MECH 1901 Automotive Engineering and Technology

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Course Description:

    This introductory course teaches fundamental technologies in automotive engineering. It is targeted at the general student body and opens to all students of science, engineering, or even business majors. It will cover the major and important aspects of automobile engineering and technologies, including its history, development, and current state. Content wise, it will cover key components of an automobile, i.e., the engine, transmission (both manual and automatic), drive-axle system, suspension system, brake system, control, etc. In addition, it will cover the managerial and operational aspects of modern automobile companies.

    There will be little calculation involved in the teaching of this course. Instead, the focus of the course is on teaching the fundamental working principles of an automobile. For example, students will learn why the torque of the engine drops after the engine speed reaches certain level and thus obtain a firm understanding of the physical meaning of the torque vs. RPM graph. However, how exactly this graph is calculated will not be covered. As another example, students will learn why a suspension system usually uses a shock absorber by studying the general spring-mass system; however, they will not be tangled with how to solve the accompanying differential equations.

    The course will be taught using the lecture+lab method. Basically, after a new system/component is taught in the lecture, e.g., the internal combustion engine, the students will spend the next three hours in using a CAD software (SolidWorks) to design a simple internal combustion engine and to watch its computer simulation. The "design" will be mostly done using "canned" software modules and tools. In other words, students will not learn how to design; rather, they will go through the design process which will help solidify what they have just learnt in the lecture.


      Dr. Kai Tang  Dept. of Mech. Engineering; E-mail:; Tel: 2358-8656; Room: 2544; Office hours: Any time (just come to see me or email me to set up an appointment time if you like).


Grading Policy:      

Time and place:  

(note: the two lab sessions are identical, you only need to choose one to attend.)

Lab TA:      

Lab Materials:

      PPT files (please use the ones in LMES which are of the most recent versions)

      SolidWorks model files




Syllabus and Schedule:  

Part One:  Introduction to automobiles                

                        An overview

                        Electric Vehicles

                        Basic scientific principles

                        Friction, bearing, and others 

Part Two:  Engine systems

                        Fundamental of internal combustion engines

                        Electronic fuel injection fuel system

                        Carburettor fuel system

                        Power vs. torque

Part Three:  Transmissions

                        Manual transmission

                        Automatic transmission

Part Four:  Axles and drives

                        Axles and drives

Part Five:  Suspensions


Part Six:  Brakes


Part Seven:  Steering systems

                        Steering systems

Part Eight:  Review questions

                        Review questions