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MEC3029 : Advanced Mechanics and Structural Optimisation

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Peter Gosling
  • 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 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module aims to extend students’ knowledge and skills in two core areas of mechanical engineering:

•       Analytical modelling and analysis of the movement of spatial rigid bodies.
•       Stress analysis and optimisation of structures and structural components.

Outline Of Syllabus

This mathematical modelling module has two components:

1. Analytical modelling and analysis of the kinematics and kinetics of 3D spatial systems of rigid bodies. Topics include free body diagrams; moments and products of inertia, and the inertia tensor; linear and angular momentum, and gyroscopic torque. The importance of this in engineering applications will be studied in, for example, rotors on shafts and bearing reactions.

2. Numerical modelling of structural mechanics problems using the finite element method. Topics include principles of the finite element method; mathematical modelling for linear-static structural mechanics; finite elements in dynamics and vibrations; non-linear finite element analysis; concepts of stochastic finite elements; implementation, simulation, and optimisation.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:301:30Semester 2 in-course assessment.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture311:0031:00Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:301:30End of Semester 1 Examination.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Recommended revision for exam and in-class assessment, assuming prior regular independent study throughout teaching
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching123:0036:00Computer cluster sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Tutorial sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00Lab practical
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study881:0088:00Recommended regular personal study throughout teaching period to follow up taught classes
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The mathematical modelling knowledge and skills components of the module are developed through lectures and tutorials. The implementation of the knowledge and skills are practiced and demonstrated through numerical studies in both tutorials and computer practicals. A mechanical item will be designed using finite element analyses, manufactured, and tested. The test results will be revisited with the numerical model outcomes to reflect on the effective use of the numerical simulation. Private study is used to develop and consolidate learning further.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A501.5hr invigilated exam
Written Examination902A501.5hr invigilated exam
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
Reflective log1MFinite element analysis logbook (digital or physical (to be digitised)).
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The semester 1 examination tests the understanding and application of the core engineering theory on the movement of spatial rigid bodies delivered in semester 1.

The semester 2 assessment is a combination of short questions and a smaller set of more exploratory questions. The short questions are a mix of numerical and written forms that randomly assess the full breadth and content of the module. The longer, exploratory questions are based on numerical studies and experiments performed using software-based finite element analysis, with answers supported by evidence from a digitised logbook uploaded as part of the assessment. This format of the semester 2 assessment enables the knowledge gained in the module, expected to be an understanding of the principles of finite element analysis and the application of those principles to structural engineering applications using an example of commercially available software, to be demonstrated.

Reading Lists