deemed by the ME as insufficient for formulating an opinion or diagnosis to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, information collected as per the checklist will often be adequate for other stakeholders to use as a basis for informed decisions. Having reviewed the appropriate materials in a significant number of cases careful examination of the heart and brain is likely adequate. Channelopathy testing should be considered in some cases, however it may be considered cost prohibitive (aprox $3000). Law enforcement agencies may want to consider establishing a reserve fund to help manage such rare cases. The expense may stay the enormous costs associated with incident-precipitated litigation.

Keywords: Police, ARD, CEW, TASER

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4 Analyzing the Heat Transfer Mechanism in a Tube Bundle Air-PCM Heat Exchanger: An Empirical Study

Authors: Denis Bruneau, Alain Sommier, Maria De Los Angeles Ortega, Patrick Sebastian, Jean-Pierre Nadeau, Saed Raji


Phase change materials (PCM) present attractive features that made them a passive solution for thermal comfort assessment in buildings during summer time. They show a large storage capacity per volume unit in comparison with other structural materials like bricks or concrete. If their use is matched with the peak load periods, they can contribute to the reduction of the primary energy consumption related to cooling applications. Despite these promising characteristics, they present some drawbacks. Commercial PCMs, as paraffines, offer a low thermal conductivity affecting the overall performance of the system. In some cases, the material can be enhanced, adding other elements that improve the conductivity, but in general, a design of the unit that optimizes the thermal performance is sought. The material selection is the departing point during the designing stage, and it does not leave plenty of room for optimization. The PCM melting point depends highly on the atmospheric characteristics of the building location. The selection must relay within the maximum, and the minimum temperature reached during the day. The geometry of the PCM container and the geometrical distribution of these containers are designing parameters, as well. They significantly affect the heat transfer, and therefore its phenomena must be studied exhaustively. During its lifetime, an air-PCM unit in a building must cool down the place during daytime, while the melting of the PCM occurs. At night, the PCM must be regenerated to be ready for next uses. When the system is not in service, a minimal amount of thermal exchanges is desired. The aforementioned functions result in the presence of sensible and latent heat storage and release. Hence different types of mechanisms drive the heat transfer phenomena. An experimental test was designed to study the heat transfer phenomena occurring in a circular tube bundle air-PCM exchanger. An in-line arrangement was selected as the geometrical distribution of the containers. With the aim of visual identification, the containers material and a section of the test bench were transparent. Some instruments were placed on the bench for measuring temperature and velocity. The PCM properties were also available through differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) tests. An evolution of the temperature during both cycles, melting and solidification were obtained. The results showed some phenomena at a local level (tubes) and on an overall level (exchanger). Conduction and convection appeared as the main heat transfer mechanisms. From these results, two approaches to analyze the heat transfer were followed. The first approach described the phenomena in a single tube as a series of thermal resistances, where a pure conduction controlled heat transfer was assumed in the PCM. For the second approach, the temperature measurements were used to find some significant dimensionless numbers and parameters as Stefan, Fourier and Rayleigh numbers, and the melting fraction. These approaches allowed us to identify the heat transfer phenomena during both cycles. The presence of natural convection during melting might have been stated from the influence of the Rayleigh number on the correlations obtained.

Keywords: Convection, Phase Change Materials, conduction, air-PCM exchangers

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3 Black-Box-Optimization Approach for High Precision Multi-Axes Forward-Feed Design

