MEC3015 : Instrumentation and Drive Systems

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 5
ECTS Credits: 8.0


The module aims to equip students with the knowledge and understanding of the operating characteristics and design of a range of sensors, actuator and drive types, and their integration into appropriate control systems.

Outline Of Syllabus

- Introduction to basic types of sensors and actuators. Functional static and dynamic characteristics of a range of analog and digital sensors, including accuracy, sensitivity, and calibration.
- Basis of selection of sensor type to meet application requirements, e.g. analog versus digital, response, range and resolution.
- Sensor types for measuring force, strain, pressure, position, velocity, acceleration, temperature, to include rectilinear and rotary optical transducers, and piezo transducers.
- Electro-magnetic, electro-static, and fluid-power actuator types, including DC/AC brushed/ brushless servo-motors, stepper motors, hydraulic and pneumatic motors and rams.
- Micro-actuator types. Performance characteristics and basis of selection including power to weight ratio, cost benefit analysis, reliability.
- Actuator drive systems e.g. linear and digital power amplifiers.
- Data acquisition systems – Selection and integration of sensors and software tools for data capture and analysis, to include signal conditioning, filtering and sampling.
- Review of control system design and integration. Analysis of performance, including transient and frequency response, and stability issues. Three term PID controllers and tuning strategies.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Written PC Exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion390:3019:30Recommended revision for exams, assuming prior regular independent study throughout teaching
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture242:0048:00Structured presentation of syllabus may include skills demonstration, formative feedback, etc
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Semester 1 examination.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical23:006:00Extended activity (computer cluster) to apply taught material, develop professional skills
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical13:003:00Extended activity (laboratory) to apply taught material, develop professional skills
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Problem classes (“tutorials”) to support independent study and reinforce skills practise
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study157:3057:30Recommended regular personal study throughout teaching period to follow up taught classes
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

- Lectures convey the underlying engineering science and the approaches required to apply this to the discipline-specific problems identified
- Tutorials support the students' self-study in reading around the lecture material and learning to solve the practical engineering problems posed by the Tutorial Questions
- Practical work enables students to obtain hands-on experience in analysing and designing real engineering problems using relevant hardware and software tools

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A80Exam to cover full syllabus
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M20Assignment
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

-The examinations provides an appropriate way to assess both theoretical understanding and practical problem solving skills under time-constraint as required in industry.

For the purposes of professional body accreditation, in order to obtain a passing mark overall for this module (40%) at the first attempt the minimum acceptable mark for each of the assessment items specified below shall be 30%, with the maximum possible module overall mark where this is not the case being restricted to 35% (Undergraduate Progress Regulations):

80% Exam
20% PC Examination

Reading Lists