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Mechanical engineering topics for thesis writing

Jun 1, 2018

Engineering Dissertation Topics

We have provided the selection of example engineering dissertation topics below to help and inspire you.

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Example engineering dissertation topic 1:

The advantages and disadvantages of Pumped Hydroelectric Energy Storage (PHES) and Underground Pumped Hydroelectric Energy Storage (UPHES): A comparative study

The efficiency of Pumped Hydroelectric Energy Storage, a tried and tested energy storage technique, has now reached between 70 and 85 per cent. Globally, PHES installations maintain approximately 3 per cent of generating capacity. However, PHES has traditionally been restricted by geographic parameters; this dissertation considers the value of Underground Pumped Hydroelectric Energy Storage as an alternative to PHES. The study reviews the practical limitations of UPHES, including the progress made to date with this prototype concept. Finally, it offers recommendations for further advancement within the field, including issues of location and funding. 

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Example engineering dissertation topic 2:

The effects of subsidies on concentrating solar power (CSP) plants in Spain: A case study

Concentrated solar power (CSP) is a technology gaining greater ground in the sustainable market. A significant advantage of CSP plants is the ability to store excess thermal energy for utilisation later. The system has received government attention in a number of countries, most particularly Spain and the US and consequently has been the subject of subsidised power programmes of price support and power purchase. However, the effects of the global financial crisis have led to drastic reductions in the subsidies Spain provides; what effect did the subsidies previously have, and what is the future of CSP in Spain? This study examines the present situation in Spain and offers a viewpoint on the practicality of this energy source in light of diminished public funding.

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Example engineering dissertation topic 3:

Fault protection for a DC marine power system

DC powered vessels remain an important sector of the marine industry, particularly within defence programmes. In defence situations particularly, continuous uninterrupted power is vital for the safe operation of the vessel. In systems such as that described by Rozine and Adams (2008) such fault protection is increasingly important. This study examines the current options for fault management within the industry, and explores proposed new technologies to determine the most efficient fault protection for DC marine power, in applications from the defence industry to oil and offshore.

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Example engineering dissertation topic 4:

The use of Failure Mode and Effects Analysis for electrical systems in shipping: Ticking boxes or an essential tool?

Control system software is an essential aspect of vessels today; that such systems work effectively can be a matter of life and death for those serving at sea. To this end, institutions such as the US Coast Guard require that risk analysis tools such as Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) studies are undertaken to evaluate not only individual components within a vessel but with the system as a whole. However, some shipyards view this process as an unnecessary burden and cost. This dissertation records one-on-one interviews with chartered engineers who report pressure from shipyards to write highly compliant studies, and reviews the current literature, including statutory regulations.

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Example engineering dissertation topic 5:

A study of a power management system for a wind power system in County Durham

This dissertation utilises a MATLAB/Simulink simulation model for the power management system for a wind power system. It offers a variety of scenarios that include changes in weather and load demand, and uses data from the Meteorological Service to add verisimilitude. The projected wind farm would be sited in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham and the turbines would range in height from 100 to 125 metres. The power management plan would include data on power flows as well as storage. Finally, the study will include a literature review of recent wind farm installations in the UK and compare the projected results of the Newton Aycliffe wind farm with those of the wind farms in Tow Law, and East Hedleyhope, Co. Durham.

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Example engineering dissertation topic 6:

The development of guiding principles in sustainable engineering: A review

The engineers of tomorrow need to be cognisant that the ‘easy' engineering options of the past - when resources were viewed almost as infinite - no longer represent the engineering landscape of the future. This thesis reviews the principles by which engineers should guide their practice, and how those principles have come to pass. It undertakes a relatively broad review of such principles across several engineering disciplines, and makes recommendations for guidelines by which chartered engineers should in future abide.

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Example engineering dissertation topic 7:

The uptake rate of the International Professional Engineer (IntPE) qualification, 2002-2012

Unlike professions such as medicine and law, regulation and licensure in engineering varies globally, and, in the UK, the title of ‘engineer' is not protected legally. Institutions such as the Engineering Council and the Institution of Engineering and Technology seek partial redress with qualifications such as ‘Chartered Engineer'. This dissertation charts the uptake rate and motivation of the new denomination of International Professional Engineer (IntPE) since its introduction in 2002, and speculates whether there is a likelihood that such nomenclature will indeed result in greater respect for the engineering profession.

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Example engineering dissertation topic 8:

An evaluation of the biometric iris recognition system NEXUS applied at the British Columbia/Washington State border

NEXUS is an expedited border entry system operating between Canada and the United States, and utilises a biometric iris recognition system. The system is used at a number of crossings, for air, land and sea travel. This dissertation examines the effectiveness of the system at one crossing specifically: Vancouver International Airport. The study evaluates the reliability of the programme, as well as the parameters of the system, and determines whether it is the optimal system for this application; for example, more modern systems use 384 identifiers rather than the 266 identifiers in the NEXUS system.

