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MEC8058 : Instrumentation and Drive Systems

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr John Hedley
  • Lecturer: Dr Francis Franklin, Dr Amirreza Aghakhani
  • Owning School: Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The module aims to equip students with the knowledge and understanding of the operating characteristics and design of a range of sensors and motors and their integration into appropriate control systems within a specific mechanical design.

Outline Of Syllabus

-       Introduction to basic types of sensors and actuators.
-       Sensor types for a range of measurands including force, strain, pressure, position, velocity,
acceleration, temperature and luminosity.
-       Basis of selection of sensor type to meet application requirements, e.g. analog versus digital,
response, range and resolution.
-       Functional static and dynamic characteristics of a range of analog and digital sensors, including
accuracy, sensitivity, and calibration.
-       Principle of operation of motors including brushed, brushless, servo and stepper motors.
-       Introduction to motor control.
-       Introduction to data acquisition systems.
-       Selection and integration of sensors and software tools for data capture and analysis, to include signal
conditioning, filtering and sampling.
-       Introduction to control system design and integration including PID controllers and tuning strategies.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion124:0024:00Completion and submission of assignments
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:001:00Computer based examination
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:001 introductory recorded lecture. Recorded topical lectures (non synchronous).
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities125:0060:00Practical application of material in the form of exercises.
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities64:0024:00Computer based tutorials and trial exams.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading510:0050:00Recommended reading for required knowledge of module.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching122:0024:00Synchronous teaching (tutorials) to support independent study and reinforce skills practice.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching32:006:00Synchronous PiP lab practicals to support independent study and reinforce skills practice.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Learning outcomes are addressed by a series of introductory lectures on each topic supplemented by academically supported tutorials. The tutorials address each of the required learning outcomes of the module. Essential reading references are given to direct the students to the required knowledge needed for the module. The required practical (computer simulation and lab) skills are introduced through a series of tutorial exercises. Regularly timetabled academically supported Q&A sessions help students with any areas of difficulty. The assignments support the student learning by giving the opportunity for practical implementation of the material covered in the module whilst helping the student to a focus on what needs to be learnt.

Alternative online sessions will be offered to students if present-in-person sessions are not possible to take place due to unforeseen circumstances. In that case, present-in-person tutorial sessions will be replaced by synchronous online sessions.

Students are given a range of NUMBAS based tutorial questions during the teaching aspect of the module to practise on, these give immediate feedback on marking and advice on how to answer the question. The NUMBAS exam is a selection of these tutorial questions. The students are also required to do exercises during the module, advice and feedback is available to any student needing help with these exercises. The assignment for this module is again based on these exercises in which the student needs to piece together different exercises they have done to complete the assignment. Thus all assessment in this module is based on formative practise of the material.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination601A40NUMBAS computer based assessment
Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
MEC3027Introduction to Instrumentation and Drive Systems1N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M6010 minute video presentation of solution
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Digital Examination1MFormative practise of the NUMBAS exam
Written exercise1MFormative practise of the assignment
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assignment is based around utilising the knowledge and skills developed throughout the module and a means of assessing how well the students can apply these skills and knowledge. The computer based assessment covers the engineering material learnt over the duration of the course and the skills learnt during completion of the exercises. It assesses a broader range of material than the assignment and under time constraint conditions.       If in-person examinations are not possible due to unforeseen universal circumstances (such as a pandemic), the assessment format would remain the same, however, the digital NUMBAS examination would be replaced by a digital NUMBAS assessment (same questions but done remotely rather than on campus)

Reading Lists