Last Updated S022019


Unit Code MME503
Unit Duration 1 Term (online) or 1 Semester (on-campus)

Graduate Diploma of Engineering (Mechanical)
Duration: 1 year 

Master of Engineering (Mechanical)
Duration: 2 years

Year Level One
Unit Creator / Reviewer Vernon Benjamin
Core/Elective: Core
Pre/Co-requisites None
Credit Points


Grad Dip total course credit points = 24
(3 credits x 8 (units))

Masters total course credit points = 48
(12 credits (Thesis) + 3 credits x 12 (units))

Mode of Delivery Online or on-campus. 
Unit Workload

10 hours per week:

Lecture - 1 hour

Tutorial Lecture - 1 hours

Practical / Lab - 1 hour (where applicable)

Personal Study recommended - 7 hours (guided and unguided)

Unit Description and General Aims

A deep knowledge of hydraulics and/or pneumatics (H/P) is vital for design of efficient hydraulic and pneumatic systems (including individual machines), maintenance and trouble-shooting. The student will gain a working knowledge of how to apply H/P to achieve desired outcomes. This unit will focus on a range of varied circuit configurations including components controlling both fluid pressure and flow. Furthermore, a good working knowledge of other items that makes up a circuit, such as, actuators: both linear (cylinders) and rotary (motors). The student will be able to apply electro-hydraulic technology, both proportional- and servo-motor types.
The student will learn to apply knowledge gained of hydrostatics and fluid flow theory to calculate circuit requirements such as load capacity, pipe sizes, heat generation and input power. This topic will also deal with correct system installation, how to achieve reliability in operation and trouble shooting of complete systems.
Topics on the social, economic and environmental issues arising from the implementation of H/P systems, especially when coupled with robotics and mechatronics will be evaluated. A well-proven PC based program will enable the student to design and test their own circuit designs. The Karnaugh mapping method will enable students to minimise the number of components in a circuit to achieve desired outcomes.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this Unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Determine the economics, and other factors for an application, to utilise an industrial H/P system in preference to other systems and to delineate which system is best.
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  2. Evaluate in detail what discrete components make up an H/P system.
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  3. Judge, critique information on optimal design, operation, troubleshooting and maintenance of H/P systems.
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  4. Formulate on the social, commercial and regulatory impacts of installing or modifying H/P systems.
    • Bloom’s Level 6
  5. Evaluate existing or propose new applications for industrial H/P systems.
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  6. Reassemble design information of a system to satisfy end-user requirements
    • Bloom’s Level 6

Student assessment

Assessment Type (e.g. Assignment - 2000 word essay (specify topic) Examination (specify length and format)) When assessed (e.g. Week 5) Weighting (% of total unit marks)  

Assessment 1

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer questions / Role Play / Self-Assessment / Presentation

Example Topic: Knowledge of physics as applicable to industrial H/P systems. Financial, social and environmental considerations needed when proposing new H/P systems. Be able to make engineering calculations to achieve this. Appreciation of H/P elements and how they are integrated into systems. Application of logic methods to optimise circuit design.


Topic 3
15% 1, 2

Assessment 2 - mid-semester test

Type: Mid-semester test (Proctored) / Report / Research / Paper / Case Study / Site Visit / Problem analysis / Project / Professional recommendation

Example: Short/Long answers and Problems to solve


Topic 6
25% 1, 2, 3

Assessment 3

Type: Practical assessments, Remote labs, Simulation software or Case studies.

Example: Hydraulics and/or pneumatics simulation in Fluidsim or SimHydraulics.


Topic 10
20%  6

Assessment 4

Type: Report (Final Project)

Word length: 4000 (excluding makers’ diagrams and layout drawings.)

Example Topic: To design a complete system including awareness of new applications for H/P systems, ways of mechanically transferring forces from actuators, and taking everything into account the student has learned to date. The student will be given project criteria that must be met. The student must show calculations, both engineering and economic. The student will verify the circuit design with simulation software such as Fluidsim hydraulics and pneumatics, or Matlab SimHydraulics.

After Topic 12 35% 3,4,5,6

Attendance / Tutorial Participation

Example: Presentation, discussion, group work, exercises, self-assessment/reflection, case study analysis, application.

Continuous 5% 1 -6

Prescribed and Recommended readings

Required textbook(s)

  1. Practical Hydraulic & Pneumatic Systems: Operations and Troubleshooting, IDC Technologies, Perth.
  2. J. Watton, Fundamentals of Fluid Power Control, 1st ed, Cambridge University Press, 2009 (on line 2012)

Reference Materials

  1. Fluid Power Circuits and Controls – Fundamentals and Applications’ by John S. Cundiff
  2. Hydraulic circuit simulation software, Fluidsim ver. 3.6 for 32 and 64 bit systems, Festo
  3. Matlab SimHydraulics or shareware simulations available on the internet
  1. Hydraulic and Pneumatic Systems: Operation and troubleshooting, 5th revision, IDC Perth Australia publication
  2. Harry L. Stewart, Pneumatics and Hydraulics, Audel Books, USA, rev 4, October 1984
  1. Other texts, peer-reviewed journals and websites. To be advised during lectures.

