WPI Students Are Building Engines At Home

WORCESTER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — About 100 Worcester Polytechnic Institute undergraduate students are learning to adjust with learning from home like many students during the coronavirus crisis.

Except these students are learning how to build external combustion engines at home.

Toby Bergstrom is the Operations Manager at Washburn Shops. He told WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe students are learning using an online simulated lab like the real one on campus, along with manufacturing kits sent out to the students that include cylinders and pistons.

"The component that makes the engine work is the interaction between the piston and the cylinder," Bergstrom said. "So they all have one cylinder, but they have three different sized pistons."

According to Bergstrom, this allows students to experiment with the different sizes and how that impacts how the engine runs.

"What is it that the students actually get out of the lab that enhances the learning? We figured out that part of it was the tactile," Bergstrom said. "The feeling of the different components, the feeling of the shifts that the machine makes as you're machining the part."

One fourth-year student, Sam Johnston of Medfield, said the simulations are just like being on campus.

"Instead of pressing the button physically, I'm just clicking a digital picture of those exact same buttons," Johnston said.

WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports

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