This course provides a solid overview of the principles of mechanical engineering to those who haven't worked in engineering or have only been peripherally involved.

This is a lighter less technical version of the more detailed alternative course "Professional Certificate of Competency in Mechanical Engineering".

Mechanical engineering in simple terms deals with any equipment that moves; this is what makes it perhaps the most broad and diverse of engineering disciplines. The mechanical discipline essentially derives its breadth from the need to design and manufacture everything from small, even nano, individual devices, such as measuring instruments, to large systems such as machine tools and power plants. Easy installation and serviceability are critical to the success of a mechanical system as is operational and design flexibility.

Understanding parameters governing the selection and design of mechanical systems is essential for identifying suitable systems for a particular application. In order to place all these issues in context, a good working knowledge of mechanical principles combined with a solid understanding of key concepts such as force, energy and heat is important.

Mechanical power transmission is discussed from the point of view of gears, couplings and bearings. Proper selection and sizing of these critical mechanical components is vital to ensuring optimum performance and improved efficiency of a mechanical system.

Recently, fluid engineering has undergone significant change and therefore a detailed overview of the underlying principles of fluid power and its applications is vital. The theory behind heat transfer, the various heat transfer mechanisms and the design of heat-exchangers is also examined. Any study of mechanical systems would be incomplete without including a review of mechanical vibrations. This will help you in monitoring, controlling and analysing vibrations and in conducting fault diagnoses in mechanical systems.

The field of maintenance has evolved into a separate and highly specialised function. An effective maintenance regime helps identify failure symptoms and enables initiation of corrective measures, for preventing unscheduled and sometimes catastrophic failures. Lastly, a discussion on the numerous standards, codes and regulations governing mechanical systems, helps put the whole program into perspective.


  • Apply basic mechanical engineering concepts such as force, work, power, moments and torque
  • Identify the various balanced and unbalanced forces and loads in a system
  • Determine the importance of common engineering material properties in relation to component life and failure
  • Perform basic design for static strength
  • Apply the theory and principles governing the operation of common mechanical drive components
  • Select appropriate gears and bearings
  • Understand the underlying principles governing the operation of common mechanical prime movers and actuators
  • Distinguish between the various heat transfer mechanisms and understand the principles governing the design of heat-exchangers
  • Perform simple design and selection of piping systems and related components
  • Monitor, control and analyse vibrations
  • Select the appropriate manufacturing system and understand the principles of design for manufacturing
  • Initiate and set up an effective but simple inspection and maintenance program (including lubrication)
  • Appreciate the need for standardisation and understand the common applicable mechanical standards and codes.

Course Outline

MODULE 1: Mechanical Engineering Basics

  • Introduction and basic concepts
  • Units for engineering quantities
  • Interpretation of mechanical drawings

MODULE 2: Engineering Materials

  • Stress - strain relationship
  • Properties of engineering materials: strength, hardness, ductility and toughness
  • Thermal processing of metals and how it affects their properties
  • Ferrous and non-ferrous alloys
  • Common failure of materials

MODULE 3: Mechanical Design

  • Basic principles
  • Factor of safety
  • Static equilibrium
  • Threaded fasteners

MODULE 4: Gears and Bearings

  • Gears
  • Troubleshooting
  • Bearings
  • Installation

MODULE 5: Mechanical Drives

  • Belt and chain drives
  • Mechanical couplings
  • Torque converters and fluid couplings
  • Clutches
  • Brakes

MODULE 6: Prime Movers

  • What is a prime mover?
  • Internal combustion engines
  • Electric motors
  • Hydraulic and air motors
  • Gas turbines
  • Selection criteria

MODULE 7: Fluid Engineering

  • Concepts
  • Piping, selection and sizing
  • Pumps and valves
  • Symbols and diagrams
  • Seals, fittings, flanges gaskets and O-rings

MODULE 8: Theory of Heat Transfer

  • Laws of thermodynamics
  • Thermal cycles
  • Heat exchangers
  • Heat pumps
  • Air conditioning

MODULE 9: Mechanical Vibrations

  • Amplitude, phase and frequency
  • Multiple degree of freedom system
  • Vibration measurement
  • Troubleshooting

MODULE 10: Manufacturing and Production Systems

  • Metal production
  • Cast making and metal melting
  • Die and precision casting
  • Heat treatment
  • Hot and cold working of metal
  • Basics of welding
  • Brazing

MODULE 11: Maintenance

  • Breakdown, preventive and predictive maintenance
  • Factors influencing equipment downtime
  • Condition monitoring
  • Non-destructive testing

MODULE 12: Mechanical Engineering Codes and Standards

  • Standardisation
  • Overview of standards
  • Benefits

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