Skip to main content


MEC8029 : Design of Mechanical Power Transmissions

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Brian Shaw
  • Other Staff: Mr Robert Lambert, Mr Tom Reavie, Dr Timothy Lisle
  • Owning School: Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To teach how to design, manufacture and use mechanical power transmission systems and equipment, especially rotary drive systems. The module aims to enable students to specify / select / design / manufacture drive systems for a wide variety of driven loads to a given performance specification. It also aims to teach the design, manufacturing and quality assurance of selected power transmission components, equipment and systems in detail and to apply the knowledge gained to the design of a mechanical power transmission.

Outline Of Syllabus

Drive systems are integral to most machines and products. This course deals with the systems and the detail engineering to design successful transmissions:

-       Introduction to drive systems and components.
-       Principles of drive system and component design/selection.
-       Design of power transmission shaft/bearing/housing assemblies for ease of manufacture and assembly.
-       Gear drives, gear types, main characteristics, geometry and manufacturing routes.
-       Design and analysis of spur and helical gears.
-       Design and selection of shafts, splines and couplings.
-       Understanding and selection of bearings.
-       Material selection, manufacturing routes and impact on failure modes.
-       Detail design of typical mechanical power transmissions.
-       Includes assignments to design/specify mechanical power transmissions in detail.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials121:0012:00Non-synchronous teaching lectures and syllabus content.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture131:0013:00PiP Teaching lectures and syllabus content.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion40:302:00in-class formative on-line Canvas Quizzes
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:302:30Online assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00PiP Industry Lectures supporting syllabus content
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion301:0030:00Preparation/completion of Assignment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical32:006:00"PiP Touring tranmissions systems research facilities Gearbox layouts and cross-sections etc
Guided Independent StudySkills practice101:0010:00Software use for gear design assignment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery101:0010:00Synchronous reviews of course activity
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study201:0020:00Self study and revision for Canvas Quizzes and online assessments
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study911:0091:00Recomend regular personal study throughout teaching period to follow up taught classes and tutorials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:301:30PiP Introduction to module.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The PiP, synchronous and non-synchronous lectures and course material introduce the topics and provide a firm foundation for the subject.

The PiP practicals give a facility tour, demonstrations and exercises that allow students to examine many types of drive system designs and component types, experience several drive systems operating and understand failure processes.

The gear software skills learned during the course represent the industry standard transmission design software and allows selection of optimal gear designs required in the gearbox assignment.
The on-line tutorial classes held as a synchronous activity allows students to consolidate learning.
Alternative online sessions will be offered to students if in-person sessions are not possible (due to unforeseen circumstances such as a pandemic). In that case, PiP lectures will be replaced with non-synchronous lectures, supported by online synchronous tutorials.

PiP practicals will be replaced by vitual tours and demonstrations and additional synchronous sessions will be used to explain and discuss these.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination1501A70remote timed Canvas exam
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M30Gearbox assignment
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment1MOnline quizzes to check module knowledge/practice exam format - Online Canvas Quizzes
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The gearbox assignment, backed up by on-line sessions, applies the taught material and leads the students to a greater depth of understanding of the detail design of components and/or selection & matching of drive systems. The output of the gearbox assignment includes appropriate designs / system diagrams, calculations and evidence of appropriate decision making, all presented in a final report.
The in-class tests are designed to support and consolidate learning including formative feedback.
The unseen, time limited, online computer based assessment tests understanding of the taught material using a mix on question types including multi-choice, calculations and essay.

Reading Lists