Module code: ENG3170

Module Overview

In the realm of transportation, a firm grasp of vehicle dynamics, brake systems, and powertrain systems is of paramount importance. These pillars underpin the very essence of modern automotive engineering, shaping the way vehicles move, slow down, and utilise energy.

Understanding vehicle dynamics enables engineers to optimise handling, stability, and manoeuvrability, translating into safer and more enjoyable driving experiences. Brake systems, beyond mere stopping power, ensure road safety and vehicle stability, and require intricate knowledge for effective design and operation. Powertrain systems, including innovative electric and hybrid technologies, drive the propulsion of vehicles, influencing efficiency and sustainability.

Throughout the weeks the module will explore the intricate mechanics underpinning vehicle motion and how to model it in all its relevant components. Braking systems will be fully described and information will be provided on how to properly size them, based on specific targets in terms of vehicle deceleration and stability. Finally electric and hybrid electric powertrains will be described and analysed, including concepts such as regeneration and efficiency.

Module provider

Mechanical Engineering Sciences

Module Leader

TAVERNINI Davide (Mech Eng Sci)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: H331

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 61

Lecture Hours: 31

Seminar Hours: 2

Tutorial Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 14

Captured Content: 31

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

Tyre dynamics

  • Concepts of tyre slip and longitudinal and lateral forces

  • Tyre friction ellipse

  • Tyre relaxation length

  • Tyre rolling resistance

  • Magic formula tyre model

Vehicle dynamics

  • Concepts of stability in braking and ideal brake distribution

  • Vehicle cornering response

  • Effect of the suspension system design on the cornering stiffness distribution and vehicle understeer/oversteer

Vehicle systems design

  • Selection of braking systems components in order to meet regulations

Modern powertrains

  • Hybrid electric vehicle layouts

  • Fully electric vehicle layouts

  • Brake regeneration

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 40

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate understanding of scientific principles, methodologies and mathematical methods as well as the ability to describe particular systems and processes. The pieces of coursework test analytical and simulation skills, report writing as well as critical analysis capability of design solutions found in industry.

 The summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Coursework, submitted as a formal report, focusing on learning outcomes 1 and 6  

  • Final assignment, submitted as a formal report, focusing on learning outcomes 2, 3, 4 and 5

The formative assessment consists in active discussions during the lectures, either triggered by the module conveyer or directly by the students. Moreover tutorials solutions are shown and discussed in the tutorial sessions and provided afterwards.

Feedback is provided during all the tutorial sessions, while the students solve the exercises independently and the module conveyer is at hand to clarify doubts and reiterate methodologies.

Module aims

  • A systematic understanding and critical awareness of the importance of individual components and systems of modern road vehicles.
  • A knowledge of the design methods of vehicle cornering response.
  • An understanding of the energy efficiency characteristics and constraints of modern hybrid electric and fully electric powertrain solutions.
  • A knowledge of basic calculation techniques relating to vehicle dynamics.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Describe and analyse fundamental characteristics of tyres and their relation to vehicle dynamics KT C1, C13/M13
002 Simulate and evaluate longitudinal vehicle dynamics KCP C1, C2, C3, C/M13
003 Select the size of the main components of a braking system in order to meet the regulations and customers' expectations CP C3, C5, C/M15
004 Understand, describe and quantify the benefits of brake energy regeneration KC C1, C2, C3, C7
005 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of commercial, economic and social context of different powertrain layouts KP C5, C6, C7, C/M15
006 Simulate and evaluate lateral vehicle dynamics KCP C1, C2, C3, C/M13

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Give students the necessary information to understand modern road vehicles behaviour and modeling

  • Get students acquaint with methodologies for selecting, designing and analysing vehicles braking systems components

  • Allow students to practise the methodologies for vehicle dynamics analysis learned in the module via dedicated tutorial sessions

  • Get students equipped with basic understanding of software to tackle some of the presented analysis methods via the coursework, in a learning by doing approach

  • Expose students to professional practice on the topic of vehicle dynamics control and active vehicle safety systems via an active discussion based on research work and scientific papers

  • Give students the necessary background on modern fully-electric and hybrid-electric powertrain systems

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures (in-person): where the content that is assessed is presented

  • Seminars (in-person): these consist of guest lectures on specific topics linked with the module, but not directly assessed

  • Tutorials (in-person): where students are first given the space to experiment with the calculations/methodologies learned in the module and where, afterwards, the solutions are presented and discussed by the lecturers

  • Captured content: recordings for the in-person lectures

  • Guided learning: based on reading of scientific literature related to the module content, suggested by the lecturer to the students

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENG3170

Other information

The School of Mechanical Engineering Sciences is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience.

This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

  • Digital capabilities: the students will use appropriate technology to complete authentic assignments MS Word for report writing, Excel for data presentation such as graph plotting and data handling. They will also be able to use specialist software (Matlab) to solve engineering problems.

  • Sustainability: this pillar is very relevant to this module as innovative electric and hybrid electric powertrains, power losses generation and reduction, and their effect on energy efficiency of vehicles, are directly discussed in details in the module and assessed in the assignments.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Mechanical Engineering BEng (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Mechanical Engineering MEng 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Automotive Engineering BEng (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Automotive Engineering MEng 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.