The module descriptors for our undergraduate courses can be found below:

  • Four year Aeronautical Engineering degree (H401)
  • Four year Aeronautical Engineering with a Year Abroad stream (H410)

Students on our H420 programme follow the same programme as the H401 spending fourth year in industry.

The descriptors for all programmes are the same (including H411).


Applications of Fluid Dynamics S5

Module aims

This module explores a number of applications of fluid dynamics to areas within and beyond aeronautics, in fields such as wind energy, bio-fluid mechanics, and road vehicle aerodynamics. At the same time the course will deepen the understanding of the physics and governing equations of fluid dynamics.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this module, you should be able to: 

1. Describe the main features of the flow around a road vehicle, and provide an overview of how the aerodynamic forces arise.

2. Explain how the aerodynamic forces are affected by vehicle shape and motion. 

3. Analyse aerodynamic drag and relate to the features of both passenger and heavy road vehicles.

4. Give an overview of testing and computational methods and to understand the need for designers to make trade-offs with other factors.

5. Know and describe the essential characteristics and components of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

6. Apply dimensional analysis to derive key parameters describing physiological flows.

7. Relate simple models of pulse propagation in arteries to the dynamics of a compressible fluid.

8. Construct appropriate models to describe transport and exchange process, including defining equations, boundary conditions and deriving solutions in simple cases. 

9. Know the various types of wind turbines and assess their aerodynamic performance. 

10. Predict how much power can be extracted from the wind using the actuator disk theory.

11. Analyse the performance of HAWT and VAWT using the blade-element momentum theory.

Module syllabus

• Introduction to road vehicle aerodynamics. Review of bluff-body aerodynamics: aerodynamic forces; pressure-drag versus skin friction drag; types of flow separation. Factors affecting road vehicle aerodynamics: the ground effect; 3-D effects; rotating wheels, natural wind. Analysing aerodynamic drag. Aerodynamic drag of passenger cars and heavy vehicles. Testing and computational techniques. Methods for reducing drag. An automobile manufacturer perspective.
• Bio-fluid mechanics. Nature and composition of blood and of respired air; length and time scales; characteristics of basic components and processes. Dimensional analysis (Womersley & other parameters); Brownian motion and diffusion; particle transport; diffusion equation. Modelling flows; convective transport; exchange processes; equations and appropriate boundary conditions, losses. Applications & illustrations: flow measurement techniques, application of computational methods
• Aerodynamics of wind turbines. Introduction: Extracting energy from the wind; wind energy landscape; the atmospheric boundary layer; typology of wind turbines; drag versus lift devices. Horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWT): nomenclature; evolution of HAWT; actuator-disk theory and Betz limit; blade-element momentum (BEM) theory; blade tip corrections. Vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWT): nomenclature; actuator-disk theory; BEM theory; HAWT vs VAWT.

Teaching methods

The module will be delivered primarily through large-class lectures introducing the key concepts and methods, supported by a variety of delivery methods combining the traditional and the technological.  The content is presented via a combination of slides, whiteboard and visualizer.

Learning will be reinforced through tutorial question sheets.


This module presents opportunities for both formative and summative assessment. 
You will be formatively assessed through progress tests and tutorial sessions.
You will have additional opportunities to self-assess your learning via tutorial problem sheets.
You will be summatively assessed by a written closed-book examination at the end of the module.

Assessment type Assessment description Weighting Pass mark
Examination Closed-book written examination 100% 50%

You will receive feedback on examinations in the form of an examination feedback report on the performance of the entire cohort.

You will receive feedback on your performance whilst undertaking tutorial exercises, during which you will also receive instruction on the correct solution to tutorial problems.

Further individual feedback will be available to you on request via this module’s online feedback forum, through staff office hours and discussions with tutors.

Module leaders

Professor Joaquim Peiro