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Unit information: Engineering Design and Technology in 2021/22

Unit name Engineering Design and Technology
Unit code MENGM0039
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Chris McMahon
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering

Description including Unit Aims

The technologies of the modern world have led to an enormous variety of products, systems, services and structures that serve all manner of societal needs, including transportation, energy supply, healthcare, industrial production, communications, buildings and entertainment. The design, manufacture/construction and development of these and of the components and sub-systems that make them up are enormously challenging and require that knowledge and expertise from a number of perspectives be brought together in an integrated manner to consider a wide range of technical, social and environmental issues.

The aim of this unit is to introduce theories, processes, methods and tools used for the design and implementation of such products, systems and structures, and to frame these in an understanding of the nature of technology.

The unit will be structured into six topics as follows:

1. The Artificial World and the Nature of Technology, introducing key definitions and theoretical perspectives on the nature and evolution of technology and innovation, and of products, services, systems and systems of systems. Supply-chain configuration strategies and the distinction between project- and product-engineering will be introduced. The embedding of the artificial world in the natural world, and associated material and energy cycles will be considered, as will the importance of development and continual learning.

2. The Nature of Design, presenting different perspectives on design, including design thinking and the customer focus, function, behaviour and structure, the ‘ilities’ and design for X. Concepts and knowledge and the centrality of creativity will be introduced, and the distinction will be made between normal and radical design, using concepts of design patterns and composition, internal substitution, structural deepening, product and process innovation.

3. The Design Process. Different process patterns used in product and systems development will be introduced, including the double-diamond model, Pahl and Beitz and the linear models, stage gate, V- models, concurrent engineering, cyclic and agile models. The embedding of design in the engineering activity will be described and the nature of engineering teams and the roles of their members will be introduced.

4. Design Methods and Tools: a variety of design methods and tools for problem framing, specification formulation, concept generation and selection, design-for-X and decision-making and analysis will be described and explored in exercises.

5. Product and Systems Architectures. The central importance of modularity will be introduced, together with product families and platforms, systems and systems of systems, architectural principles and the implications of architectures on industries.

6. Modelling in Design. The use of models in design representing different viewpoints will be described and their application explored in case studies, including drawings, diagrams, computer-aided design and other representations, product-lifecycle and building information management, and modelling for analysis and simulation

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful engagement with the unit the participants should be able to (mnemonic references are to Engineering Council AHEP categories):

1. Describe the nature of technology, the organisation of engineering firms and industries, and patterns of technological evolution and discovery. (P9m – item 1 above)

2. Describe the high-level principles of engineering design and understand and critique their application in different contexts. (SM7M – item 2 above)

3. Describe design processes and methodologies, understand their application in different contexts and select and apply them to example problems (D10M – items 3, 4, 5 and 6 above)

4. Understand and promote the importance of engineers to take account of the technological, commercial, environmental and social contexts in which they operate (EL9M - all items above, especially 1 and 2)

Together with other units in the teaching block this unit will contribute to the ability of participants to:

5. Create an effective engineering team and exercise initiative and personal responsibility in project delivery. (P11m)

6. Generate an innovative design or design critique for products, systems, components or processes to fulfil new needs (D11M)

Teaching Information

The unit will be delivered through a combination of classroom lectures taught by academic staff and invited guest speakers (subject experts) and supported project and case study workshops in a studio setting. Learning materials will be made available to students in advance via Blackboard

Assessment Information

  • e-Assessments (40%) to test the knowledge and comprehension of the principles, processes and methodologies. Multiple choice and numerical questions quizzes on Blackboard. (ILO1, ILO2, ILO3)
  • Global Challenge Project (60%): Group report, viva and individual reflective log exploring real-world multidisciplinary engineering project and applying tools/techniques of engineering design and technology management (ILO3, ILO4, ILO5, ILO6)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. MENGM0039).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.