Unit Content

One topic is delivered per contact week, with the exception of part-time 24-week units, where one topic is delivered every two weeks.


Topic 1

Introduction to Fluid Power

  1. Introduction to Hydraulics and Pneumatics
  2. History of Hydraulics and Pneumatics
  3. Global importance, economics and future
  4. Fluid power fundamentals

Topic 2

Revision/Introduction: Hydraulic equipment components

  1. Hydraulic equipment components with respect to functionality: Hydraulic power pack; Actuators (linear and rotary); Valves (direction, pressure, flow, check and other valves); Accessories (reservoirs, accumulators, filters, heat exchangers, pipe, hoses and fluid lines)
  2. Hydraulic circuits and applications

Topic 3

Revision/Introduction: Hydraulic fluids, losses and efficiency.

  1. Hydraulic safety
  2. Hydraulic fluids and viscosity.
  3. Energy losses in the hydraulic systems
  4. Reducing losses and improving efficiency

Topic 4

Hydraulic control and automation: Control Devices and Systems

  1. Types of control: Closed-loop & Open loop
  2. Regenerative hydraulic circuit
  3. Sequencing hydraulic circuit
  4. Automated reciprocating cylinder
  5. Locked cylinder
  6. Cylinder synchronising circuits
  7. Speed control of cylinders: Meter-in, Meter-out and Bleed-off circuits
  8. Accumulators in hydraulic circuits
  9. Load sensing

Topic 5

Hydraulic control and automation: Electrical, Electronic, and PLC Control

  1. Solenoid operated DCV: Solenoid plus pilot controlled DCV
  2. Servo valves: Flapper, Jet, Characteristic, Control
  3. Proportional valves: Force controlled, Stroke controlled
  4. Introduction to the programmable logic controller (PLC)

Topic 6

Revision/introduction: Pneumatic system components.

  1. Characteristics of pneumatic systems and standards
  2. Prime movers and air compressors
  3. Air receivers and storage
  4. Air generation, preparation and distribution
  5. Pneumatic components: valves, actuators
  6. Pneumatic symbols

Topic 7

Revision/Introduction: Pneumatic systems efficiency

  1. Compressed air systems
  2. Introduction to pneumatic efficiency
  3. Systems approach
  4. Compressors control methods
  5. Comparison of compressors
  6. Assessment of compressors and systems
  7. Energy efficiency opportunities

Topic 8

Pneumatic control and automation systems

  1. Introduction to pneumatic control systems
  2. Basic pneumatic circuits: Actuator control circuits
  3. Basic pneumatic circuits: Flow amplification, Signal inversion
  4. Basic pneumatic circuits: Memory function, Delay function
  5. Basic pneumatic circuits: ON-signal delay; OFF-signal delay
  6. Basic pneumatic circuits: Logic circuits (OR, AND, NOT)
  7. Sequence plan
  8. Electro-pneumatic Devices and Systems

Topic 9

Maintenance and Troubleshooting of Fluid power systems

  1. General Maintenance
  2. Industrial hydraulic system maintenance and troubleshooting
  3. Industrial compressed air system maintenance and troubleshooting

Topic 10

Detailed analysis of hydraulic systems

  1. Select a ‘real’ machine, stationary or mobile, and analyse the use of components & their functionality in the application. Suggest improvements, etc. 

Topic 11

Detailed analysis of pneumatic systems

  1. Select a ‘real’ machine, stationary or mobile, and analyse the use of components & their functionality in the application. Suggest improvements, etc.

Topic 12

Project and/or Unit Review

In the final week students will have an opportunity to review the contents covered so far. Opportunity will be provided for a review of student work and to clarify any outstanding issues. Instructors/facilitators may choose to cover a specialized topic if applicable to that cohort.

Engineers Australia

The Australian Engineering Stage 1 Competency Standards for the Professional Engineer, approved as of 2013. This table is referenced in the mapping of graduate attributes to learning outcomes and via the learning outcomes to student assessment.

Stage 1 Competencies and Elements Competency
1. Knowledge and Skill Base
1.1 Comprehensive, theory based understanding of the underpinning natural and physical sciences and the engineering fundamentals applicable to the engineering discipline.
1.2 Conceptual understanding of the mathematics, numerical analysis, statistics, and computer and information sciences which underpin the engineering discipline.
1.3 In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline.
1.4 Discernment of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline.
1.5 Knowledge of engineering design practice and contextual factors impacting the engineering discipline.
1.6 Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of sustainable engineering practice in the specific discipline.
2. Engineering Application Ability
2.1 Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem solving.
2.2 Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources.
2.3 Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes.
2.4 Application of systematic approaches to the conduct and management of engineering projects.
3. Professional and Personal Attributes
3.1 Ethical conduct and professional accountability.
3.2 Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains.
3.3 Creative, innovative and pro-active demeanor.
3.4 Professional use and management of information.
3.5 Orderly management of self and professional conduct.
3.6 Effective team membership and team leadership.

Software/Hardware Used


  • Software: Hydraulic circuit simulation software, Fluidsim, Festo

  • Version: 3.6 for 32 and 64 bit systems

  • Instructions:  N/A

  • Additional resources or files: N/A


  • N/A