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Unit information: Crash Bang Wallop: Experimental Practice in 2020/21

Unit name Crash Bang Wallop: Experimental Practice
Unit code MENG10003
Credit points 10
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Ross
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


This unit introduces students to:
• the fundamentals of experimental practice through to the appropriate reporting of findings;
• different forms of basic instrumentation and measurement devices;
• the basic electronics required to acquire signals through a data acquisition device;
• how errors can be identified and quantified;
• academic / technical report writing professional practice, including the presentation of data and the identification of health and safety requirements.

Using a number of different experimental activities and supporting blended online content and seminars, the aims of the unit are to enable students to:
• identify and know the use of appropriate measurement tools;
• utilise a given instrumentation chain to record data of an appropriate sample rate and quality;
• quantify sources of error; • communicate findings through a report concisely;
• evaluate differences in theory and practice;
• engage with the health and safety process and the role of risk assessments;
• critically evaluate written work through a peer and self-assessment structure.
• engage in reflective practice

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit, students will be able to:Prepare: Undertake basic hazard identification

  1. Prepare: Undertake basic hazard identification.
  2. Design: Examine instrumentation chains for different sensor outputs.
  3. Analyse: Identify and quantify sources of error, recognising the impact on choice of measurement tool.
  4. Analyse: Evaluate results against theoretical models.
  5. Communicate: Structure a written report, including appropriate use of tables and figures, to present a coherent story.

Teaching details

Learning material including videos, notes and narrated lectures will be made available to the students online. Where possible practical activities may take place.

Assessment Details

The assessment takes the form of a written report which will be marked as Pass/Fail. This unit builds student experience and development of experimentation and report writing skills through a set of formative activities which are designed to support the learning. Students must engage with these formative activities before being eligible to submit the summative Pass/Fail assessment.

Reading and References

● General advice on writing style: Strunk, W. and White, E.B. (1918) The elements of style. Available online at (but be aware that the advice on using the active voice is outdated - formal reports should use the passive voice).
● Advice on writing scientific reports: Day, R.A. (1998) How to write and publish a scientific paper, 5th ed, Onyx Press. Available in the Queen’s Building library (T11 DAY).
● Guide to the Harvard referencing system: Anglia Ruskin University Library (2016) Harvard System. [online] Available at● Advice on error analysis and propagation: Taylor, J.R. (1997) An Introduction to error analysis: the study of uncertainties in physical measurements, 2nd ed, University Science Books. Available in the Queen’s Building library (QC39 TAY).