Module aims

From aircraft autopilots to satellite communications to re-usable space rockets, mechatronic systems are everywhere in aeronautical engineering. This course aims to give a fundamental grounding in the theory and practice of mechatronic systems relevant to aeronautics, including data acquisition systems, sensors, actuators and control systems. 

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this module, you should be able to:

1. Design and build simple prototype circuits containing basic electronic components, including voltage and current sources, resistors, capacitors, inductors, and operational amplifiers.
2. Analyse and compute the time and frequency response of simple circuits through application of fundamental network theorems.
3. Analyse and characterise signals and linear systems using various transform methods.
4. Break down a complicated engineering design, such as an electric circuit, data acquisition system, or DC actuator, into a system of interconnected subsystems. 
5. Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamentals of data acquisition systems and sensors and their application to sampling and acquisition of real-world physical signals.
6. Specify, implement and evaluate basic data acquisition and control systems. 
7. Analyse simple DC actuators and motors and associated controllers. 

Module syllabus

Electrical Circuits: Voltage and current sources, resistors, capacitors, inductors and potential dividers. Kirchhoff's laws. Series and parallel laws. Principle of superposition.
Circuit Analysis: Thevenin and Norton equivalence theorems. Resistance matching. Nodal circuit analysis.
Amplifier Circuits: Ideal operational amplifiers (op-amps), inverting and non-inverting op-amp circuits, summing amplifier, unity gain buffer, integrator circuit.
Frequency Response: Frequency response diagrams (Bode plots).
Response of Electrical Circuits.
Transfer functions and their use in characterising LTI systems. Initial- and Final-Value theorems.  Pole-zero diagrams and their relation to Fourier transforms.
Filters. Filter design. Real vs ideal filters, application to discrete data, windowing, moving average, other common filter windows.
Data Acquisition: Fundamentals of a DAQ system, sampling, Nyquist limit, Anti-aliasing, Analog to Digital Conversion, Digital to Analog Conversion, Introduction to Labview
Sensors: Potentiometers, optical encoders, strain measurement, pressure transducers, temperature sensors.
Actuators: Solenoids, DC motors, DC motor control.

Teaching methods

The module will be delivered primarily through large-class lectures introducing the key concepts and methods, supported by a variety of delivery methods combining the traditional and the technological. The content is presented via a combination of slides, whiteboard and visualiser.

Learning will be reinforced through tutorial question sheets and online and laboratory exercises, featuring analytical and experimental tasks representative of those carried out by practising engineers.  


This module presents opportunities for both formative and summative assessment.  

You will be formatively assessed through progress tests and tutorial sessions. 
You will have additional opportunities to self-assess your learning via tutorial problem sheets. 
You will be summatively assessed by a written examination at the end of the module as well as through practical laboratory assessments and online assignments.
Assessment type Assessment description Weighting Pass mark
Examination Written examination 70% 40%
Practical Labs 30%  
You will receive feedback both during the laboratory sessions and following the online assignments.
You will receive feedback on examinations in the form of an examination feedback report on the performance of the entire cohort.
You will receive feedback on your performance whilst undertaking tutorial exercises, during which you will also receive instruction on the correct solution to tutorial problems.
Further individual feedback will be available to you on request via this module’s online feedback forum, through staff office hours and discussions with tutors.

Reading list

Compulsory Reading