Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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AEM 4203: Propulsion

Catalog Description



AEM 4203

Aerospace Propulsion

4 Credits


Catalog Description:


Basic one-dimensional flows: isentropic, area change, heat addition. Overall performance characteristics of propellers, ramjets, turbojets, turbofans, rockets. Performance analysis of inlets, exhaust nozzles, compressors, burners, and turbines. Rocket flight performance, single-/multi-stage chemical rockets, liquid/solid propellants.


Course Web Address:


Prerequisites by Topic:


  1. Aerodynamics (AEM 4202)




P.G. Hill and C. R. Peterson, Mechanics and Thermodynamics of Propulsion, Addison Wesley, 2nd Edition, 1992.


Format of Course


4 hours of lecture per week


Computer Usage:




Course Objectives:


The objectives of this course are to develop an understanding of how air-breathing engines and chemical rockets produce thrust; an ability to do overall engine performance analysis calculations; an ability to carry out performance calculations for individual engine components; an ability to carry out performance analysis for chemical rockets; an understanding of elementary overall engine design considerations.



Course Outcomes:


Students who successfully complete the course will demonstrate the following outcomes through examinations and homework:


  1. An understanding of quasi-one-dimensional flow;
  2. An understanding of the generation of thrust in air-breathing engines and rockets;
  3. An ability to carry out simple performance analysis of subsonic and supersonic inlets;
  4. An ability to carry out overall performance calculations of turbojets, turbofans and turboprops;
  5. An elementary understanding of combustors, afterburners, and exhaust nozzles;
  6. An understanding of axial flow compressors and turbines, and an ability to carry out flow and performance calculations for these;
  7. An ability to carry out simple flight performance calculations for rockets;
  8. An understanding of the fundamentals of chemical rocket performance;
  9. An understanding of how liquid and solid propellant rockets work.



Relationship of course to program objectives:


This course develops knowledge of aerospace propulsion, including turbine and rocket engines.  Problem solving skills are also developed.


Relationship of course to program outcomes:


This course provides the following outcomes:

  1. Apply mathematics
  2. Identify Engineering Problems
  3. Propulsion
  4. Rocket Propulsion


Direct Measures


Outcome:  Rocket Propulsion


Performance Criteria:  Students demonstrate the ability to apply rocket equations to single and multi-stage systems.


Assessment Method: Homework assignment


Course Outline:


(Hrs, approx.)



Dynamics and thermodynamics of perfect gases


Quasi-one-dimensional flow, thrust and efficiencies


Aircraft jet engines, propellers, ramjets


Subsonic inlets, supersonic inlets


Turbojets, turbofans, turboprops


Engine performance, engine and aircraft matching


Combustors, afterburners


Axial flow compressors, preliminary design of a stage


Axial flow turbines, turbine and compressor matching


Rockets, rocket flight performance


Chemical rockets, thrust chambers, nozzles


Liquid and solid propellant engines


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 the need for, and the ability to engage in life-long learning.

6.      Use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.


Please answer the following questions regarding the course:

7.      The textbook was clearly written and appropriate for the course.

8.      The homework helped me to understand the concepts presented in the course.

9.      The tests were appropriate in length and content.

10.  The level of work required in this course was appropriate for the credit given.


In this course I acquired the following:

11.  An understanding of how to apply the conservation equations and the steady flow energy equation to propulsion devices.

12.  An ability to carry out overall engine performance analysis for turbojet, turbofan, turboprop and ramjet engines.

13.  An ability to carry out flow calculations for inlets and exhaust nozzles.

14.  An understanding of axial flow compressors and turbines.

15.  An ability to carry out simple flight performance calculations for single and multistage rockets.

16.  An understanding of how liquid and solid rockets work.


Last modified:



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