Fusion Funding: Linking level I & H through Design and Engineering Research


Through the BSc Design Engineering Level I Design Projects (DP) unit we aim to enhance student understanding of key theory through practical implementation. For their Level H Advanced Technology and Innovation (ATI) unit the students are expected to examine a technical area of engineering, develop their understanding and produce a research paper. This Fusion co-creation project aims to link these activities by implementing Level I DP solutions to solve Level H ATI research problems.


Level I BSc Design Engineering students were each asked to design a Fatigue Testing machine and, in order to this, they had to develop basic understanding of fatigue and fracture mechanics. These student solutions represent a wide range of designs but can essentially be condensed to two underlying technologies: Pneumatic actuation & Electric motor drive.

By providing the basic building blocks and adaptable elements students can create simple fatigue testing machines to support their ATI research through experience of research lab work yielding research output and practical understanding.


The basic design of outline systems and a reference platform have been finalised and part orders generated. This represents specifying 135 component items including structural framework, mechanical drive systems, pneumatics, programmable logic controller (PLC), data acquisition (DAQ), load cell and amplifier, motor controller and motor gearbox unit etc. Hopefully these elements will begin arriving shortly and custom components can be produced in Tolpuddle House before the end of September.

Next step:

The next stage is to build up reference platforms in both Pneumatic and Mechanical configurations. Oh, and learn how to programme a PLC, DAQ software and a SCADA package, doh!

About us:

Dr Nigel Garland is the senior lecturer is Sustainable Design within the School of Design Engineering and Computing.

Dr Zulfiqar Khan is the Director of the Sustainable Design Research Centre.