What's the first year of Mechanical Engineering like (content wise)?

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Thread starter 1 month ago
#1
Hi,
I know with each uni the content will be a bit different in one way or another but I would appreciate a general idea. Whenever I look for an answer, I usually find that 'Further Maths' pops up but never see anything relating to specific topics. What would you say the main topics are from Further Maths and are there any other stand out topics (from other subjects).

Thanks
Jay
0
1 month ago
#2
On the maths side it's usually pretty similar across unis, you'll probably revise your calculus knowledge of differentiation and integration, and usually extend your knowledge of single variable integration techniques to further maths topics (volumes of revolution, integration of parametric equations, using partial fractions in integration, integrating less straightforward functions requiring more manipulation to get them into an integrable form), maybe also t-substitutions. You'll also cover matrices and complex numbers, then begin a long love affair with differential equations, which is a pretty extensive topic and will go well beyond the simple variables-separable equations you might do in FM.

You'll later do multivariable calculus and vector calculus (although the latter might not really be covered until second year). You'll also at some point go over different coordinate systems (polar/spherical/cylindrical) with applications in calculus problem usually. Pretty much everything from this website: https://tutorial.math.lamar.edu/ will be covered in the first year or two. The Schaum's Outline of Advanced Mathematics for Scientists and Engineers also covers more or less everything you might potentially cover in the mathematical methods of most enginering courses in the first two years (some won't cover all the topics and maybe places like Oxbridge/Imperial will have slightly more than that; it's worth getting a copy as it's a good revision resource though!).

On the engineering/science side it can vary a lot more. You'll probably review A-level mechanics (both the kinds of things you've done in physics and in maths) and move towards a more mathematical (calculus based) treatment of these (especially for dynamics). You'll probably also be introduced to fluid mechanics and the mechanics of materials, and maybe some more materials science-y topics too (in terms of the properties of materials, crystal structure etc). You might also do thermodynamics, probably in conjunction with fluid mechanics (if you don't do it in first year you'll almost certainly do it in second year). Most if not all of these topics will use the aforementioned mathematical methods pretty fluently (e.g. calculus and vectors for mechanics, differential equations for fluid mechanics, maybe some matrices type stuff with the materials side of things).

Also you'll usually have "engineering design" type work and labs. These can vary a lot and I don't really remember the mechanics labs from when I was doing engineering, on the engineering design side you'll probably start learning to use various CAD softwares (e.g. AutoCAD, SolidWorks, similar) and then designing in those using the engineering science principles and mathematical methods you've studied. The labs will probably require you solve some scientific/mathematical problems in order to set up the experiment and then you will complete the experiment and write it up with all the mathematical working and scientific principles explained in a lab report afterwards.

You might also have some slightly more bull-*****y "professional practice" or "management" modules where most people kind of just zoned out because they were really easy and it was just learning what Gantt charts are, some basic principles of project management, and how to use Excel for more than just simple formulae. Sometimes these also include some slightly more useful content such as learning some basic principles of programming or how to use MATLAB or similar softwares too, if this material isn't fit into other modules or taught later in the course.
Last edited by artful_lounger; 1 month ago
1
Thread starter 1 month ago
#3
(Original post by artful_lounger)
On the maths side it's usually pretty similar across unis, you'll probably revise your calculus knowledge of differentiation and integration, and usually extend your knowledge of single variable integration techniques to further maths topics (volumes of revolution, integration of parametric equations, using partial fractions in integration, integrating less straightforward functions requiring more manipulation to get them into an integrable form), maybe also t-substitutions. You'll also cover matrices and complex numbers, then begin a long love affair with differential equations, which is a pretty extensive topic and will go well beyond the simple variables-separable equations you might do in FM.

You'll later do multivariable calculus and vector calculus (although the latter might not really be covered until second year). You'll also at some point go over different coordinate systems (polar/spherical/cylindrical) with applications in calculus problem usually. Pretty much everything from this website: https://tutorial.math.lamar.edu/ will be covered in the first year or two. The Schaum's Outline of Advanced Mathematics for Scientists and Engineers also covers more or less everything you might potentially cover in the mathematical methods of most enginering courses in the first two years (some won't cover all the topics and maybe places like Oxbridge/Imperial will have slightly more than that; it's worth getting a copy as it's a good revision resource though!).

On the engineering/science side it can vary a lot more. You'll probably review A-level mechanics (both the kinds of things you've done in physics and in maths) and move towards a more mathematical (calculus based) treatment of these (especially for dynamics). You'll probably also be introduced to fluid mechanics and the mechanics of materials, and maybe some more materials science-y topics too (in terms of the properties of materials, crystal structure etc). You might also do thermodynamics, probably in conjunction with fluid mechanics (if you don't do it in first year you'll almost certainly do it in second year). Most if not all of these topics will use the aforementioned mathematical methods pretty fluently (e.g. calculus and vectors for mechanics, differential equations for fluid mechanics, maybe some matrices type stuff with the materials side of things).

