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ES3C3 Planar Structures and Mechanisms

  • Module code: ES3C3
  • Module name: Planar Structures and Mechanisms
  • Department: School of Engineering
  • Credit: 15

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

All engineers accredited by the IMechE are expected to have a knowledge of stress analysis and an understanding of how stress, strain and strength affect the design of structures. They should also be aware of the dynamical behaviour of some classical cases of mechanisms. This module addresses those requirements. The module lectures are split between two main themes. The first theme is the analysis of planar pin-jointed structures and mechanisms in terms of position, velocity and acceleration and matrix solutions of the equations of motion (geometry, kinematics and dynamics). The approach progresses from simple analysis to complex cases requiring computer modelling. The second set of lectures covers strength of materials topics in linear elasticity i.e. how stresses and strains in the material result from the imposed forces. These topics were introduced in year 2 (ES2B0); the effect of these stresses and strains is now investigated in a number of classical settings including beams, shafts, columns, disks and pressure vessels. Students are introduced to the physical properties of materials and failure criteria so that they can analyse simple systems by hand and choose suitable materials. In particular they are introduced to concepts such as strength, weight, and stiffness with a view to developing understanding to allow interpretation and assessment of computer models in more complicated cases.

Principal learning outcomes

By the end of the module the students should be able to: Model the behaviour of some common planar mechanisms and calculate the velocities, accelerations (kinematics) and forces (kinetics) associated with their motion. Understand how mechanism inertia can lead to shaking forces and calculate how to compensate for balance such forces in some important special cases (e.g., reciprocating engines). Understand the terminology and rationale for using linear elastic theory and how to apply common formulations to analyse simple systems. Recognise the approximations inherent in linear elastic methods and be able to converse with specialists, e.g., on the use of finite element models. . Understand the cause and effects of stress concentrations. Choose between and apply some common (idealized) states of stress and strain and the typical failure criteria that arise from them, including von Mises’ stresses. Assess material suitability in terms of application criteria. Predict the deflections, stresses, etc. under load and hence design simple cases for planar structural systems: including: statically determinate and indeterminate pin-jointed frames; beams; simple assemblies of planar components; stability of struts; thermal expansion; stresses in pressure vessels and rotating discs. Predict rotation angles and stresses in shafts under torsion, including torques applied via gearing or pulley systems.

Timetabled teaching activities

30 lecture hours. 2 x 1 hr revision seminars.

Departmental link

Other essential notes

Advice and feedback hours are available for answering questions on the module

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
15 CATS (Module code: ES3C3-15)
D (Assessed/examined work) Analysis Assignment 20%
  3 hour examination (Summer) 80%
VA (Visiting students only) 100% assessed (part year) visiting 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:

  • BEng Mechanical Engineering (H310) - Year 3
  • MEng Mechanical Engineering (H311) - Year 3
  • MEng Mechanical Engineering with Year in Research (H313) - Year 3
  • MEng Mechanical Engineering with Year in Research (H313) - Year 4
Optional Core
  • MEng Mechanical Engineering with Intercalated Year (H312) - Year 3
  • MEng Mechanical Engineering with Intercalated Year (H312) - Year 4
  • BEng Engineering (H106) - Year 3
  • MEng Engineering (H107) - Year 3
  • MEng Engineering with Intercalated Year (H109) - Year 3
  • MEng Engineering with Intercalated Year (H109) - Year 4
  • MEng Engineering with Year in Research (H110) - Year 3
  • MEng Engineering with Year in Research (H110) - Year 4
  • BSc Engineering (H112) - Year 3