Authors: Sebastian Kehne, Alexander Epple, Werner Herfs


A new method for optimal selection of components for multi-axes forward-feed drive systems is proposed in which the choice of motors, gear boxes and ball screw drives is optimized. Essential is here the synchronization of electrical and mechanical frequency behavior of all axes because even advanced controls (like H∞-controls) can only control a small part of the mechanical modes – namely only those of observable and controllable states whose value can be derived from the positions of extern linear length measurement systems and/or rotary encoders on the motor or gear box shafts. Further problems are the unknown processing forces like cutting forces in machine tools during normal operation which make the estimation and control via an observer even more difficult. To start with, the open source Modelica Feed Drive Library which was developed at the Laboratory for Machine Tools, and Production Engineering (WZL) is extended from one axis design to the multi axes design. It is capable to simulate the mechanical, electrical and thermal behavior of permanent magnet synchronous machines with inverters, different gear boxes and ball screw drives in a mechanical system. To keep the calculation time down analytical equations are used for field and torque producing equivalent circuit, heat dissipation and mechanical torque at the shaft. As a first step, a small machine tool with a working area of 635 x 315 x 420 mm is taken apart, and the mechanical transfer behavior is measured with an impulse hammer and acceleration sensors. With the frequency transfer functions, a mechanical finite element model is built up which is reduced with substructure coupling to a mass-damper system which models the most important modes of the axes. The model is modelled with Modelica Feed Drive Library and validated by further relative measurements between machine table and spindle holder with a piezo actor and acceleration sensors. In a next step, the choice of possible components in motor catalogues is limited by derived analytical formulas which are based on well-known metrics to gain effective power and torque of the components. The simulation in Modelica is run with different permanent magnet synchronous motors, gear boxes and ball screw drives from different suppliers. To speed up the optimization different black-box optimization methods (Surrogate-based, gradient-based and evolutionary) are tested on the case. The objective that was chosen is to minimize the integral of the deviations if a step is given on the position controls of the different axes. Small values are good measures for a high dynamic axes. In each iteration (evaluation of one set of components) the control variables are adjusted automatically to have an overshoot less than 1%. It is obtained that the order of the components in optimization problem has a deep impact on the speed of the black-box optimization. An approach to do efficient black-box optimization for multi-axes design is presented in the last part. The authors would like to thank the German Research Foundation DFG for financial support of the project “Optimierung des mechatronischen Entwurfs von mehrachsigen Antriebssystemen (HE 5386/14-1 | 6954/4-1)” (English: Optimization of the Mechatronic Design of Multi-Axes Drive Systems).

Keywords: Machine Tools, Discrete Optimization, ball screw drive design, forward feed drives, gear box design, linear drives, motor design, multi-axes design

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2 The Shrinking of the Pink Wave and the Rise of the Right-Wing in Latin America

Authors: B. M. Moda, L. F. Secco


Through free and fair elections and others less democratic processes, Latin America has been gradually turning into a right-wing political region. In order to understand these recent changes, this paper aims to discuss the origin and the traits of the pink wave in the subcontinent, the reasons for its current rollback and future projections for left-wing in the region. The methodology used in this paper will be descriptive and analytical combined with secondary sources mainly from the social and political sciences fields. The canons of the Washington Consensus was implemented by the majority of the Latin American governments in the 80s and 90s under the social democratic and right-wing parties. The neoliberal agenda caused political, social and economic dissatisfaction bursting into a new political configuration for the region. It started in 1998 when Hugo Chávez took the office in Venezuela through the Fifth Republic Movement under the socialist flag. From there on, Latin America was swiped by the so-called ‘pink wave’, term adopted to define the rising of self-designated left-wing or center-left parties with a progressive agenda. After Venezuela, countries like Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Equator, Nicaragua, Paraguay, El Salvador and Peru got into the pink wave. The success of these governments was due a post-neoliberal agenda focused on cash transfers programs, increasing of public spending, and the straightening of national market. The discontinuation of the preference for the left-wing started in 2012 with the coup against Fernando Lugo in Paraguay. In 2015, the chavismo in Venezuela lost the majority of the legislative seats. In 2016, an impeachment removed the Brazilian president Dilma Rousself from office who was replaced by the center-right vice-president Michel Temer. In the same year, Mauricio Macri representing the right-wing party Proposta Republicana was elected in Argentina. In 2016 center-right and liberal, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was elected in Peru. In 2017, Sebastián Piñera was elected in Chile through the center-right party Renovación Nacional. The pink wave current rollback points towards some findings that can be arranged in two fields. Economically, the 2008 financial crisis affected the majority of the Latin American countries and the left-wing economic policies along with the end of the raw materials boom and the subsequent shrinking of economic performance opened a flank for popular dissatisfaction. In Venezuela, the 2014 oil crisis reduced the revenues for the State in more than 50% dropping social spending, creating an inflationary spiral, and consequently loss of popular support. Politically, the death of Hugo Chavez in 2013 weakened the ‘socialism of the twenty first century’ ideal, which was followed by the death of Fidel Castro, the last bastion of communism in the subcontinent. In addition, several cases of corruption revealed during the pink wave governments made the traditional politics unpopular. These issues challenge the left-wing to develop a future agenda based on innovation of its economic program, improve its legal and political compliance practices, and to regroup its electoral forces amid the social movements that supported its ascension back in the early 2000s.