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Example engineering dissertation topic 9:

Developing effective mechanisms for removing pollutants from water: The use of polymer-based and polymeric hybrid adsorbents

Within the field of chemical engineering the need to provide effective solutions to the problems of river pollutants has become increasingly important. Building upon the tried and tested use of activated carbons as a mechanism by which to remove pollutants, polymeric and polymer-based hybrid adsorbents have, since the turn of the millennium, become increasingly favoured within the industry. This dissertation analyses the physiochemical properties of a range of polymeric-based adsorbents through a thorough review of existing academic literature upon the subject as well as laboratory work that charts their effectiveness on a range of polluted waters.

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Example engineering dissertation topic 10:

Tunnel construction within civil engineering: The Hindhead tunnel - A case study

Situated within south-west Surrey, the Hindhead tunnel was designed to alleviate the bottleneck of traffic on the A3 from London to Portsmouth. In addition, the tunnel is the longest non-estuarial road tunnel in the United Kingdom and runs through a Site of Special Scientific Interest.  A project that was beset with problems both prior to and during construction, the tunnel has taken over 25 years to come to fruition. This dissertation firstly reviews the engineering processes that were involved in the project for, despite its popularity within the industry, a tunnel boring machine was not used in its construction and as a consequence, the tunnels are horseshoe-shaped rather than the usual circular. In addition to reviewing the engineering and geo-physical problems encountered in the construction project this dissertation also evaluates the benefits that the long-awaited tunnel has brought to the wider area.

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Example engineering dissertation topic 11:

An evaluation of overpass structural integrity in Warwickshire

The 2006 collapse of the Concorde overpass in Laval, Quebec resulted in the death of five people; in the aftermath of the disaster approximately 150 such structures were inspected and 28 were demolished, with substantial repairs to a number of the others. In view of the age of similar structures in the UK, this dissertation undertakes a superficial survey of five concrete overpasses in Warwickshire and ascertains whether further structural testing is necessary to avoid catastrophic failure.

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Example engineering dissertation topic 12:

Evaluation of a plasticity model for the analysis of earthquake soil liquefaction

This dissertation undertakes a comprehensive evaluation of the Andrianapoulos, Papadimitriou and Bouckovalas (2010) plasticity model for the analysis of earthquake soil liquefaction, using recent earthquake data from the 2010 Canterbury earthquake and the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The study further makes recommendations for refinement of the model in the light of these events.

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Example engineering dissertation topic 13:

The importance of quality assurance procedures: A case study of roof bolts in coal mines

Oft heralded by engineers as a dead weight of bureaucracy, quality assurance programmes fulfil a vital role in ensuring integrity in engineering applications. This dissertation explores a case study whereby steel roof bolts that were supplied to Dywidag-Systems International of Newcastle were labelled as AX grade steel (as ordered), but were in fact 300Plus Grade. The application of the roof bolts was in a numbers of underground coal mines, where the integrity of the steel could have an impact on the safety of dozens or even hundreds of lives. In addition to the case study mentioned, the dissertation examines the willingness of engineers to participate fully in quality assurance programmes as well as contribute in a meaningful way to their development. Finally, it includes recommendations for engineers to find ways of engaging further with the quality assurance process.

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Example engineering dissertation topic 14:

An evaluation of the validity of testing for the Rolls Royce ‘environmentally friendly engine'

The ‘environmentally friendly engine' (EFE) currently on test at Rolls Royce Bristol is creating industry buzz as the ‘next generation of civil aerospace gas turbines' (Hibbert, 2012). This dissertation examines the validity of the testing procedures for the engine to determine whether such procedures are an accurate representation of the challenges the engine will face in the real world. This is particularly pertinent given how much a company's share price may move in consideration of claims of new technologies' viability. The study features a general review of test procedures before focussing on the specific procedures on the test bench for the considerably modified Trent 1000 engine. Finally, it comments on improvements to the testing process that may not yet be economically feasible, but offer a more in-depth examination of the item on test.

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Example engineering dissertation topic 15:

Refinements in the production of moulded optical glass lenses

Presently, globally, approximately 150 million people wear corrective lenses. As affluence in countries such as China and India increases, and Chinese investment in Africa creates new manufacturing zones, this figure is set to rise. Accordingly, there is a burgeoning need for low cost, quality moulded optical lenses. This dissertation considers refinements in the manufacturing process of such lenses, as well as the growing number of patents for such processes. Further, it explores methods by which manufacture may be optimised, within an acceptable limit of diminished quality, in order to provide larger volumes of affordable lenses within a shorter time period. Finally, it makes recommendations for viable engineering plants to produce moulded lenses suitable for the markets mentioned.

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Engineering Dissertation Examples

I really like playing other people. There is no other feeling like it, to have a different voice come out of you and to have a different life for a couple of hours. I like being myself. But maybe it's like you ride a bike every day and someone says, 'For two hours tonight do you want to ride this Harley?' You'd be like, 'OK yeah!' Cristin Milioti

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