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ZUG3033 – Basic Concepts in Structural and Machine Design

Undergraduate – Module

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this module is offered.


Business, Engineering and Technology


South Africa
On-campus block of classes

  • Semester 1, 2020 (Mainstream Programme)
  • Semester 1, 2021 (Extended Programme)

12 credits, NQF Level 7


The module is aimed at introducing basic design concepts that are associated with simple engineering components and structures. These fundamental calculations form the basis of designs that must be applied to various structural and machine configurations so that they can be able to operate safely and effectively as per the specified requirements.

The module further describes the engineering design process and the criteria that must be followed when applying the fundamental principles of engineering knowledge in the design of standard machine components and structures.


On completion of the module, students will be expected to be able to:

1Understand the basic design concepts
2Apply design criteria in solving engineering problems
3Analyse and design structural components using elementary design theories
4Perform basic calculations on mechanical assemblies
5Determine the safe operating specifications for basic structures
6Understand the basic properties of materials and their application


Coursework assessment: 40%
Examination: 60%

Workload requirements

The module forms an elementary part of design, a subject that is critical to practising mechanical engineering. It addresses factors of safety and lays robust foundation for more complex and advanced designs that are covered in subsequent design modules. It provides students with exposure to logical and detailed design analysis and an understanding of solving common technical problems by synthesis.There will be a combination of lectures, that will include interactive elements, and class tests. Tutorials will be based on individual work and assignment will require group work. All outcomes will be assessed by means assignments, class tests and a final examination.

Chief examiner(s)





Basic Mathematical Concepts, Advanced Mathematical Concepts, Mechanics: The Interaction of Forces, Engineering Design Graphics


Strength of Materials under Simple Loading Conditions, Material Science and Properties, Differential and Integral Calculus, Fundamental Principles in Machine Dynamics