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MEC3027 : Introduction to Instrumentation and Drive Systems

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr John Hedley
  • Lecturer: Dr Francis Franklin, Dr Andrew Smith
  • 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
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials152:0030:00After an introductory recorded lecture outlining the module content and structure recorded topics et
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:001:00Computer based examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion149:0049:00Completion and submission of assignments
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities152:0030:00Computer based tutorials and trial exams.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading95:0045:00Recommended reading for required knowledge of module.
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities152:0030:00Practical application of material in the form of exercises.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching151:0015:00Synchronous teaching ("tutorials") 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) skills are introduced through the lectures and 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.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination601M40NUMBAS computer based assessment
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M60Assignment to be submitted as two parts (A, B).
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 PC NUMBAS examination would be replaced by a PC NUMBAS assessment (same questions but done remotely rather than on campus)

Reading Lists