Engineering and the Environment

SESG2005 Engineering Design and Structural Analysis Methods

Module Overview

Module overview

Module Details

Title: Engineering Design and Structural Analysis Methods
Code: SESG2005
Year: 2
Semester: 2

CATS points: 10 ECTS points: 5
Level: Undergraduate
Co-ordinator(s): Professor James P Scanlan, Dr Mohamed Moshrefi- Torbati, Dr Shoufeng Yang

Pre-requisites and / or co-requisites


Aims and objectives

The aims of this module are to:
  • Gain an understanding of formal techniques to generate rational design solutions.
  • Gain an appreciation of the role of finite element methods in structural design.
  • Gain proficiency in applying these tools by undertaking a number of lab-design case studies
  • Integrate these approaches by applying them to a realistic "system-level" design case study
Objectives (planned learning outcomes)

Knowledge and understanding

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

  • An understanding of the application of systematic design methodologies
  • Practical structural analysis skills

Intellectual skills
Having successfully completed the module, you will be able to:

  • Apply cognitive design skills to generic design problems.
  • Use sensitivity analysis techniques to prioritise design parameters and associated decisions
  • Use rational methods to explore design compromises and trade-offs.
  • Critically appraise and analyse alternative design configurations and options
  • Use finite element analysis to predict the mechanical behaviour of engineering components

General transferable (key) skills
Having successfully completed the module, you will be able to:

  • Explain and defend design decisions.
  • Collate and synthesise/prioritise information according to design objectives
  • Communicate work in a clear, structured and efficient manner.


  • Capturing and analysing requirements using binary matrices
  • Design validation and verification
  • Concept generation, classification and filtering
  • Identification of key conflicts and areas of potential innovation
  • Structured design search
  • Quality Function Deployment and function trees
  • Function curves and design optimisation
  • Basic concepts in finite element analysis
  • Idealisation and discretisation (meshing) of structures
  • Techniques of static and dynamic structural analysis
  • Verification and validation of models
  • Evaluation and interpretation of analysis results 
  • Rapid Prototyping and additive manufacturing for design

Learning and teaching

Study time allocation

Contact hours: 30
Private study hours: 70
Total study time: 100 hours

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include
  • Initial introductory 1-hour lectures to give context and introduce the tools and techniques.
  • A number of self-contained, lab-based case studies
  • A larger, team based integrating case study
Learning activities include
  • Use of individual log-books to record the design process
  • Formal team design presentations

Resources and reading list


Licences of decision analysis software (DecisionPro; Vanguard) available within PC labs.

Licences for CAD/FEA software (SolidWorks/COSMOSWorks) available in PC labs.

Module web-site containing reference material, software tools and examples.

Books available in the University library:

Applied engineering design and analysis; Duggan, Terance Vincent. ISBN: 0592042294

A background to engineering design, Polak, Peter. ISBN: 0333187717

Basic engineering design, Starkey, C.V. ISBN: 0713136693

Engineering design : a systematic approach, Pahl, Gerhard. ISBN: 085072239X

Creativity and innovation in engineering, Gregory, Sydney Absell, ISBN: 0408703393

Zienkiewicz, OC. The Finite Element Method. TA 660 ZIE. ISBN 0070841748
Comprehensive textbook on the finite element method in general.


Assessment methods

Assessment method
% contribution to final mark
Design case study


Feedback and student support during module study (formative assessment)

  • Feedback on the coursework (lab-based exercises) will be given during the laboratory sessions.

Feedback during design case study

  • Students will be given feedback following the design review sessions.

Relationship between the teaching, learning and assessment methods
and the planned learning outcomes

  • The learning outcomes are tested by individual written reports and team presentations at the end of the year.
  • A lear and documented marking scheme (made available to the students) will be used to assess the performance of students in a number of defined categories commensurate with the aims of this module.
  • Overall, the case study will allow students to gain an understanding of advantages and benefits of using a systematic approach to design and the need to assess and predict structural performance early in the design process.