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.


Prerequisites by Topic:


  1. Fluid Mechanics (AEM 4201)




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


Format of Course


4 hours of lecture per week


Computer Usage:


Spreadsheets, Matlab, some programming (Fortran or C)


Course Objectives:


  1. Develop an understanding of low-speed aerodynamics
  2. Introduction to compressible flows.
  3. Concepts in incompressible airfoil theory, including symmetric and cambered airfoils using analytical and numerical approaches.
  4. 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.
  5. Topics in elementary gas dynamics, including expansion waves and shock waves, as well as thin airfoils in compressible flows.


Course Outcomes:


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 develops knowledge of aerodynamics necessary for success in aerospace engineering.


Relationship of course to student outcomes:


This course is used to assess the following student outcome:


  1. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.


In addition, the course supports the following student outcomes:


  1. An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration public health, safety and welfare, as well as global cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors.
  2. An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgements, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental and societal contexts.
  3. An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed using appropriate learning strategies.


Outcome Measurement


Performance Criteria:  Identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.


Assessment Method: An exam question or homework set will be identified to assess this criteria.  The expectation is that 80% of students will score at or better than 75% (roughly, C+) on this question.


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



Student Survey Questions:


This course improved my ability to do the following:


  1. Identify, formulate and solve complex problems in aerodynamics.


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


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.



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