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Manufacture materials design

Manufacturing processes, selection of materials and design of components are three facets of the same task: making something that serves its purpose efficiently. Unlike many other manufacturing modules, this one emphasises the interaction of the three facets rather than teaching them independently. The module begins by establishing common elements of the three areas. You’ll then look at the main routes to manufacture of components: cutting, casting, forming and joining. Finally, you’ll examine case studies from each area. Study materials include study texts and a ‘databank’ of manufacturing processes - with criteria for deciding on process, material and design.


Start End Fee
- - -

No current presentation - see Future availability

This module is expected to start for the last time in May 2014.

What you will study

The study texts for this module are grouped into three blocks. Alongside the texts is a ‘databank’ of manufacturing processes in the form of a set of cards describing both very traditional and rather newer manufacturing processes. Each card shows the various stages of a process, and lists criteria for deciding on the process, the material and the design.

Block 1 Manufacture, materials, design establishes common elements in those three areas and examines how rapid prototyping technologies are changing the design process.

Block 2 looks in detail at each of the main routes to the manufacture of components:

Cutting Advances in cutting speeds achieved by new materials and tool design; creep feed grinding; electrical and chemical machining; cutting conditions, tool/workpiece combinations and production performance; case study on diamond tooling.

Casting Advances in metal founding; squeeze casting and hyperforge techniques; polymer processing; powder compaction; case study on cast/forge hybrids.

Forming Deformation of metals; ‘near nett shape’ advantages; case studies on constant-velocity joints and chemical vapour deposition.

Joining Principles of all bonding techniques; implications for production; competition between adhesives and traditional welding; case study on spot welds.

Block 3 consists of three extended case studies:

  • design case study
  • materials case study
  • manufacturing case study.

This module is subject to continual development and enhancement.


This module is for manufacturing, materials or design engineers and engineering managers. There are no entry requirements, but we do assume that you have already done some study, up to HNC/HND or bachelors degree level, in a suitable subject area, or have relevant experience from your employment. 

You do need to have a reasonable standard of spoken and written English to study successfully with us. Poor language skills will make study more difficult, and it will take longer. The normal requirements for English language skills are explained on our website.

If you have any doubts about whether your level of English is good enough for you to study this module you may find it helpful to look at our Skills for OU Study site.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.


T881 is an optional module in our:

Some postgraduate qualifications allow study to be chosen from other subject areas. These qualifications allow most postgraduate modules to count towards them. We advise you to refer to the relevant qualification descriptions for information on the circumstances in which this module can count towards these qualifications because from time to time the structure and requirements may change.

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service before registering.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

You will need to spend considerable amounts of time using a personal computer. 

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.

Study materials

What's included

Module books, other printed materials.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will be responsible for monitoring your progress on the module, marking and commenting on your written work and whom you can contact for advice and guidance. You can also communicate with fellow students via an online forum, which is moderated by a tutor. 

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

Professional recognition

The Open University MEng and MSc Engineering are accredited for registration as Chartered Engineer by a number of the professional engineering institutions including the Institution of Engineering Designers, the Institutions of Mechanical Engineers, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers.

The Open University is registered with The Institute of Quality Assurance (IQA), Institute of Materials (IOM) and The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), for professional recognition.

Students also studied

Students who studied this course also studied at some time:

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in May 2014, when it will be available for the last time. A replacement – Manufacture materials design (T805) – is planned for May 2015.

How to register

We regret that we are currently unable to accept registrations for this course. Where the course is to be presented again in the future, relevant registration information will be displayed on this page as soon as it becomes available.

Distance learning

The Open University is the world's leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you're at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you'll be supported throughout your studies - your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information about distance learning at the OU read Study explained.

Course facts
About this course:
Course code T881
Credits 30
OU Level Postgraduate
SCQF level 11
FHEQ level 7
Course work includes:
3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
No residential school

Student Reviews

“Fantastic course in all respects. The course is well worth doing; especially about how things are designed and the reason...”
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“This course is very good for anyone working in the field of production/manufacturing. However, although the course description may want...”
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