Practical and Experimental Skills

Module summary

Module code: GEEN1129
Level: 4
Credits: 30
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Engineering
Module Coordinator(s): Nicholas Green


Pre and co requisites



This course provides an introduction to the basic and fundamental concepts and principles of engineering science, including fluid mechanics and hydraulics, structural systems and solid mechanics, materials science, mechanical principles, electrical and electronic principles, sensors and devices, computer and communications networking and their application to experimental and practical problems. This course also aims to develop practical experience in designing and carrying out laboratory tests and experiments and report writing; to gain experience of health and safety including personal protective equipment (PPE) that will protect the user against health or safety risks.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1 Apply standard scientific methodology to plan, design, conduct and report a range of engineering experiments
2 Gain an understanding of the physical aspects of the principal engineering disciplines
3 Gain an understanding of how physical measurements and systematic errors can affect results and the challenges of gaining precise and accurate empirical data
4 Understand the importance of units
5 Learn how to apply dimensional analysis to ensure that units match on either side of an equation or law

Indicative content

(Overall structure: 2 weeks lectures, 22 weeks lab sessions, 1 week intensive courses). Weekly lab sessions:
Introduction to Laboratory Practice (2 weeks – lectures + tutorials) • Health and safety; Standard report format; Basic experimental design; Dimensional Analysis; SI units; Engineering standards. Electrical Principles (2 weeks – introductory lectures + lab sessions) • DC circuits: Series, parallel and mixed resistive circuits including voltage and current dividers; Applications of Ohm's law, Kirchoff’s laws, Thevenin’s theorem in the solutions of resistive circuits; Transient response of RLC circuits.
Digital Electronics and Logic (2 weeks – introductory lectures + lab sessions) • TTL logic and circuits; Embedded systems, e.g. Raspberry Pi. Computer Components and Analysis (1 week – introductory lecture + lab sessions) • Number conversion and bases; Memory types and use.Mechanical Systems (2 weeks – introductory lectures + lab sessions) • Forces and Moments; Mechanical Advantage; Friction; Simple Harmonic Motion; Centrifugal Forces; Belts Gears Chains Pulleys Levers; Cranks and Couplings.Fluid Mechanics / Hydraulics (2 weeks – introductory lectures + lab sessions) • Definitions: physical properties of fluids; distinction between solids, liquids and gases; ideal and real fluids; • Hydrostatics: pressure measurement; forces on plane and curved surfaces; stability of immersed and floating bodies;• Fluid Motion: definitions; conservation of mass, energy and momentum; flow patterns in ideal and real fluids; groundwater flow; boundary layer; flow separation and drag forces; wind flows round buildings; • Flow Resistance: friction losses in pipes and ducts; use of design charts; design of simple pressure and gravity pipe systems.Thermodynamics (1 week – introductory lecture + lab sessions). • Pressure and Temperature; Gas Laws; Fluid Flow; Energy Conversion. Structures (3 weeks – introductory lectures + lab sessions) • Real and idealised structures; components; joints; supports;• Elements of statics: resultant force and couple; conditions of equilibrium; statically equivalence; • Determinate structures: axial force; shear force; bending moment; torque;• Stress analysis: concepts of force and stress; deformation and strain; stress/stain relationships; uniaxial, biaxial, pure shear and plane stress; strain energy; • Stress systems: simple and combined theories of bending and axial effects; torsion;• Elements of dynamics: single degree of freedom systems; free undamped response; energy; equivalent systems. Materials (2 weeks – introductory lectures + lab sessions). • Structure of materials: the crystal lattice, unit cell, crystal grains; the mechanical properties of metals; elasticity, Young's' modulus, yield, internal slip, dislocations; ductile and brittle fracture; effect of grain size, work hardening, solution and dispersion hardening; metallurgy of steel; quenching annealing, normalising, tempering, case hardening;• Use and understanding of strain gauges and linear transducers; • Investigate the effect of carbon content and heat treatment on the tensile strength of steel; • Investigate the notch ductility of a number of materials and the method of obtaining toughness. Communications, Networks and Optimisation (2 weeks – introductory lectures + lab sessions) Transmission media and their limitations, serial/ parallel transmission, digital/ analogue transmission, modulation, signal encoding, bandwidth, channel capacity, distortion, attenuation and design implications. • Types of networks (wired and wireless), LANs, MANs, WANs (public and private), IEEE 802.3 standards, Internet. • Routing Protocols - protocols and standards, layering and hierarchies. • Practical Network Design and Management, network configuration, users and groups, IP addressing and classful subnetting.

