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• Identify and refine objectives and content for the execution of a project.

• Identify and refine objectives and content for the execution of a project.

In this paper, you are to identify and refine objectives and content for the execution of a project and solve problems in developed technologies using well proven analytical techniques. Furthermore, illustrate a successful application of your engineering knowledge and organise yourself and your work appropriately and keep systematic records of your plans, progress and achievements.


Question 1 Define your project proposal using the structure given below

Learning outcomes

  • Question 1(a):
    • Identify and refine objectives and content for the execution of a project.
  • Question 1(b):
    • Identify and refine objectives and content for the execution of a project.
    • Gather, analyse, evaluate and use relevant material.
    • Demonstrate that you can solve problems in developed technologies using well proven analytical techniques.
    • Demonstrate a successful application of your engineering knowledge to deliver a project using established technologies and methods.
  • Question 1(c):
    • Demonstrate that you can organise yourself and your work appropriately and keep systematic records of your plans, progress and achievements.
  • a.Specific title and aim(s) for the project
    • i.Give the specific title you have chosen for your project.
    • ii.Give the aim(s) of your project – write a brief, clear statement of about 150 words that summarises what you intend to achieve in your project. It is expected that you will identify the type of engineering analysis that you will undertake.

(10 marks)

Study notes

The 10 marks are broken down as follows:

  • 3 marks for a specific title that falls within the scope of your subject area and clearly identifies your chosen topic
  • 7 marks for a clear statement of your aims, which may be in list form if you wish. Be sure to make your aims realisable and clear.
  • b.Description of the project

Write between 600 and 850 words describing how you plan to fulfil your aims: what you intend to do and how you intend to do it. You should be thinking in terms of an engineering question that you are looking to answer. This should include a description of your objectives at each stage of your project, how they link together and how they will fulfil the learning outcomes.

It is in this section that you will define the scope of your project, therefore you should identify specific areas of the OU level 3 materials that you expect to be using. You should also say how you propose to incorporate material from other parts of your engineering studies.

You should address the specific guidelines of the theme you have chosen. Use around 100 words to describe how your aims fit with the expectations. It is important that you stay within the boundaries set by the guidelines.

The subject of your project needs to offer problems which are non-trivial and rooted in the real world. Being able to show that you can tackle complex, open-ended engineering problems in a professional way is the principal aim of T452.

(35 marks)

Study notes

The 35 marks are broken down as follows:

  • 2 marks for consistency of project objectives with your specific title
  • 8 marks for consistency with the specific guidelines of the project theme
  • 10 marks for appropriateness and realisability of the project in terms of both depth and extent
  • 5 marks for addressing the learning outcomes of solving problems in developed technologies using well-proven analytical techniques, and the successful application of your engineering knowledge to deliver a project using established technologies and methods
  • 10 marks for effective presentation of your work including good, clear English and logical development of ideas. You are expected to check your spelling thoroughly and use satisfactory grammar and punctuation.

You will be penalised if you do not state how many words you have used in part (b) or if your answer falls outside the given word counts. This penalty may be as much as 5 marks.

  • c.Schedule for the project

Give an outline schedule for your work on this project. This should include a definition of the planned tasks, estimates of their duration and their relationship to each other (e.g. concurrent or sequential). It is expected that you will produce a detailed graph such as a Gantt chart showing your proposed schedule.

In order to complete your project, you may anticipate requiring equipment or software. If so, your tutor needs to know about such a requirement. If you do anticipate any such requirement, state what it is and what you have done, or intend to do, to ensure you are able to meet it. Alternatively, if you do not anticipate requiring any extra equipment or software, make sure you acknowledge this so that your tutor is informed.

(10 marks)

Question 2 Evaluating your bibliography

Learning outcomes

To gather, analyse, evaluate and use relevant material and demonstrate a self-awareness of the skills and activities needed to carry out a project by listing, describing and practically demonstrating them.

For the first stage of your literature review, you will identify suitable references. This section will require you to judge the importance of these.

  • a.Bibliography. Give full references, in OU Harvard style, to no fewer than three and no more than five papers or other documents you found useful in choosing your project and/or expect to find useful in carrying out your project. These should be subject-specific documents; they should not relate to the general topic of project work. In addition, they should not include any set books for your related OU level 3 module and they should not all come from the same source.

(4 marks)

  • b.Choose one of the references and summarise it briefly in about 150 words for your tutor. Then explain, in another 200 words or so, what its value has been in defining the problem that you propose to work on.

