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MEC8024 : Vehicle Dynamics

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Francis Franklin
  • Lecturer: Dr Barry Gallacher
  • Owning School: Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


Transportation of goods and people is a critical part of modern infrastructure. Modern mechanical engineers need to understand vehicle drive systems and how the complexities of transport infrastructure impact vehicle behaviour. This module focuses on two aspects of this:

• Applying mechanical principles to a range of drive systems, assemblies and components.
• A focus on railway vehicles and infrastructure, and some of the very real problems faced by track maintainers and train operators.

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus is structured into three main areas:

1. Lectures on the mechanics of drive systems

Lectures on dynamics, control and modelling of vehicle and drive systems, covering subjects such as free and forced vibration of car suspension or engine mounts. The Newton-Euler method is used, along with matrix methods and modal coupling.

2. Lectures on trains, track, and train-track interaction

The railway system is designed for fast transport of people and high value goods, and for transport of heavy goods too such as coal and iron ore, often over very long distances and sometimes in trains that are three kilometres long. Delays cost money and derailments can be very expensive. These lectures look at calculations for gradient, and the hunting behaviour of solid-axle conical wheels.

3. Simulation Coursework

The students will use simulation software to study railway vehicle stability and passenger comfort, and research methods for quantifying these for the purpose of optimizing railway vehicle design.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00End of Semester Examination.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion17:007:00Formative (pass/fail) online computer assessment.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture251:0025:00Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Target non-timetable hours to complete coursework assignment submission
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching32:006:00Computer cluster sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00Tutorials
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study180:0080:00Recommended regular personal study throughout teaching period to follow up taught classes
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study150:0050:00Recommended revision for exams, assuming prior regular independent study throughout teaching
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures, supported by tutorials and cluster sessions, convey the underlying engineering science and the approaches required to apply this to vehicle drives and dynamics problems and guidance of data analysis and interpretation. The wider engineering context is discussed in detail for the special case of the railway system.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A60N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M40Assignment - Maximum 20 hours.
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
Description When Set Comment
Digital ExaminationMOnline computer assessment with Feedback
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written examination and the online computer assessment test the understanding of the mathematical and engineering theory presented in lectures and through further reading.
The coursework challenges the students to research and apply methods for analysing complex data in order to optimise vehicle stability and passenger comfort.

Reading Lists