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MEC8080 : Core Skills

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

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

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


Modern mechanical engineers find employment across a wide range of industries, using a wide range of skills and specialties. This module sets out to provide a set of core skills and experience that all mechanical engineers should find useful:

• Understanding of how forces lead to stresses in materials and how this can lead to failure through plastic damage, wear and crack growth.
• Confidence in being able to use mathematical and scientific computer programs to analyse and plot data.
• Experience with using modern CAD software for 3D modelling of components and assemblies.
• Experience with working in a small group on a research project and presenting the findings.

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus is structured into four main areas:

1. Lectures on core mechanics theory

Engineering properties of materials, such as Young’s modulus and the yield point, are typically found from rods loaded axially, giving a very one-dimensional understanding of material response. These lectures look at the three-dimensional and interrelated nature of stress and strain and how to reduce this complexity to the von Mises stress that is useful for structural design work. Other topics covered include contact mechanics, wear and crack growth.

2. 3D Solid Modelling

CAD software has become a powerful tool for engineering design and an essential tool for building models of components and assemblies for stress analysis. The students are given an intensive introduction to Autodesk Inventor and work through, for example, an engine assembly exercise.

3. Scientific Computing

The students will be guided through a varied sequence of mathematical tasks in Matlab or Python, designed to give confidence in techniques of data analysis and visualization.

4. Research Group Project

Students will work in small groups on a speculative research project at the frontier of engineering science, and create video and poster presentations of their findings.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Student led activity - Group based coursework
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion131:0031:00Revision for and completion of Examination
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion116:0016:00Formative online assessment preparation and completion
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00End of block examination
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching242:0048:00Computer cluster sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Tutorial sessions
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity149:0049:00Independent study time to reflect on teaching and practise computing skills.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide a solid, common core of engineering fundamentals; tutorial sessions to allow students to work through specific problems; cluster sessions to provide teaching support to engineering programming exercises.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation201M40Group video and individual poster presentation on an engineering topic.
Digital Examination1001M60Computer-based assessment with a mixture of mechanics theory and programming tasks.
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Digital Examination1MComputer based assessment with feedback
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The exam will assess the students’ grasp and application of theory and scientific programming skills.
The coursework is a group activity designed to give students experience of doing library and internet searches, and experience of creating poster and video presentations; the coursework theme is chosen to allow the students to explore new and emerging science and engineering.

Reading Lists