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Advanced Lightweight Structures and Impact (MSc)

Course Description

Designing advanced structures through novel, lightweight materials is one of the key enabling technologies for both aerospace and automotive sectors to align with national targets for reduction of carbon. In reducing inherent structural weight, it is essential not to compromise safety, as structural integrity and designing for crashworthiness become key design drivers.

Understanding how aluminium or composite structures and materials perform over its life cycle under static and dynamic loading, including crash and bird strike requires expertise in a range of areas. As new simulation and material technologies emerge, there is a continuing need for talented employees with a strong, applied understanding in structural analysis, together with competent technical skills in numerical simulation.

There are no other courses that provide dedicated specialist training in crashworthiness and impact, resulting in many of our graduates securing employment or research offers before the course finishes. Established in 2003, this course is supported by close ties with industry, through student projects, specialist lectures and more importantly, by employing our graduates.

The MSc in Advanced Lightweight Structures and Impact is suitable for graduates in engineering, physics or mathematics. This course will prepare you for an exciting career, ranging from structural analysis and design optimisation, developing crash protection systems for Formula 1, predicting aerospace component integrity after bird strike impact, and much more.

Visit the website http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/Courses/Masters/Advanced-Lightweight-Structures-and-Impact

Course overview

The MSc in Advanced Lightweight Structures and Impact is made up of eight compulsory taught modules, a group project and an individual research project. In addition to management, communication, team work and research skills, each student will attain at least the following learning outcomes from this degree course:

- To equip graduates with understanding and in depth knowledge of structural mechanics and numerical analysis for industrial and research applications.
- To provide strong applied capabilities in simulation, analysis, design and test in the structure and crashworthiness fields, and to provide students with problem solving skills for a range of industrial engineering problems using modern software.
- To develop and understanding of basic phenomena to real life engineering systems and to develop industrially relevant and marketable applied skills.
- To provide an infrastructure suitable for the completion of a fundamental or applied research project.

Our unique focus on application will equip you with strong analytical skills in structural behaviour and failure, to enable you to practically apply this knowledge to real engineering problems using the latest industrial-standard numerical tools.

There are no other courses that provide dedicated specialist training in crashworthiness and impact (which can be tailored to your career aspirations), resulting in many of our graduates securing employment or research offers before the course finishes. This MSc programme benefits from a wide range of cultural backgrounds from all over the world, which significantly enhances the learning experience for both staff and students.

Visit the website http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/Courses/Masters/Advanced-Lightweight-Structures-and-Impact

Group project

The group project aims to address one of the greatest challenges graduates face, which is the lack of experience in dealing with the complexities of working within a design team. This part of the course takes place from March to May. It is student-led and consolidates the taught material, which develops both technical and project management skills on an industrially relevant project.

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

- Objective setting, planning and project management
- Evaluate a project brief set by a client
- Develop a set of project objectives appropriate to the client’s brief
- Plan and execute a work programme with reference to key project management processes (e.g. time management; risk management; contingency planning; resource allocation)

The projects are designed to integrate knowledge, understanding and skills from the taught modules in a real-life situation. This module is typically delivered through collaboration with an industrial sponsor.

Past Group Projects include:

- Redesign of a cashworthy helicopter troop seat
- Improved crash protection for a low volume sports car
- Martian hard surface landing system
- Design of a one-stage gas gun
- Investigation of injuries caused by Unmanned Aircraft (UAV) collision
- Structural design of a light duty modular electric vehicle
- Aircraft ditching onto water.


The taught programme for the Advanced Lightweight Structures and Impact masters is generally taught from October for twelve months. You will complete eight compulsory modules. The course employs a wide range of teaching methods designed to create a demanding and varied learning environment including: structured lecture programmes, tutorials, case studies, "hands on" computing, individual projects, and guest lectures.


The taught modules (40%) are assessed by an examination or assignment
The Group Project (20%) is assessed by a written technical report and oral presentations
The Individual Research Project (40%) is assessed by a written thesis and oral presentation

Career opportunities

Industry driven research makes our graduates some of the most desirable in the world for recruitment by companies competing in the structural engineering sector, which forms a large worldwide industry.

The MSc in Advanced Lightweight Structures and Impact provide graduates with the necessary skills to pursue a successful career in automotive, aerospace, maritime and defence sectors. This approach offers you a wide range of career choices as a structural engineer at graduation and in the future.

Students who enrol come from a variety of different backgrounds. Many have specific careers in mind, such as working in automotive or aerospace disciplines (structural design, or crash protection), materials development for defence applications, or to work in the field of numerical code developments/consultancy.

Others decide to continue their education through PhD studies available within the University.

Companies that have recruited graduates of this course include:

- Airbus
- Rolls-Royce
- Jaguar Land Rover
- Aston Martin.

Visit the Advanced Lightweight Structures and Impact (MSc) page on the Cranfield University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A first or second class UK Honours degree or equivalent in mathematics, physics, computing or an engineering discipline. Candidates with a degree in a less applicable discipline, or mature applicants with alternative qualifications may be accepted subject to the discretion of the course director.

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