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Unit information: Structural Integrity 1 in 2016/17

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Unit name Structural Integrity 1
Unit code MENGM0030
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Mostafavi
Open unit status Not open

MENG33112 Failure of Materials



School/department Department of Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


This course aims to expand students’ knowledge of materials failure, to which they have between exposed in their second and third years, so that they can assess the integrity of engineering components. Damage tolerance of components in elastic and elastic-plastic regimes will be examined and experimental and numerical methods to obtain fracture parameters are explained. This unit will prepare the students in ‘hard’ technical skills as well as ‘soft’ skills such as teamwork, self-management and project management. Examples of engineering failures from both technical and non-technical (i.e. their root cause due to breakdown in communication and misinterpretation of rules) will be discussed. The concept of "fitness for service (FFS)" is introduced and FFS codes in different industries such as oil and gas and nuclear are reviewed.

The aims of this course are to:

  1. Introduce the concepts of fracture mechanics and structural integrity assessments, in theory and application. Industrial assessment codes such as R6 and BS7910 will be introduced.
  2. Explain the standard and recent experimental methods through which the fracture parameters are measured. For example measurement of fracture toughness and resistance curves using standards such as ASTM E399 and ASTM 1820 will be introduced.
  3. Enable students to apply fitness for service codes to industrial cases studies (e.g. Pressure vessels, piping, wind turbines, bridges and aerospace components)
  4. Give students an appreciation of the role of NDT in ensuring integrity, and how it links to structural integrity assessment.
  5. Give the students examples industrial accidents in which the breakdown of team work (e.g. lack of communications) was the main reason

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  1. Explain the theoretical background associated with parameters used in structural integrity (such as stress intensity factor and energy release rate)
  2. Use the associated standards and codes and the results of experiments performed based on them to calculate the parameters to which they have been introduced in learning outcome 1
  3. Use the standard codes of practice for assessing the structural integrity of components in safety sensitive industries (such as pressure vessels and pipes containing defects)
  4. Use the parameters introduced in learning outcomes 1 and measured in learning outcome 2 to assess the integrity of simple structures using the standard codes of practice from learning outcome 3

Contribute to a task within a team that is using codes of practice to assess simple structures in class.

Teaching details

Students receive 2 hours of lectures per week for the new material, problem solving and tutorial solutions. Written hand-outs (PowerPoints) are provided to support the lectures. Relevant standards will be available to them as part of course material. The lectures will be delivered by M. Mostafavi and Professor Hadley, Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor in Structural Integrity, TWI (The Welding Institute). Industrial case studies will be delivered by Professor Hadley with an emphasis on the role of soft skills (e.g. teamwork) employed to carry out all the tasks (technical and managerial) in the case studies.

Assessment Details

2 hour exam (100%)

Reading and References

  • Fracture Mechanics – Fundamentals and Applications (3rd Ed), T.L. Anderson, CRC Press, 2005
  • Fundamentals of Fracture Mechanics, J. F. Knott, Butterworths, 1973
  • Deformation and Fracture Mechanisms of Engineering Materials (3rd Ed), R.W. Hertzberg, Wiley, 1989