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Mechanical Design (MCEN30014)

Undergraduate level 3Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2017
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 3
Subject codeMCEN30014
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date


Topics covered include: general approach to design problems; invention, analysis, decision making; terminologies such as ‘goal’, ‘objectives’, ‘criteria’ and ‘constraints’; strategies for synthesis and decision making; technical, ergonomic and economic factors; appraisal of benefit and cost; fault and failure analysis; probability, uncertainty, and assessment of risk; and interfacing geometric and mathematical models, sensitivity analyses, combinatorial search, structured approaches to material selection; failure modes for engineering systems, failure predictors for engineering components under multi-axial stress conditions; rational assessment of safety factors and maximum credible accident; integrity of structures and machines, design against failure; modelling of complex load-bearing systems in terms of simple engineering components; design of elements of structures and machines from first principles; and approaches to uncertainty in design problems, including those related to the environment.


Introduction to strategies for creative idea generation in engineering design -

  • The design process – specifying problems and generating solutions
  • Making decisions – decision-making strategies, cost benefit analysis, economic and human factors
  • Fault / failure analysis.

Introduction to engineering graphical communication -

  • Sketching
  • Orthographic (multiview), layout, assembly and detailed drawings
  • Dimensioning.

Introduction to structural integrity in engineering design -

  • Structural integrity and the nature of failure
  • Structural distillation – decomposition of structural systems into elementary engineering components
  • Estimation, units and calculation
  • Failure predictors and factors of safety
  • Fatigue – What is fatigue? Time-varying stresses, fatigue strength, design against failure. S-N diagram, A-M diagram. Shafts as an example of fatigue-based structural integrity design.

Intended learning outcomes


Having completed this unit the student is expected to have the skills to:

1 - describe engineering design methodologies that can assist the creation of mechanical artefacts and systems;
2 - synthesize solutions to reasonably ill-defined design problems;
3 - manage relatively complex mechanical engineering design projects;
4 - determine the integrity of structures and machines, to design against failure.

Generic skills

On completion of this subject, students should have developed the following generic skills -

  • The ability to apply knowledge of science and engineering fundamentals.
  • The ability to undertake problem identification, formulation, and solution.
  • The capacity for creativity and innovation.
  • The ability to utilise a systems approach to complex problems and to design and operational performance.
  • Proficiency in engineering design.
  • The ability to conduct an engineering project.

Last updated: 31 August 2017