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CAES1507 Professional and Technical Written Communication for Engineers. Session Six Theory and Design. Feedback on Introduction. The background has to be adequate to justify the prototype invention Be sure the information about the request for the project is correct

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CAES1507 Professional and Technical Written Communication for Engineers

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Caes1507 professional and technical written communication for engineers

CAES1507 Professional and Technical Written Communication for Engineers

Session Six

Theory and Design

Feedback on introduction

Feedback on Introduction

  • The background has to be adequate to justify the prototype invention

  • Be sure the information about the request for the project is correct

  • Pay attention to the use of tenses

    • Background – Present and/or present perfect tense

    • Purpose of the project – Past tense

    • Purpose of the report – Present tense

  • Avoid using personal pronouns and possessive adjectives such as “I” and “our”

Feedback on introduction1

Feedback on Introduction

  • Use formal tone

  • Bear in mind that you’re asked to design and build a prototype of the toy to be considered for mass production, NOT the toy itself yet

  • Stick to the requirement of the project and what you’re really going to cover in the report



  • Other engineers need to know WHY you have done what you have done in your design so that they can duplicate it or improve it or change it in some way

  • Include formulae if necessary but you must explain why you have included them.

  • Use theoretical principles to explain why you have made the choices you have in your first design and why you made the changes you did in your second design.



  • PRESENT TENSE should be used unless you refer specifically to your project, for which PAST TENSE is used

  • You should include graphic information.

Example what information is included

The simple law of gravity maintains the mousetrap in a state of rest until a mouse enters the system introducing an external force that activates it. When the mouse enters the trap, it creates a force on the system due to its weight. The force puts tension on the wire activating the other parts connected to it. See Figure 1.

A general description of the overarching theory used

Explanation of theorywith specific referenceto the prototype

Refer to diagram

Example – What information is included?

Example what information is included1

The fixed pulley in the prototype mousetrap is used to change the direction of tension in the strings. The pulley is used so that the tension of the string can be transferred from one part to another even if the string is bent or twisted.

A prototype also uses a simple lever system requiring a pivot point as shown in Figure 1.

Explanation of functions of specific parts using Engineering principles

Other relevant engineering principle

Example – What information is included?

Critical thinking

Critical Thinking

  • How would you propose to IMPROVE the example in the booklet?

Writing tips

Writing Tips

  • Identify the theory/mechanism involved in the design

  • Include equations/mathematic formulae if necessary

  • Give examples to illustrate how the theory is being applied in your design

  • Include diagrams or any other forms of graphic information which aids explanation + Label the main parts of a diagram

Questions to be answered in the theory sections

Questions to be answered in the Theory sections

  • What theory or theories have you used in your prototype design?

  • How is the respective theory used in a component of your prototype?

  • Does the use of a mathematical/physics equation help in explaining the mechanism of a component of your prototype? If so, how?

In class practice task how do roller coasters work

In-Class Practice Task – How do Roller-Coasters Work?

  • Work in groups, write the theoretical principles behind the operations of roller-coasters. Your work should include sketches of diagrams and relevant equations.



  • Identification of the major parts of your prototype

  • Insert graphics (overall design + different parts)

  • Describe the structure - major parts (no need to include the procedures of making them, which is in fact the focus of next session)

Describing the major parts

Describing the major parts

  • Provide a name of the part being described

  • Identify the major function of the part

  • Describe the function of each smaller component

    • Provide the specifications (e.g. The light bulb will glow when activated indicating a mouse is trapped)

Name of the major part

Function of the major part

Function of smaller parts

Specifications of smaller parts



Points to note language

Points to Note - Language

  • Present Tense should be used

  • Signposting is needed to signal the structure of your Design

  • Orientation –

    • The bottom of…

    • On the right hand side of …

    • On top of…

    • Kitty corner to…

    • At the top right corner of…

Points to note language1

Points to Note - Language

  • Quantity –

    • Two plastic wires…

    • Three wooden boxes …

  • Reference pronouns –

    • This / it (make sure the readers know what ‘it’ refers to)

Points to note graphical representations

Points to Note – Graphical Representations

  • Include diagrams (and must be referred to in your text, e.g. Figure 1, as shown in Figure 4)

  • Include a caption for each diagram (e.g. Overall design of the burglar alarm)

  • Label all important parts

An example

The overall design of the mousetrap (figure 1) can be divided into three main parts, the base, the light box and the side track.The following sections illustrate the overall and completed design including the structure and function of each part.

General Introduction of the design – the components of the prototype

Signposting – i.e what will be included in the following sections

An Example

An example1

The base in the main body of mousetrap. This is where the mouse enters and is trapped. The bottom of the base is a movable platform which is used to activate the whole system.

Introduction of the component part

An Example

An example2

On the two side walls, there is a wooden stick settled in a track on each side and connected to the platform by plastic string. The wooden sticks are used to lock and unlock the gate in front. The gate is a sliding section which covers one side of the base. When it is released it slides down to enclose the mouse completely in the box. On the left hand side wall, a little box which has an inclined bottom and a hole on one side is attached.

Fairly general description of the structure and mechanism


Structure of the part

Function of the part

An Example

An example3

This box is used to trap a marble and the marble is trapped by another wooden stick which is also connected to the platform by wire. Two plastic wires are connected to the platform and then to the light box. The structure of the base and the inner mechanism of the base are shown in Figures 2 and 3.

Always refer to relevant diagrams

Present Tense is used

An Example

Comparison which description is better

Comparison – Which description is better?

  • Read the other version of the discussion of the Light Box design on page 31. Compare this version with the original on the same page. Which one do you think is better? Why? (Hint: think about the logical development)

Version one

Version one

  • Function of the box

  • How it works

  • Size of the box

  • Mechanism

  • Refer to figures

Version two

Version Two

  • Refer to figure 4

  • Size of the box

  • Function of the light box

  • How it works

  • Refer to figure 5

  • Mechanism



The side track

The Side Track

Is made up of + people/materials

  • consists of

  • used

  • are activated

  • is released

  • rolls and falls

  • to make contact

  • show

Is made of +materials

Is made by +people



  • Write the Theory section in group outside class. Hand in the hardcopy to the class teacher in the next lesson.

  • Start building the prototype for demonstration in Session 8.

  • Start drafting the Design section in group outside class. You will be required to hand it in Session 8.

  • Secretaries of the second meeting need to hand in the minutes (in hard copy) in the next lesson. Make copies of your minutes for your group members.

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