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MEC8029 : Design of Mechanical Power Transmissions

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Brian Shaw
  • Lecturer: Dr Robert Frazer, Dr Timothy Lisle
  • Owning School: Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To teach how to design and use mechanical power transmission systems and equipment, especially rotary drive systems. The module aims to enable students to specify / select / design drive systems to link a variety of prime movers to a very wide variety of driven loads to a given performance specification. It also aims to teach the design of selected power transmission components, equipment and systems in detail 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 course deals with the systems and the detail engineering to design successful transmissions:
- Introduction to drive systems and components.
- Principles of drive system and component design/selection.
- Design of power transmission shaft/bearing/housing assemblies for ease of manufacture and assembly.
- Gear drives, gear types, main characteristics, geometry, materials and manufacturing routes.
- Design and analysis of spur and helical gears.
- Hydraulic drive systems.
- Selected electrical drive systems.
- Drive system matching and selection.
- Detail design of typical mechanical power transmissions.
- Includes assignments to design/specify mechanical power transmissions in detail.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion340:3017:00Recommended revision for exams, assuming prior regular independent study throughout teaching
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion13:003:00End of Semester Examination.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion230:0060:00Target non-timetable hours to complete coursework assignment submissions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture172:0034:00Structured presentation of syllabus may include skills demonstration, formative feedback, etc
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical13:003:00Extended activity (laboratory) to apply taught material, develop professional skills
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading159:0059:00Recommended regular personal study throughout teaching period to follow up taught classes.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching83:0024:00Problem classes (“tutorials”) to support independent study and reinforce skills practise
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures and course hand-outs introduce the topics and provide a firm foundation for the subject.
The machinery “tour” and hands-on exercises allow students to see many types of drive system design and experience several drive systems operating.
The gear software is used during the course and represents the industry standard transmission design software and allows selection of optimal gear designs.
The tutorial classes allow students to handle real mechanical components, view operating machinery and try out both design and analysis techniques under supervision.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1801A70Unseen examination based around design exercises.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M30Gearbox assignment.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The gearbox assignment, backed up by tutorials, applies the taught material and leads the students to a greater depth of understanding of the detail design of components and/or selection & matching of drive systems.

The unseen examination tests understanding of the lectured material using both normal exam questions and design orientated tasks.

The output of the gearbox assignment includes appropriate designs / system diagrams, calculations and evidence of appropriate decision making, all presented in a log book format.

Reading Lists