Skip to Content


Last modified: 31 Jul 2023 11:19

Course Overview

This course is one of the key courses for the MSc Advanced Structural Engineering. The aim of this course is to provide students with knowledge and skills of analysis and design of lightweight structures for mechanical, civil, aerospace, automotive and wind energy applications. 

Course Details

Study Type Postgraduate Level 5
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Piotr Omenzetter

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Postgraduate Programme

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Lightweight structures are made of advanced materials and are highly optimised for their performance. Efficient and sustainable building solutions, cheaper and safer air travel, fuel-efficient cars and competitive wind energy are some examples of the impact of recent advances in lightweight structures on our daily life. The course covers the following main topics:

  • Lightweight structures design qualities: crashworthiness, weight, stiffness and reliability
  • Lightweight structural elements
  • Material selection for lightweight structures
  • Lightweight structures topology and material optimisation
  • Lightweight structures applications in civil, mechanical, automotive, aerospace and wind energy: components, analysis, design consideration, manufacturing processes
  • Introduction to morphing, biomimetic and smart structures

A combination of hands on design and analysis workshops and lectures provide students with an opportunity to put their knowledge and skills into practice and analyse and design a variety of lightweight structures such as airframes, automotive chassis, crash-resisting elements, space structures, fixed and rotary wings and wind turbine blades.

Lightweight structures have applications in a wide range of industries, and analysis and design of these structures require a wide range of skills. A coursework assignment will assess all of the intended learning outcomes. This assignment is carefully designed to include a wide range of lightweight structures and components (design cases) from different engineering sectors. Students will select a design case relevant to their field of study and investigate both the current design and manufacturing practice and the state-of-the-art-of research relating to that component/structure. The objective of the assignment is to develop solutions superior to the current practice or to have some original contributions leading to the development of superior solution in future works. Each design case is accompanied with a list of recently published papers relevant to that case. As a starting point, students need to read these papers as part of their tutor guided independent learning activities, and then spend the entire of independent learning activities and the workshops contact hours towards achieving the objective of the assignment.

Students will be also assessed informally for learning during the workshop sessions. Discussion with tutor and reflection on their performance will allow them to continuously monitor their performance and feed this forward for improvement.  

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1 Individual design report (50%)

1 Group design report (50%)



Resit of failed component; the workload of the group project will be adjusted for individual delivery

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ProceduralApplyStudents will be able to demonstrate critical knowledge of advanced materials used in lightweight structures and the skill of selection of the right material based on a multi-criteria assessment.
ConceptualUnderstandAppraise key features of lightweight structures and their applications
ProceduralCreateStudents will be able to identify design drivers and quality measures and formulate for a given lightweight structure design problem the corresponding optimisation problem towards optimised solutions
ReflectionAnalyseStudents will be able to identify the best applicable analysis method for a given problem and conduct analytical and numerical analysis as required.

Compatibility Mode

We have detected that you are have compatibility mode enabled or are using an old version of Internet Explorer. You either need to switch off compatibility mode for this site or upgrade your browser.