Module code: ENGM267

Module Overview

As automotive engineers, understanding the design and analysis of road vehicle structures is crucial for ensuring safety, efficiency, and sustainability. By studying different aspects of these structures, we gain insights into the materials, geometries, and forces that affect their performance. This knowledge empowers us to develop lighter, stronger, and more fuel/energy-efficient vehicles, while also improving their crashworthiness and environmental impact.

Starting from the analysis of space required for the major vehicle components, different vehicle packaging concepts are introduced. Lightweight chassis structures are described and demonstrated with several examples of current vehicles, including aluminium space frame structures and composite monocoque chassis. The influence of the choice of material in terms of chassis stiffness and the design and manufacturing process is discussed. The concept of product life cycle in automotive engineering is introduced and the importance of sustainability in vehicle manufacturing is discussed. The Simple Structural Surface (SSS) method is described and applied to basic vehicle bodies to analyse structural load paths. Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) requirements of lightweight hybrid and electric vehicles are introduced together with relevant analysis methods. Passive safety aspects in terms of crashworthiness and impact resistance are described.


Module provider

Mechanical Engineering Sciences

Module Leader

TAVERNINI Davide (Mech Eng Sci)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 82

Lecture Hours: 5

Seminar Hours: 6

Tutorial Hours: 9

Laboratory Hours: 2

Guided Learning: 8

Captured Content: 38

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

Vehicle structures

  • Vehicle packaging requirements, constraints and concepts

  • Lightweight vehicle structures types overview

  • Stiffness of structures

  • Life cycle assessment

Vehicle structure analysis

  • Simple structural surface method

  • Fundamental theories of acoustics in automotive applications

  • NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) aspects with particular focus on hybrid and electric vehicles

  • Crashworthiness, impact resistance and safety implications

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 1 30
Coursework COURSEWORK 2 70

Alternative Assessment

Not applicable

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy will enable students to demonstrate they can:

Thus the summative assessment:

  • Undertake a research activity, using different resources, to inform the selection of suitable vehicle structures including considerations of several aspects presented in the module, and present the results in a concise report.

This is realised by the summative assessment unit: Coursework 1, formal report, learning outcomes: 1, 4, 7, 8.

  • Analyse a use-case assigned vehicle structure using methodologies and calculations learned in the module, applying engineering judgment to assess the outcomes of the analysis.

This is realised by the summative assessment unit: Coursework 2, formal report, learning outcomes: 2, 3, 5, 6.

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

  • To provide an introduction to chassis design requirements and constraints in terms of packaging and structural behaviour, including crashworthiness and NVH aspects.
  • To equip the students with effective techniques used for the design of lightweight vehicle structures.
  • To examine the current test standards for crashworthiness of road vehicles and vehicle noise.
  • To introduce product life cycle and its assessment adopted in the automotive industry.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the requirements and constraints related to lightweight vehicle structures, including load cases and packaging KT M4, M5, M6
002 Apply mathematical and scientific approaches to analyse simple vehicle structures and appreciate the assumptions and limitations inherent in their application C M1, M2, M3, M5, M6
003 Understand fundamental theories of NVH for hybrid and electric vehicles KCT M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, M6
004 Demonstrate understanding of sustainability principles in the design and manufacture of vehicles KCT M4, M6, M7, M8,
005 Be able to apply fundamental principles on vehicle packaging, vehicle structures and NVH to solve practical problems. KCPT M1, M2, M3, M5, M6, M13
006 Be able to describe the procedures for vehicle exhaust and drive-by noise tests according to the ISO standards. KP M13
007 Be able to describe crash tests that are required to be conducted on new vehicles. KP M13
008 Demonstrate understanding of product life cycle assessment in automotive engineering KCP M7, M8

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 background on available vehicle structures

  • Get students acquaint with methodologies for selecting, designing and analysing vehicles structures from a structural, material selection, NVH, crashworthiness and sustainability view point 

  • Allow students to practise the methodologies for vehicles structure analysis learned in the module via dedicated practical sessions

  • Get students equipped with basic understanding of software to tackle some of the presented analysis methods

  • Expose students to professional practice on the topic of vehicle structures via an active discussion with guest Industry and Academic experts

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Captured content: pre-corded lectures providing the assessed module content and recordings for the in-person lectures sessions

  • Lectures (in-person): where the content presented in the pre-recorded lectures is further discussed/analysed

  • Seminars (in-person): these consist of guest lectures from Industry/Academia experts on specific topics linked with the module, but not directly assessed, and/or activities including discussion of relevant research/projects

  • 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

  • Computer laboratory (in-person): where the students are thought how to apply some of the course methodologies to a use-case example by using engineering software widespread in Industry

  • 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: ENGM267

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:

  • Employability: students will be supported to develop their skills in applying relevant methodologies via the use of software that are widespread in the Industry. The module touches several aspects of the vehicle structure topic to allow students to gain a broad understanding of the problem, which will allow them to competently liaise with their future engineers colleagues on different levels. The guest seminars with the Industry professionals provide valuable insights on what aspects of their professional development the students should focus on, to access the roles in the companies in which they will be able to apply the knowledge gained in this module.
  • Sustainability: this pillar is very relevant to this module as product life cycle management and sustainability of materials, manufacturing techniques are both directly discussed in the lectures and guest seminars from Industry/Academia, and also in-depth independently researched by the students for one of the module submissions. This expose students to best practice in Industry as well as innovative/proof-of-concept solutions from scientific literature.


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Mechanical Engineering MEng 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Automotive Engineering MEng 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% 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 2025/6 academic year.