The University of Southampton

ELEC2211 Electromechanical Energy Conversion

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To introduce the students to fundamental concepts of low frequency electromagnetics with examples from electrical power engineering. To give the students an appreciation of the importance of computational electromagnetics in the context of engineering. To introduce the students to fundamental numerical techniques for solving field problems. To equip the students with basic programming, computing and CAD skills. To introduce the students to the more advanced concept of principles of electromechanical energy conversion based on Hamilton’s principle To increase the awareness of the students of the role of mathematics in engineering applications.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Basic concepts of electromagnetic theory
  • Principles of finite difference and finite element formulations
  • Principles of finite difference and finite element formulations
  • Techniques of sparse matrices and compact storage schemes
  • Vector algebra in the electromagnetic field context
  • Properties of static and time-varying electromagnetic fields
  • Physical meaning of Maxwell's equations
  • Mathematical description of fundamental laws of electromagnetism
  • Electric and magnetic properties of matter
  • Electromechanical energy conversion as based on Hamilton’s principle
  • Fundamentals of modelling and simulation techniques applied to electromagnetics
  • Dual energy bounds techniques
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Write programs using C language D2. Use electromagnetic CAD packages D3. Write technical reports
  • Work in a small team to conduct an experiment
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate electromagnetic theory applied to simple practical situations
  • Explain the meaning and consequences of field theory
  • Apply Maxwell's equations to problems involving simple configurations
  • Interpret electromagnetic solutions
  • Explain the operation of simple electromagnetic devices
  • Apply mathematical methods and vector algebra to practical problems
  • Be familiar with running commercial finite element software
  • Set up, solve and interrogate solutions to problems using FE software
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Appreciate the role of computational electromagnetics in engineering
  • Relate field displays to fundamental concepts of electromagnetics
  • Identify different types of equations governing electromagnetic processes
  • Derive equations describing electromagnetic phenomena
  • Formulate fundamental laws of electromagnetism
  • Solve differential equations using separation of variables
  • Analyse simple electromagnetic systems
  • Appreciate the complexity of CAD systems for electromagnetic design
  • Distinguish between various stages associated with CAD
  • Design models suitable to analyse performance of electromagnetic devices


Approximate methods of field solution (2 lectures) - Geometrical properties of fields; method of ‘tubes and slices’. Flow of steady current (2 lectures) - Potential gradient, current density, divergence, nabla operator, Laplace's equation. Electrostatics (3 lectures) - The electric field vector, scalar electric potential, Gauss's theorem and divergence, conservative fields, Laplace and Poisson equations, electric dipole, line charge, surface charge, solution of Laplace's equation by separation of variables, polarisation, dielectrics, electric boundary conditions. Magnetostatics (4 lectures) - Non-conservative fields, Ampere's law and curl, magnetic vector potential, magnetisation and magnetic boundary conditions, magnetic screening with examples. Electromagnetic induction (2 lectures) - Faraday's law, induced and conservative components of the electric field, EMF and potential difference. Maxwell's equations (2 lectures) - Displacement current, Maxwell's and constituent equations, the Lorentz gauge, wave equation. Time-varying fields in conductors (3 lectures) - Diffusion and Helmholtz equations, skin depth, eddy currents in slabs, plates and cylindrical conductors; deep bar effect. Computational aspects of approximate methods of field solution (1 lecture) - The method of tubes and slices. Review of field equations (1 lecture) - Classification of fields: Laplace's, Poisson's, Helmholtz, diffusion, wave equations; Vector and scalar formulations. Finite difference method (5 lectures) - Five-point scheme, SOR, example diffusion and wave equations, explicit formulation, Crank-Nicholson implicit scheme, a weighted average approximation, alternating-direction implicit method, convergence and stability, handling of boundary conditions, alternative formulation of the finite difference method. Finite element method (5 lectures) - Variational formulation, first-order triangular elements, discretisation and matrix assembly, the art of sparse matrices, alternative approximate formulations (including Galerkin). Principles of electromechanical energy conversion (6 lectures) - Generalised variables for electromechanical systems, Hamilton’s principle and Lagrangian state function, conservative and non-conservative systems, examples. - Comparison between field and equivalent circuit calculations. Note: the first 30 hours of lectures are common with ELEC2210 and ELEC2219, the last 6 hours are different.

Learning and Teaching

Completion of assessment task23
Preparation for scheduled sessions18
Follow-up work18
Wider reading or practice39
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Hammond P & Sykulski J K (1994). Engineering Electromagnetism - Physical Processes and Computation. 

Laboratory space and equipment required. Equipment for the three dedicated laboratory experiments.

Software requirements. Finite Element software MAGNET. TAS software.



MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 35%
Exam 50%
Laboratory 15%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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