(11 marks)

Study notes

The 11 marks are spread between the following:

  • a clear and concise summary of your chosen document that enables your tutor to know what the document is about, even if he or she is not familiar with it
  • evidence in your explanation that you understand your chosen document
  • consistency between the subject matter of your chosen document, your explanation and your proposed project.
  • c.Summarise what you consider to be the purpose and components of a literature review.

(10 marks)

It is expected that you will reflect on the literature review and its value. You need to describe what a literature review in a technical subject needs and why. This is an important question, so to answer it well will help you develop a well-founded project.

Question 3 How have you developed the project aims over the period since you started?

Learning outcomes

Demonstrate competence in the use of the principles and conventions of project management and execution and a self-awareness of the skills and activities needed to carry out a project by listing, describing and practically demonstrating them.

This part of the assignment asks you to reflect on your project work so far. This covers the period from when you first learned of the generic titles up to the submission of this assignment. You should refer to your project log in responding to the following questions.

  • a.Consider the methods that you have used to produce your proposal. Below are a series of questions which might help you structure your answer. You are not expected to answer all of them.

Which methods used to develop your project aims have worked well? Which methods did not? Why was this? What would you do differently? How would you distinguish between an academic and a work project?

(10 marks)

  • b.Attach your initial pro forma and any emails with your tutor regarding your discussions in an Appendix to this assignment.

(4 marks)

  • c.Describe how you have responded to discussions with your tutor and to the feedback you received from your proposal.

(6 marks)


Tutor Marked Assignment 01


Question 1


The title to my project is a convertible wheelchair. An electric wheelchair that has a folded canopy at the back, which is physically moved by the user from the back to the front to convert it into a fully waterproof wheelchair (figure 1).


(Figure 1 prospective view of canopy opened [1] (John Preston 2017) 

The main aim of this project is to come up with a wheelchair that can be physically transformed into a convertible waterproof wheelchair (canopy that covers the hole wheelchair). The main structure of the canopy will be made of metal to support the canopy and plastic (waterproof material in-between the structure).   

I intend to theoretically achieve a design that will allow the convertible wheelchair design to work. The engineering questions that I must answer are:

  • History of electronic wheelchairs and how they have evolved as well as looking at current waterproof convertible wheelchairs.
  • Structural performances of metals and composites (aluminium and carbon fibre and comparing weight, stiffness (Looking at bike frames, hollow tubes, will be the start.
  • Euler’s column formula.
  • Cost.
  • Looking at materials for the waterproof canopy (best performances).
  • Forces applied on the wheelchair with the canopy extended or when folded in the back. (wind loading, weight distribution, aerodynamics, parallel forces on the canopy).
  • Safety factors.
  • Patents Standards, and Regulations on wheelchairs (width, height, etc).

(166 words)  


During this project my main purpose is to fulfil the requirements for the EMA. For this, I must complete a set of aims that will fulfil the main purpose of this project. The main aim of this project will be to analyse and answer the engineering questions, with some being mathematical (Euler’s column, forces, etc), this will require extra studies to understand the maths first and then apply it on the convertible wheelchair.

My first aim is to learn about the history and current development of electronic wheelchairs. There are plenty of sites on the internet to find out about the history of wheelchairs. Looking at the history and current wheelchairs will help me identify how they have evolved and what is currently out there so I don’t produce the same thing. This will be the start of literature review that I will be carrying out (learning outcome, Gather, analyse, evaluate and use of relevant material).

The second aim will be coming up with a design that will work (using T317 and T218). I will be looking at existing designs and designs in other products and use them on the wheelchair (pushchairs canopy). Again, the internet will be the first place to look and then maybe catalogues, etc.

The third aim will be learning about structures within this, there are various objectives I need to achieve.

Firstly, I must learn how to use Euler’s column formula for buckling, using the internet there are many examples and if I am stuck I will ask my tutor. Knowing when materials buckle will be important as this will directly have a link to what material I use to structurally support the canopy.  (learning outcome demonstrate that can solve problems in developed technologies using well proven analytical techniques).

The second objective will be to know what forces are applied (how to use and calculate it) to a canopy again to help material selection. There will be various forces applied to the wheelchair such as, parallel forces, wind loading, centre of gravity (weight of structural material), aerodynamics, etc. I will have to calculate these forces again using the internet or my tutor but, I will have to learn how to use these formulas first as I have not studied maths for 3 years so I think this will be my biggest challenge. (learning outcome demonstrate that can solve problems in developed technologies using well proven analytical techniques).

