The course is made up of 180 credits, consisting of 120 credits of compulsory and optional taught modules followed by a 60 credit research project. Please be aware modules may be subject to change.
Fracture Mechanics and Fatigue Analysis
This module focuses on the analysis of uncracked and uncracked structures. The course aims to familiarise students in material behaviour of fractures and fatigue, and how the knowledge of structural integrity could prevent catastrophic failure which results in severe consequences. The module will focus on the analytical aspects of the main parameters, primary and secondary stresses, local and global collapse, fracture mechanics and fatigue analysis, particularly in terms of the linear elastic fracture mechanics, and elastic-plastic analysis with J-integral. Fracture and fatigue tests will be covered with practical sessions.
Students will gain a better knowledge and understanding of fracture mechanics and fatigue of metals and non-metallic materials, and will have the necessary background knowledge to deal with components and structures containing flaws.
This module will be assessed by a group assignment, and a written examination.
Materials - Metallurgy and Materials
This module will introduce the student to metallurgy and materials science, both in terms of physical and mechanical metallurgy. The module will focus on various metallic and non-metallic engineering materials in terms of their properties, fabrication and degradation mechanisms. Understanding of the influence of joining and surfacing techniques on the properties and degradation of these materials will be covered. Experience of practical methods for materials selection and failure analysis will be given, with reference to relevant international standards where applicable.
This module will be assessed by a group assignment, an individual assignment and a final examination.
NDT Inspection Methodology
This module covers the theoretical principles, advantages and disadvantages of the commonest NDT methods and techniques, to enable students to identify the correct inspection methods to be applied for a specific task (e.g. failure mechanism), and understand the essential variables for ensuring the inspection meets these requirements and provides relevant input into an engineering assessment. Students will be introduced to the fundamental processes involved in the generation of an inspection strategy in accordance with the requirements of international codes.
This module will be assessed through the preparation of an inspection procedure and strategy plan in conjunction with an examination.
Codes of Practice with Principles and Application
Based on BS 7910, this module will cover the principles of failure assessment of engineering components and structures with defects. The module will focus on the Failure Assessment Diagram (FAD) approach and fracture assessment procedure, including all key features and calculation steps, such as the three levels of analysis and their corresponding needs, requirements and procedures.
Fatigue assessment procedures based on 7910 will then be covered with fracture mechanics based calculations of fatigue crack growth. Competency statements and BS 7910 annexes, non-planar flaws and other flaw assessment procedures will also be covered.
Other commonly referred codes in engineering practices, such as R6, R5, API 579-1I, ASME FFS-1 and DNV-OS-F101 will also be discussed. New code development will also be introduced such as the EU fitness-for-services codes.
The module will be assessed by a group and individual assignment.
Stress Analysis and Plant Inspection
This module will enable you to have a thorough understanding in stress analysis with emphasis on determination of materials properties, the relevant published material data and assessment of flaw tolerance as well as yielding, constitutive laws, contact/frictional failures and impact loading which underpin the analysis for material and structural failure.
The module provides an overview of different plants and processes within several industry sectors (i.e. oil and gas upstream and downstream, power generation), leading to a thorough understanding on how different operations work, what are the elements of each process and what different assets or plant consist of. This is crucial learning for those who do not have industrial experience. Once you are familiar with typical plant and process, it is important to know why these assets need to be inspected and how they should be inspected, allowing these to refer to the stress analysis covered earlier. Major threats are introduced together with the inspection strategy to mitigate them. At the end, the concept of Risk and Risk Based Inspection (RBI) is introduced with practical exercises.
Numerical Modelling of Solids and Structures
This module is the only one of its kind approved by NAFEMS, the International Association for the Engineering Modelling, Analysis and Simulation Community.
It covers the theoretical and practical principles underlying Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Boundary Element Method (BEM) to enable students to understand advanced specialist topics in numerical analysis of stress and structures.
Students will learn the numerical tools for stress and strain simulations, particularly for stress concentration and cracks in solids, as well as simulations for non-destructive testing. The module will provide experience in the use of general purposed computer codes in engineering applications.
This module will be assessed by an assignment report and a technical presentation as well as by a group assignment and an examination.
This module aims to provide a working knowledge at professional level of the advanced techniques in reliability engineering and an ability to apply them to structural analysis, the theory on probability of flaws detection and on dimensional uncertainty of the flaws detected.
Topics covered include: Decision analysis; Event-tree analysis; Fault-tree analysis; Reliability of items; Weibull analysis; Reliability of systems; Failure Mode and Criticality Analysis; Markov Analysis; Simulation techniques; Statistical analysis of reliability data – Detection uncertainty and Dimensioning uncertainty of flaws and introduction on FORM and SORM, paving the way for more advanced study in module ME55KK.
This module will be assessed by two technical reports and an examination.
Structural Health Monitoring
This module will introduce the concepts and approaches that are currently used in structural health monitoring identification and monitoring techniques. The emphasis will be on modern approaches using input-output or output only methods applied on complex industrial applications.
The module will focus on the numerical and experimental aspects of damage detection techniques. Both numerical simulations and practical experimental analysis sessions will be carried out using different SHM methodologies.
This module will be assessed by a group assignment and numerical benchmarks.
Students will conduct research in the area of advanced NDT, Structural Life assessment, Asset Integrity Management and Reliability Engineering. At the end of the research, students must produce a dissertation of not more than 30,000 words. It is anticipated that a large number of students will carry out their dissertation in industry.
Examples of Thesis Topics
- 4D Computed Tomography study of AM metal lattice structures
- Corrosion Resistance of Anodised Al in Marine Energy Monitoring Systems
- Destructive testing of open rotor propeller blades
- Implementing ultrasonic inspection of underwater structures from a submersed platform
- Correlating cathodic protection levels to external corrosion in underground pipes
- Generation and ingress of hydrogen in cathodically polarised high strength steels
- Multiscale Modelling of Dynamic Behaviour of Composite Materials
- Ultrasonic inspection of mooring chains using array ultrasonic techniques
- Influence of side grooving on fracture toughness specimens
- Crack growing behaviour under residual stress
- Effect of post weld heat-treatment on corrosion performance of FSW 7050-T7451 aluminium alloys
- Determining the commonality between pressure vessels for fatigue reassessment
As the Course is delivered in a block teaching mode, contact between students and academic staff is high at around 40 hours during the teaching weeks, and becomes various during the following study weeks with tutorials and lab sessions as appropriate to the contents. As the course progresses the number of contact hours may be reduced as you undertake more project-based work.
How will I be taught?
These provide a broad overview of the main concepts and ideas you need to understand and give you a framework on which to expand your knowledge by private study.
Practicals are generally two-hour or three-hour sessions in which you can practise your observational and analytical skills, and develop a deeper understanding of theoretical concepts.
In the workshop you will work on individual and group projects with guidance from members of staff. You may be required to produce numerical modelling to develop a solution to an engineering problem. These sessions allow you to develop your specific modelling capacity and practice your teamwork skills.
On registration for the course you will be allocated to the course director who will be available to provide Industrial and academic support during your time at NSIRC. You will get one-to-one supervision on all project work.
Modules are taught over eight months (from October to May) and will be assessed by combination of assignments and April examinations.
For the final five months (May to September), students will conduct an individual project and prepare a dissertation, allowing the opportunity to undertake original research.