Teaching and learning activity

Learning and teaching will be by practical work preceded by introductory lectures in each laboratory when necessary.

Practical laboratory work will comprise:
(i) laboratory experiments and demonstrations related to fluid mechanics and hydraulics, materials science, structural concepts, mechanical principles, electrical principles, programming technologies, computer networking fundamentals; and,
(ii) Choice of 1 x 5-day specialist intensive course from a range of courses related to each of the principal engineering disciplines. Choice of courses from, e.g.: Surveying (Civil – see example above); Advanced Lego Mindstorms (Computing / EIS); Networks – Design and Implement Basic Computer Network (Computing); Communications – Receiver and Transmitter (Electrical and Electronic); Business Game (Industrial, EPM, EBM, DIE); Reinventing Leonardo da Vinci’s machines (Mechanical); Reverse Engineering (Mechanical, Industrial); Introduction to Programming Technologies (Computing – see example above). With the exception of Surveying, the intention is to rotate the choice of courses on an annual basis. Full course descriptions to be provided to students at the start of Term 1 of each academic session.

Students are encouraged to select a 5 day course from their preferred specialism, but this is not essential. The exception is Surveying, which must be taken if wishing to follow a Civil Engineering programme in subsequent stages.

Greenwich Graduate Attributes
& Autonomy
SA1 Have an informed
understanding of their
discipline or professional practice, and the ability to question its principles, practices
and boundaries

SA2 Think independently,
analytically and creatively,
and engage imaginatively
with new areas of

SA3 Appreciate disciplines and
forms of
practice beyond their own and draw connections

SA4 Are intellectually curious,
responsive to challenges,
and demonstrate
initiative and resilience
& Enterprise
CE1 Recognise and create
opportunities, and respond effectively to unfamiliar or
unprecedented situations or problems

CE2 Generate new ideas and
develop creative solutions or syntheses

CE3 Communicate clearly and effectively, in a range of
forms, taking account of
different audiences

CE4 Make use of familiar and
emerging information & communication technologies
CE5 Seize and shape the
opportunities open to them on leaving university


CCI1 Engage effectively in
groups whose members are from diverse backgrounds

CCI2 Appreciate the importance of behaving sustainably

CCI3 Move fluently between diifferent cultural,social and political contexts

CCI4 Value the ability to
communicate in more than one language

Course Activities & Greenwich Graduate Activities
Course Activity Greenwich Graduate Attribute
Follow written instructions SA1, SA2, SA3, SA4
Collection and critical analysis of data SA1, SA2, SA3, SA4, CE1, CE2, CE3, CE4, CCI1, CCI2
Reporting and presentation of data SA1, SA2, SA3, SA4, CE3, CE4, CCI1
Implementation and testing SA1, SA2, SA3, SA4, CE1, CE3, CE4, CCI1
Teamwork CE1, CE2, CE3, CE4, CE5, CCI1, CCI2, CCI3,


All elements of summative assessment must be passed to pass the course.
In order to meet professional body requirements, students are expected to pass this course at 40% overall and with a minimum of 30% for each component.

Lab Practical - 60%
LO - 1-5.
Pass mark - 40%
Laboratory Experiments.

Seminar - 10%
LO - 1-4.
Pass mark - 40%
Subject specific intensive one week field/practical work.

Exam - 30%
LO - 2,3.
Pass mark - 40%
Unseen 2 hr exam paper

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning: Application.