The module descriptors for this programme can be found below.

Composites: Design Study

Module aims

This course is designed to be an opportunity to integrate and apply the knowledge and skills learned in the preceding lecture courses/modules.

Learning outcomes

1. Tackle open-ended research work and apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations.
2. Develop oral and written communication skills and communicate the outcomes of the design study effectively and accurately.
3. Present technical information in various forms: report, oral presentation and progress meetings.
4. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding in the subject area of the project and apply this knowledge.

Module syllabus

The design project is carried out in small groups and is for the design of a portable bridge which can be transported in a van of specified size. The bridge has to be capable of being deployed over a gap which is approximately twice the van length and then must be able to support the weight of a fully laden van.



Teaching methods

Students are allocated to a group so as to achieve, as far as possible, a balance of background and experience. Each group then elects a project manager and nominates individuals to have overall responsibility for key technical areas (e.g., production, material properties, stress analysis, joining, deployment).

Following a briefing meeting to describe the project each group must elect a leader (Project Manager) to act as spokesperson and convener. Each group must also nominate one person to act as Consultant for each particular technical area (e.g., production, material properties, stress analysis, joining, deployment). Members of each group must decide between themselves which component (or components) of the bridge each individual will design (ie each student must be personally responsible for the design of a particular item(s) of the overall structure). The design of these particular item(s) must include choice of material, fabrication method, stress analysis, and costing (ie each student is ultimately responsible for all design aspects of their own item(s), although they can take advice from the Consultant within the group for any particular aspect).

After the initial briefing meeting, each group must submit, in writing (and presented verbally by the Project Manager), an outline of its study, to include scenario of design specification, consulting responsibilities, individuals’ design responsibilities, milestones and deadlines. The latter are to correspond with three (fortnightly) progress meetings. Presentations at these progress meetings should, overall, reflect the whole of the design process, from concept designs, through material selection, detail design, manufacture, costings and marketing, with all the relevant related issues being addressed at each stage.


At each of these progress meetings a one-page individual report and brief individual oral presentations will be required, and students will be questioned to ascertain the true extent of their contribution. Although each student gives an oral presentation, group members must take it in turns to present an overview of their group’s progress (ie acting in the role of Project Manager).

A full oral presentation of each group’s design (overall presentation by the Project Manager), and individual consulting and design contributions will be at the end of the project. Each final report must include a one-page “Executive Summary”, a general section on the group’s design, plus the details of each individual’s consulting and design work. Each individual’s contribution must be clearly identified.

The design study is marked out of 40 made up of 5 marks for each progress meeting, 8 for final presentation, 12 for the final report.