Also you'll usually have "engineering design" type work and labs. These can vary a lot and I don't really remember the mechanics labs from when I was doing engineering, on the engineering design side you'll probably start learning to use various CAD softwares (e.g. AutoCAD, SolidWorks, similar) and then designing in those using the engineering science principles and mathematical methods you've studied. The labs will probably require you solve some scientific/mathematical problems in order to set up the experiment and then you will complete the experiment and write it up with all the mathematical working and scientific principles explained in a lab report afterwards.

You might also have some slightly more bull-*****y "professional practice" or "management" modules where most people kind of just zoned out because they were really easy and it was just learning what Gantt charts are, some basic principles of project management, and how to use Excel for more than just simple formulae. Sometimes these also include some slightly more useful content such as learning some basic principles of programming or how to use MATLAB or similar softwares too, if this material isn't fit into other modules or taught later in the course.
Erm. Thank you 😂, I've just had a quick read through you reply and you've basically given me the most detailed guide that I am probably gonna find for the course, so just a massive thank you for taking the time to help out. I had some idea of what maths/physics skills I would need and had some clue on what my strengths needed to be going in to the course but just wanted some more clarity and this definitely provides that😀
1
1 month ago
#4
(Original post by Jay1709)
Erm. Thank you 😂, I've just had a quick read through you reply and you've basically given me the most detailed guide that I am probably gonna find for the course, so just a massive thank you for taking the time to help out. I had some idea of what maths/physics skills I would need and had some clue on what my strengths needed to be going in to the course but just wanted some more clarity and this definitely provides that😀
In some unis you will do more workshop sessions and a business module. Some unis have good opportunities to get involved in Formula Student.

Make sure the course you chose is accredited and a year in industry is a good option.

It'd be useful to do find out about complex numbers before uni.
0
Thread starter 1 month ago
#5
(Original post by Muttley79)
In some unis you will do more workshop sessions and a business module. Some unis have good opportunities to get involved in Formula Student.

Make sure the course you chose is accredited and a year in industry is a good option.

It'd be useful to do find out about complex numbers before uni.
Thanks for the reply, I have always wanted to ask about courses being accredited, which of these would you see as the most significant accreditation from: Engineering council, The Institution of engineering and Technology or Institution of Mechanical Engineers?
0
1 month ago
#6
(Original post by Jay1709)
Thanks for the reply, I have always wanted to ask about courses being accredited, which of these would you see as the most significant accreditation from: Engineering council, The Institution of engineering and Technology or Institution of Mechanical Engineers?
https://www.imeche.org/membership-re...tered-engineer

IMechE is usually thought to be good - they run Formula Student https://www.imeche.org/events/formula-student
0
1 month ago
#7
(Original post by Jay1709)
Hi,
I know with each uni the content will be a bit different in one way or another but I would appreciate a general idea. Whenever I look for an answer, I usually find that 'Further Maths' pops up but never see anything relating to specific topics. What would you say the main topics are from Further Maths and are there any other stand out topics (from other subjects).

Thanks
Jay
what uni are you going ?
0
Thread starter 1 month ago
#8
(Original post by slapsticjoe)
what uni are you going ?
As you maybe able to tell, I'm a bit undecided 😂, any reason why you asked?
0
1 month ago
#9
(Original post by Jay1709)
As you maybe able to tell, I'm a bit undecided 😂, any reason why you asked?
i assumed you just finished year 13 waiting for uni, as that’s the situation i’m in. I’m going to do mech eng at bath in October
0
Thread starter 1 month ago
#10
(Original post by slapsticjoe)
i assumed you just finished year 13 waiting for uni, as that’s the situation i’m in. I’m going to do mech eng at bath in October
October? Is the usual entry point not September?
0
1 month ago
#11
(Original post by Jay1709)
Hi,
I know with each uni the content will be a bit different in one way or another but I would appreciate a general idea. Whenever I look for an answer, I usually find that 'Further Maths' pops up but never see anything relating to specific topics. What would you say the main topics are from Further Maths and are there any other stand out topics (from other subjects).

Thanks
Jay
You’ll build the foundation to the key areas of mechanical engineering.

Higher level mathematics, kinematics, stress, fluid mechanics & thermodynamics. These are kind of the core content of mechanical engineering. You’ll likely also be introduced to mechanical design, workshops, some engineering applications and perhaps some electrical systems stuff.
0
1 month ago
#12
(Original post by Jay1709)
Thanks for the reply, I have always wanted to ask about courses being accredited, which of these would you see as the most significant accreditation from: Engineering council, The Institution of engineering and Technology or Institution of Mechanical Engineers?
It makes no real difference, the engineering council is a body that all the professional engineering institutions are members of.

The IET & IMeche are both able to award the CEng, and it’ll make no real difference on a CV. The IET has a slightly wider scope. When you come to getting accredited which is typically after 4 or 5 years professional experience you can pick wether to apply to the IET or IMeche based on whats more useful to you, although the differences are pretty minor most people just do it so they can get the letters after their name.

Most mechanical degrees are IMeche accredited but if you want to move institution for chartership it’s doable with some admin.
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