MEC447: Automotive Powertrain

Spring Semester
Optional on Programmes: MECT40, MECT50, MECT53


The study of powertrain offers many opportunities to further examine and understand a wide range of fundamental mechanical engineering concepts together in integrated designs.

Dr Tom Slatter & Dr Rob Woolley, Module Leads

Module Description

This module considers the performance, design and emissions of automotive powertrain – from the combustion chamber to the driven wheels. Environmental and societal developmental drivers of the attributes required of modern, globally applicable powertrain will be established. It will enable students to apply specialist knowledge (thermofluids, dynamics, materials) to internal combustion engines and their associated driveline components. 

Students will perform analysis of engine performance and select materials and design features to maximise efficiency before reviewing peers’ proposals. The industrial state of the art and future technologies from research will be examined e.g. variable valvetrain, hybridisation and electric drive, modern combustion strategies.

Key Concepts & Assumed Knowledge

Fundamental thermodynamic cycles, design of mechanisms and machine elements, and solid mechanics and materials’ performance.

Teaching Methods

• Lectures

• Tutorials

• Independent Study

Assessment Methods

• 100% Coursework: Extended individual report/assignment (3000 words). Students will be supplied with a choice of topics aligned with module topics and then given direction to appropriate sources (e.g. automotive engineering journals). Students will need to apply knowledge from the lectures to critically assess the technologies presented in the source material and apply them to a given (high level) scenario. They will then conduct a peer review to decide the best way forward for a particular scenario.

Module Aims

• Introduce the drivers (technical, environmental, societal) of the engineering development of automotive powertrain due to legislation (e.g. emissions requirements in different global markets) and customer demands (e.g. vehicle attributes required for different vehicle usage cases).

• Develop an appreciation of how fundamental engineering science (thermofluids, dynamics, materials science) can be applied to an interdisciplinary application. • Search, select and review technical literature focused on automotive powertrain technologies.

• Challenge students to apply their existing foundational understanding of (mechanical) engineering to research or industrial problems that involve more ambiguous or uncertain data and where judgement plays a much greater role.

Four students laughing while sat at a bench, outside the Students' Union

International scholarships

We offer a generous package of financial support for international students, including undergraduate and postgraduate taught scholarships towards the annual tuition fee. Applications are open for existing offer holders.