The Third objective will be knowing what materials (material characteristics) to use for the structure of the canopy (aluminium, carbon fibre, etc). There is information on materials and their stiffness so I can compare material performances (weight, strength/stiffness and costs) and use a material that will not fail. Within this I will also look at the best way to use minimal material (hollow structural tubes). Bike frames should be a good starting point and then maybe other books and journals on the internet.

The fourth objective will be to find a suitable water proof material that is also light and can be easily attached to the canopy structure. There are already lots of water proof plastic materials used for wheelchairs, pushchairs, etc. So, this should be a simple process in choosing the best material for the canopy.

The fifth objective will be to look at the safety factors for the structure and the wheelchair in terms of wind speed tipping, heavier users (tipping) so I will search this on the internet (journals, articles or books) to see which factors vary (user weight, wind, etc) and what safety factor I should have in place.

The fourth aim will be the cost of materials and manufacturing them to the relevant shape, I want the wheelchair to be within roughly £650 pounds which is what current convertible wheelchairs costs. My aim will be to improve the product but keep the price reasonable. T317 module material will be useful at this stage (good topic on costing).

The final aim of this project will be to look at patents, standards, regulations and user information. Most of this should be easily accessed online, OU library or google search, this will allow me to come up with the final product that follow these standards and theoretically design a convictable wheelchair that works better (learning outcome gather, analyse, evaluate and use relevant material).

All these aims should help me with my literature review in answering these engineering questions and then critically analysing all the above in detail to produce the final project for the delivering a project using established technologies and methods.

The aims above are linked together because knowing the history will allow me to come up with a design which will allow me to choose material structures for the wheelchair. knowing forces on the canopy and wheelchair will also help me choose a relevant structural material. looking at safety factors due to changing variables and then looking at standards/patents/regulations to conform with British standards will allow me to come up with the final design.  

The previous OU studies that may help are T317 in terms of costings (has a good section on costs). T218 may also help with the design work (design that will work for a convertible wheelchair). Unfortunately, it is rather limited as this module requires maths rather than design (concepts) so the maths will be something I must learn quickly and apply it.

(892 words)


My project is to improve a product which is the electric wheelchair looking at it from an innovation and design perspective (T317) (product improvements). I am looking to improve the usability of the wheelchair (user-friendly) in a weather environment and function easier. Although the main aim of this project is the engineering analysis. I have never studied that deep into a topic, T317 will help me in designing the product and with a bit of effort I should be able to do it. The engineering analysis will be mainly of how to support the canopy (structure) and theoretically come up with a design that can improve usability. T357 would have helped but I have not studied that module.  (118 words)


Please look at the other zipped file for the Gantt chart on excel.

Question 2



[1] John Preston [2105] (online) available at: http://www.johnpreston.co.uk/2015/11/23/mobility-scooter-canopy/ (accessed on 06/04/2016)

[2] (Bellis Mary [2014] History of The Wheelchair (online) available at: https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-the-wheelchair-1992670  accessed on 06/04/2016)


[3] (Aluminum vs Carbon fiber strength TEST Part 3 of 3 (RC Model CNC build) [2014] YouTube video added by NUDE cnc available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zwe8wp94WsE accessed on 06/04/2017)

[4] (Euler’s column formula [online] available at: http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/euler-column-formula-d_1813.htmlaccessed on 06/04/2016)


The reference I shall summarise would be the buckling formula (Euler’s column formula). This is a formula that calculates an axil load on a straight column. This formula will calculate the forces (newtons) at which the structural column shall buckle under a given amount of force. It also shows a diagram as to what happens to a column when both ends may be pivoting or one end is fixed and the other pivoting or when both ends are fixed.

The value of this reference (formula) is significant as this will allow me to choose a material that has the structural stiffness to withstand forces which are applied on the canopy of the wheelchair (wind loading, aerodynamics, parallel forces). It discusses the limitations that columns will not always be straight, which will be something I must take into consideration and find out how to calculate it when the columns are slightly bent. The reference also gives me an indication (diagram) as to what happens when both ends are fixed (this is how my canopy shall work).

I will be carrying out mathematical calculations of buckling on the materials which I think would be suitable for the structure of the wheelchair but, due to my limited maths I am sure I can follow the example given and come out with my own figures to see if the materials are stiff enough. (229words)


A literature review is required within a technical subject because firstly we need to know more about the given subject the history, areas that need to be considered for example: we need to know if something already exists or not (no point inventing the same thing) so we need to review existing knowledge.

