Host department: Aeronautics

Time slot: AM

Who can study this module: Open to Y4 from Mechanical Engineering.


FHEQ Level: 7

How to apply: Via DSS

August resit opportunity: No

Approximate places available to students from other departments: 10

Historic number of applications from students of other departments: 25

Criteria used to select students: Random allocation

Exam: Friday 21st January 2022 morning session

Module information available on the Aeronautics website.

Applications of Fluid Dynamics

Module aims

This module explores a number of applications of fluid dynamics to areas within and beyond aeronautics, in fields such as convective heat and mass transfer, 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 explain how the aerodynamic forces arise and how they are affected by vehicle shape and motion;  

2. Analyse aerodynamic drag of both passenger and heavy road vehicles and compare testing and computational methods and understand the need for designers to compromise; 

3. Describe the essential characteristics and components of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems and apply dimensional analysis to derive key parameters describing physiological flows;

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

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

6. Recognise the various types of wind turbines and assess their aerodynamic performance, predict how much power can be extracted from the wind using the actuator disk theory and 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.


2.5 hour written examination in January (100%)

Reading list

Module leaders

Professor Joaquim Peiro