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UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences


MECHM006 Power Transmission and Auxiliary Machinery Systems

To provide an overview of the consideration necessary in coupling a prime mover, via a transmission system invariable incorporating a gearbox, and an hydraulic or pneumatic pump or compressor. Additionally, the course provides an introduction to the application of Reliability, Availability and Maintainability (RAM) to an engineering system.

The main aims the module are:

  • To provide students with the skills necessary in the design and selection of components in a power train
  • To explain and discuss the factors affecting the performance of hydraulic and pneumatic systems
  • To provide students with mathematical tools needed in the design and critically assess some of the major factors affecting the performance of a power train system and its coupling to a prime mover and a hydraulic or pneumatic pump.
  • To provide by way of a project an introduction to the use RAM analysis to an engineering system.

In the RAM part of the course students are expected to undertake a systems engineering a military helicopter in the assessment stage of its development and are required to:

  • recommend the best combination of systems based on analysis of capability, reliability, development, running and life-cycle costs, as well as development time,
  • define the simplifying assumptions,¬†recommend the types of RAM contracts and contract conditions needed to ensure the contractor delivers the required RAM performance; professional ethics and responsibilities.


Code MECHM006
Alt. Code(s) MECHGM02
Title Power Transmission & Auxiliary Machinery Systems
Level M
UCL credits/ECTs 0.5/7.5
Start September
End March
Taught by Prof Kai Lou Module Coordinator
Dr William Suen
Dr Alistair Grieg
Dr Chris Nightingale


Students considering registering for this course would normally be expected to have completed intermediate level courses in dynamics, fluid mechanics and engineering mathematics (MECH2004, MECH2006 and MECH2007) although exposure to advanced level courses in these topics would be advantageous.

Method of Instruction

The course is delivered in a series of lectures organised in blocks and each covering a specific component of a power train system, while emphasis is placed on consideration of the complete system.

The coursework is based on a series of lectures concerned with RAM and is divided into two exercises: the first a group activity and the second more substantial project undertaken individually.


The course has the following assessment components:

  • Written Examination (2 hours, 65%) answer any 3 questions from 5
  • Coursework (35%)

To pass this course, students must:

  • Obtain an overall pass mark of 50% for all sections combined

Recommended Reading

  • British Standard 436 Pt3 Spur & Helical Gears
  • Viscous Fluid Flow by White, F.M.
  • Ashrae Handbooks – Refrigeration & Air Conditioning by Stoecker & Jones
  • Mechanics of Fluids by Massey, B.S.
  • Vibration for Engineers (Chapter 11) by Dimarogonas, A.D. & Haddad, S.
  • Dynamics of Rotor Bearing Systems by Goodwin, M.J.
  • Rotor Dynamics Prediction in Engineering by Lalanne, M. & Gerraris, G.
  • Balancing High Speed Machinery by Darlow, M.S.
  • Rotordynamics of Turbomachinery by Vance, J.M.
  • Dynamics of Rotors & Foundations by Kramer, E.
  • Analytical methods in rotor dynamics by Dimarogonas, A.D. & Paipetis, S.A.
  • An Introduction to Reliability & Quality Engineering by Bentley, John P.
  • Rotordynamics by Rao, J.S. (John Wiley & Sons)
  • Balancing of Rigid and Flexible Rotors by Rieger, N.F. (Shock and Vibration Info. Center, Monograph SVM-12)
  • Turbomachinery Rotordynamics by Childs. D. (John Wiley & Sons)
  • Linear and Nonlinear Rotordynamics by Yamamoto, T. and Ishida, Y. (John Wiley & Sons)

MECHM006 Power Transmission and Auxiliary Machinery Systems



Gearboxes: Tooth bending stress and contact stress calculations, size estimation, epicyclic designs. Fluid couplings, torque converters and Franco-Tosi couplings. Self-synchronising clutches.

Shafting: Design for static and fatigue loading. Alignment of lineshafting. Selection of rigid and flexible couplings. Use of flexible couplings to limit torsional vibration.

Clutches: Friction materials and mating surfaces. Plate/disk clutches. Centrifugal clutches. Cone clutches. Use of shaft brakes.

Balancing: Introduction to vibrations in rotating machinery, elementary diagnostics, and balancing

Rotary compressors: Classification, Roots-type, vane-type, screw-type compressors. Centrifugal compressors: Dimensional analysis, Euler equation, velocity diagrams, characteristics.

Pipes and ducts, pumps and fans: study of flow through non-circular pipes and ducts. Practical considerations, losses due to fittings. Pipe networks. Balancing ducting systems. Introduction to pumps and fans.

Electrical machines: the synchronous machine as a generator; construction, characteristics and control. The DC motor; construction, characteristics and control. The induction motor; construction, characteristics and control. Single-phase induction motors. Variable-speed drive systems.

Compressed air, hydraulic and firefighting systems: Theory of air compression referring to two and three-stage compressors. Air distribution systems and safety features. Theory of fire and firefighting; fire detection systems; Firefighting techniques. Hydraulic system theory; oil characteristics; pumps accumulators; distribution systems and safety features.

Reliability, Availability and Maintenance: Definitions, calculation and interpretation of failure, failure rate, MTTF, MTTR, availability. Systems reliability, redundancy and replacement strategies.

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