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MEng Chemical Engineering / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Materials Science and Mechanical Design

Unit code CHEN20191
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Department of Chemical Engineering & Analytical Science
Available as a free choice unit? No


Materials Science unit:
8 lectures + 4 tutorials
A wide range of potential materials exist for selection in chemical engineering designs. They can be classified into families, such as metals, ceramics and polymers based on their mechanical properties such as strength, ductility, toughness, etc. Based on an understanding of these properties materials suited to specific applications can be chosen. However, to correctly select materials for a specific application a wide range of factors must be considered such as cost, wear, fatigue, operating temperatures and corrosion. Numerous corrosion mechanisms exist, correctly identifying which are relevant to an environment-material combination is essential for finding the right combination and alleviating the impact of corrosion.

Mechanical Design unit:
8 lectures + 4 tutorials
This part of the unit will cover some basic principles of mechanical engineering, which chemical engineers must have in order to develop design project skills and interface with other disciplines in a wider context. The unit will cover static equilibrium calculations of beams, including sketching of shear force and bending moment diagrams; tension and compression within beams; design of beam cross-section; deflection and buckling of beams and columns; failure modes of mechanical equipment; concept of plane state of stress; concepts of longitudinal, circumferential and radial stress in pressure vessels; basic design of pressure vessels subject to internal and external pressure using the thin wall assumption; effect of combined loads on pressure vessel design; design of pressure vessels supports; design of pressure vessels subject to high internal pressure using the thick wall assumption; design of liquid storage tanks.


The unit aims to:
Develop a basic understanding of materials science, corrosion and statics. Apply this knowledge to analyse and design chemical engineering unit operations by selecting suitable materials of construction. Apply the concept of static equilibrium to process structures. Evaluate the mechanical behaviour of process structures under loading conditions. Perform mechanical design calculations on structures, columns, pressure vessels, storage tanks and vessel supports.


Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

Calculate the relevant properties of materials using experimental data.

Calculate safe design criteria: yield stress, cycles to failure and fast fracture (leak before break, yield before break).

Calculate corrosion rates, differentiate between corrosion mechanisms and explain how to mitigate them.

Assess a combination of factors in order to select the correct material for a specific design.

Develop the ability to perform static equilibrium calculations on supported structures.

Perform shear stress, bending moment, cross-section and buckling calculations on supported structures and columns.

Explain the concept of state of stress and apply this to pressure vessels and process equipment.

Perform design calculations for process structures, tanks, pressure vessels and vessel supports under various loading conditions.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching is through lectures and problem solving tutorial sessions. All notes and lecture recordings are available on blackboard and updated after each week’s lectures.


Assessment methods

Assessment task Weighting
Continuous assessment 30%
Exam style assessment 70%


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 16
Tutorials 8
Independent study hours
Independent study 76

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Carmine D'Agostino Unit coordinator

Additional notes

This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 20/21 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates.

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