Skip to main content


MEC8029 : Design of Mechanical Power Transmissions

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Brian Shaw
  • Other Staff: Mr Robert Lambert, Mr Tom Reavie, Mr Reece Chohan
  • 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


The module aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills to design, select and control manufacturing routes and to understand the in-service behaviour of 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 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 module deals with the systems and the detail engineering to design successful transmissions. The main topics will be:

- Introduction to drive systems and components.
- Principles of drive system and component design/selection.
- Design approaches for power transmission shaft/bearing/housing assemblies considering 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 a typical mechanical power transmissions.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00Revision of lecture material, attempting tutorial questions and background reading. Practice with software.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture152:0030:00Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:302:30Examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Preparation/completion of Assignment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion135:3035:30Revision for exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00Industry lectures supporting syllabus content.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion31:003:00Completion and review of Canvas Quizzes.
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials112:0022:00Pre-recorded online video lectures.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical32:006:00Practical sessions and AERH site visit.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Tutorial sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops42:008:00Computer cluster sessions for design software.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module uses lectures and course material as an efficient way to introduce the students to new topics and to provide a firm foundation for the subject and to meet the intended knowledge outcomes.

The intended skills outcomes are met through a combination of practical classes, applied software learning and tutorials covering the application of calculation and design methods.

The practicals give a facility tour, demonstrations and exercises that allow students to gain hands-on experience examining many types of drives system designs, 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 (applying knowledge from lectures) required in the gearbox assignment.

The tutorial classes allow students to apply knowledge and consolidate learning.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination1501A70Inspera invigilated open-book Exam. Paper resources are allowed, no digital resources except for provided Inspera resources.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M30Gearbox assignment - max 10 pages.
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
Computer assessment1MOnline quizzes to check module knowledge.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment approach ensures that students have a level of formative feedback as the course progresses in the form of in-class quizzes designed to support and consolidate learning. Combined with practical and tutorial sessions, these will assist students to focus their guided independent study.

The in-class quizzes also provide examples of the question types that will be utilised in the Inspera exam that attracts 70% of the available marks.

The open-book Inspera exam will be invigilated, on-campus, allowing the students to demonstrate the application of the knowledge they have been taught. This exam will assess the intended knowledge outcomes using varying question types such as multi-choice, calculations and essay.

The gearbox assignment, attracting 30% of the available module marks, backed up by on-line sessions, meets the intended skills outcomes. This applies the taught material and leads the students to a greater depth of understanding of the detail design of components and/or selection and& 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 professional report.

Reading Lists