The second point is to critically reflect the material that is out there. We need to separate the material that may be inappropriate to the selected topic. As well as critically analyse the material that will be appropriate and summarise it.

The third part will be to fill in the gaps, this is to add to the knowledge of that which already exists and allowing someone to follow it through on how this is different from what is already out there.

Question 3


The methods I used for my project aims were looking at it from an engineering analysis perspective. I tried to break each part down i.e. (I need a canopy, how is it supported, what materials. Formulas for materials (buckling). I then looked at the issues with the canopy forces, aerodynamics, etc.  I placed these as my engineering questions and then critically analyse it and do my literature review on these topics. If I can answer all those questions everything else can be based around it. The methods that did not work well was looking at it from a design prospective as I looked to improve it but with no maths or technical analysis (T218, T317). I got the idea for a convertible wheelchair from my T218 project and was going to do something similar but more in depth (design) which I learnt was not technical enough for T452.

What I would do differently next time would be to spend more time on this assignment as I am currently doing 3 modules together and maybe look at it more critically from an engineering analysis perspective. I also just recovered from knee surgery. I think these were the only issues I had.


See appendix for initial pro forma and email discussions with my tutor. 


The tutors feedback helped me soo much, as I was perhaps doing it a bit simple with no maths and not much engineering analysis. With an email and phone conversation with my tutor I think it has helped me focus and get all the technical aspects I should discuss in my final EMA report and most importantly how I should do my engineering analysis. As you can see from question 1b I think I have sufficient amount of technical aspects to analyse now and should be ok. (287 words)




[1] John Preston (2017) available at: http://www.johnpreston.co.uk/2015/11/23/mobility-scooter-canopy/  (accessed on 06/04/2017)

[2] (Bellis Mary [2014] History of The Wheelchair (online) available at: https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-the-wheelchair-1992670  accessed on 06/04/2016)

 [3] (Aluminum vs Carbon fiber strength TEST Part 3 of 3 (RC Model CNC build) [2014] YouTube video added by NUDE cnc available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zwe8wp94WsE accessed on 06/04/2017)


[4] (Euler’s column formula [online] available at: http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/euler-column-formula-d_1813.html accessed on 06/04/2016)













Please complete this form and send it to your tutor by 13 February 2017.


Usamah: An interesting and challenging problem space, I can see the need for the product from a design perspective it makes sense. There is however the challenge of the mathematics, if the project doesn’t present a significant engineering challenge then the project will struggle to meet the needs of T452. I’ve looked at your design work so far in conjunction with this project and again from a design point of view a retro fit product makes more sense as it is unlikely that you will persuade manufacturers to redesign and lengthen their existing vehicles (they’re designed already to fit in specific spaces). The structural factors may be the only way you can display significant understanding of engineering concepts perhaps alongside considerations to do with wind loading, I am willing to approve the project but with a note of caution, focus on the engineering not the design, the maths has to prove it works, T452 is not really interested in whether it looks good.


Your Details


Proposed Title

Convertible sporty wheelchair.

Project Aim

The main aim of the project is to get an electric wheelchair to be fully weather proof via a convertible canopy (a bit like the convertible car). As well as getting it to look more for the younger generation who have to use it or elderly who don’t like to look disabled.


The engineering questions would be:

  • The centre of gravity
  • the structural support for the canopy
  • the materials
  • how will the canopy work (motors or physically doing it)
  • wind loading

Chosen Guideline Topic

T317 Innovation and design



The context of my project is that I had surgery on my knee and wanted to use the electric wheelchair in town, but I felt like I was disabled (only used it because I could not walk for long periods) due to the appearance of the wheelchair. Recently it was raining and I saw a man on a wheelchair with the water proof coat that extends and covers the electric wheelchair but, it’s not the best way to protect oneself and the wheelchair from the rain and could be improve. I asked around and there are people who would like an improved younger look to the electric wheelchair as well as being fully weather proof. From my research, there isn’t a fully weather proof wheelchair out there that is convertible, the user has to screw the canopy on and off every time which is an issue for those who are not that strong.


How this will fit into t317 is that I will have to come up with a design to make it appear for the younger users (so this is a product innovation) as well as designing how the canopy will work. It will have structural issues (supporting the canopy, etc). although I have not studied t357 structural integrity design against failure.






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