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First Year Modules

This is a mostly common first year and you will specialise further from the second year.

Students will study four modules in each semester.

Engineering Design

This module covers the essential introductory elements of the design process and provides a thorough grounding in the fundamental design principles using a "learning by doing" approach.

The module will consist of active learning sessions, working in small groups to design a component or simple system in accordance with a design brief, CAD training sessions and supervised workshop sessions to develop practical building skills.

Computational mathematical modelling 1 – statics

This is a unique feature of our first year curriculum. Conventionally engineering mathematics is taught in the same way that mathematics is taught at A Level and that is going through a number of theories relevant to engineering and trying to do calculations and they end up being quite procedural. We have taken a completely different approach to this. We are targeting understanding of mathematics as a concept rather than procedures. We want our graduates and students to be modellers and thinkers. We want them to have very strong computational skills as this is what is needed outside of university. 

We have designed a new computational mathematical modelling module where we place great emphasis on mathematical concepts, modelling and computation. Combining these three elements allows our students and graduates to take advantage of the 21st century capabilities in computation and become a lot more capable in modelling systems. During the first year our students will be able to analyse things that have never been possible as a first year engineering student.

Materials Engineering

Materials engineering is an essential area of engineering education regardless of the discipline. This module takes an energy approach to introduce materials will be used to understand the structure of and structural hierarchy in the different classes of materials (metallic, polymeric, elastomeric, ceramic, glass and composite), the forces (energy) that drive the interactions that build these structures and how these interactions and resulting structures influence their (intrinsic and extrinsic) physical and chemical properties to drive their selection and use in products.  In addition, the module will develop  analytical and research skills that allow students to provide materials solutions to engineering problems, through examination and critical evaluation of materials issues as part of a ‘big picture’ engineering approach.

Experimental Design and Practice 1

This is another unique feature to our modern programmes. Experiments in typical engineering programme consist of a number of practical work to compliment theory. In order to make innovation and design clearer we have moved on from the old way and we have put together a module that is only experiments and design of experiments. We provide an integrated, co-ordinated hands-on experience, allowing students to develop and explore their understanding practically.

Our students will work in groups and instead of following the procedures from a hand out and getting them to do something that has been very carefully designed by us, the students themselves will design the experiment, capture data, analyse the results and make some sense of that. They will then present the whole process from design through analysis and results. This is a different approach to standard engineering laboratory practical work. 

This module will centre around a problem-based learning framework which focuses on the development and implementation of experiments, with data analysis and reporting guided by examples, supplemented with supporting delivery to build on knowledge and content from the other modules in the first semester of the School of Engineering and Materials first year

Exploring Engineering – topic specific

Students will go through topics pertinent to the branch of engineering they want to do. 

This module will provide an integrated suite of activities for students in each of the programme areas within SEMS - aerospace, mechanical, chemical, materials, biomedical, robotics and sustainable energy engineering. The module will introduce academic content and concepts relevant to the programme stream selected by each student and will then cover 4 activities – where the application of the concepts, through the use of case studies / ideas, will be developed.  The selection of activities will allow students to study those areas they are most interested in.

Materials Chemistry

This module provides a thorough grounding in the fundamental chemical principles that are required to understand materials science, chemical and biomedical engineering.  

Building on the knowledge gained in Materials Engineering, Semester A, of how energy impacts matter, this module will discuss and analyse in detail how energy determines and modulates matter and its properties. Starting from the strongest nuclear interactions all the way to weak secondary forces the module will develop how the strength or energy of interactions build up atoms, molecules and condensed phases. Based on this analysis, the module will cover changes in mixtures such as simple chemical reactions from both energy and rate (time) points of view. Finally, students will study how interactions in more complex systems give rise to properties present on a larger (microscopic) scale, such as the emergence of electronic band structures or the composition of biochemical entities e.g. cells and tissues.

Computational mathematical modelling 2 – dynamics

This module is a continuation of modelling, principles of mathematics and computation from the first semester, but with a focus on dynamical systems as this is essential for all engineers. Students on the Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering and Sustainable Energy Engineering programmes will complete Materials Chemistry in the first year and will catch up with this content in the second year.  

Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics

The module will cover the essential introductory elements of fluid mechanics and thermodynamics essential for all engineers.

This module formally introduces the fundamental principles of fluid mechanics and classical equilibrium thermodynamics. It examines applications of single-constituent fluids, and provides background for all applications in engineering.  Fluid mechanics is one of the underpinning sciences in Engineering. Most engineering processes involve fluid flow, including flow over aircraft, through combustion engines, chemical processing, manufacturing and cardiovascular flow. In this module we work from first principles to describe the hydrostatic pressure variation, analyse moving flow using the mass conservation, energy conservation and momentum balance equations and look at energy exchange by work and heat transfer. 

Experimental Design and Practice 2

This module is a continuation of Experimental Design and Practice 1 from the first semester, but with more of a focus on your chosen discipline. 

This module will centre around a problem-based learning framework which focuses on the development and implementation of experiments, with data analysis and reporting guided by examples, supplemented with supporting delivery to build on knowledge and content from the other modules in the first and second semester of the School of Engineering and Materials first year.