Keywords: Political Parties, Latin America, right-wing, left-wing, pink wave

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1 Language Anxiety and Learner Achievement among University Undergraduates in Sri Lanka: A Case Study of University of Sri Jayewardenepura

Authors: Sujeeva Sebastian Pereira


Language Anxiety (LA) – a distinct psychological construct of self-perceptions and behaviors related to classroom language learning – is perceived as a significant variable highly correlated with Second Language Acquisition (SLA). However, the existing scholarship has inadequately explored the nuances of LA in relation to South Asia, especially in terms of Sri Lankan higher education contexts. Thus, the current study, situated within the broad areas of Psychology of SLA and Applied Linguistics, investigates the impact of competency-based LA and identity-based LA on learner achievement among undergraduates of Sri Lanka. Employing a case study approach to explore the impact of LA, 750 undergraduates of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka, thus covering 25% of the student population from all seven faculties of the university, were selected as participants using stratified proportionate sampling in terms of ethnicity, gender, and disciplines. The qualitative and quantitative research inquiry utilized for data collection include a questionnaire consisting a set of structured and unstructured questions, and semi-structured interviews as research instruments. Data analysis includes both descriptive and statistical measures. As per the quantitative measures of data analysis, the study employed Pearson Correlation Coefficient test, Chi-Square test, and Multiple Correspondence Analysis; it used LA as the dependent variable, and two types of independent variables were used: direct and indirect variables. Direct variables encompass the four main language skills- reading, writing, speaking and listening- and test anxiety. These variables were further explored through classroom activities on grammar, vocabulary and individual and group presentations. Indirect variables are identity, gender and cultural stereotypes, discipline, social background, income level, ethnicity, religion and parents’ education level. Learner achievement was measured through final scores the participants have obtained for Compulsory English- a common first-year course unit mandatory for all undergraduates. LA was measured using the FLCAS. In order to increase the validity and reliability of the study, data collected were triangulated through descriptive content analysis. Clearly evident through both the statistical analysis and the qualitative analysis of the results is the significant linear negative correlation between LA and learner achievement, and the significant negative correlation between LA and culturally-operated gender stereotypes which create identity disparities in learners. The study also found that both competency-based LA and identity-based LA are experienced primarily and inescapably due to the apprehensions regarding speaking in English. Most participants who reported high levels of LA were from an urban socio-economic background of lower income families. Findings exemplify the linguistic inequality prevalent in the socio-cultural milieu in Sri Lankan society. This inequality makes learning English a dire need, yet, very much an anxiety provoking process because of many sociolinguistic, cultural and ideological factors related to English as a Second Language (ESL) in Sri Lanka. The findings bring out the intricate interrelatedness of both the dependent variable (LA) and the independent variables stated above, emphasizing that the significant linear negative correlation between LA and learner achievement is connected to the affective, cognitive and sociolinguistic domains of SLA. Thus, the study highlights the promise in linguistic practices such as code-switching, crossing and accommodating hybrid identities as strategies in minimizing LA and maximizing the experience of ESL.

Keywords: Sri Lanka, Language Anxiety, TESL, identity-based anxiety, competence-based anxiety

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