Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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AEM 4202: Aerodynamics

Catalog Description



AEM 4202


4 Credits


Catalog Description:


Inviscid aerodynamics. Subsonic, transonic, and supersonic airfoil theory; wing theory. Introduction to compressible flow; normal and oblique shock waves; Prandtl-Meyer expansions. Linearized compressible flow. Wing-body combinations.  Computational aerodynamics methods.


Course Web Address:


Prerequisites by Topic:


  1. Fluid Mechanics (AEM 4201)




 Foundations of Aerodynamics, 5th Edition, A.M. Kuethe and C-Y Chow, Wiley


Format of Course


4 hours of lecture per week


Computer Usage:


Spreadsheets, Matlab, some programming (Fortran or C)


Course Objectives:


The objective for this course is to develop an understanding of low-speed aerodynamics and an introduction to compressible flows. The course covers concepts in incompressible airfoil theory, including symmetric and cambered airfoils using analytical and numerical approaches. The course also covers incompressible wing theory, including down wash, lifting-line theory, elliptic wings, general twisted wings, application of fundamentals to the design of a wing to meet given performance criteria. Finally, the course covers topics in elementary gas dynamics, including expansion waves and shock waves, as well as thin airfoils in compressible flows.


Course Outcomes:


Students who successfully complete the course will demonstrate the following outcomes by tests and homework:

1.      An ability to apply airfoil theory to predict airfoil performance.

2.      An ability to analyze and optimize wing performance.

3.      A knowledge of basic compressible gas dynamics.

4.      An ability to apply principles of gas dynamics to solve compressible flow problems.

5.      An ability to analyze airfoils at subsonic, transonic and supersonic flight conditions.

6.      An exposure to recent developments in aerodynamics, with application to aerospace systems.

7.      An ability to apply the concepts of aerodynamics to the design of aerospace systems.


Relationship of course to program objectives:


This course provides elements of problem solving, fluid mechanics, aerodynamics, engineering design and written and oral communication skills essential for aerospace engineering


Relationship of course to program outcomes:


This course provides the following outcomes:


  1. Apply mathematics
  2. System design
  3. Identify engineering problems
  4. Engineering tools
  5. Aerodynamics


Course Outline:


(Hrs, approx.)



Review of potential flow


Method of images


Source panel method


Thin airfoil theory


Symmetric/cambered airfoils, flapped airfoil


Vortex panel method


Wings: down wash and induced drag


Elliptic and general lift distribution


Twisted wing


Numerical methods for wings


Basics of compressible flow and thermodynamics


One-dimensional compressible flow


Normal and oblique shock waves


Expansion waves


Linearized compressible flow


Compressibility corrections


Wing-body combinations



Outcome Measurement:


The outcomes will be measured with homework and tests.


Student Survey Questions:


This course improved my ability to do the following:


  1. Apply knowledge of math, science, and engineering.
  2. Design a system, component or process to meet desired needs.
  3. Identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.
  4. Communicate effectively.
  5. Recognize of the need for, and the ability to engage in life-long learning.
  6. Use the techniques, skills, modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.


Please answer the following questions regarding the course:


  1. The text book was clearly written and appropriate for the course.
  2. The homework helped me to understand the concepts presented in the course.
  3. The tests were appropriate in length and content.
  4. The level of work required in this course was appropriate for the credit given.


In this course I acquired the following:


  1. A knowledge of airfoil theory.
  2. A knowledge of wing theory.
  3. A knowledge of fundamental compressible gas dynamics.
  4. An understanding of the effects of compressibility on airfoil and wing performance


Last modified:





Last Modified: 2007-07-24 at 10:04:44 -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation