Copyright © A. Filippone (2001-2004). All Rights Reserved.


Lambda shocks and boundary layer-shock wave interaction on airfoil profile NACA 0012. Schlieren visualization.
[from NASA SP 440, 1981]

Aerodynamics is a very broad quantitative science, with applications in aerospace (airplanes, helicopters, spacecraft, missiles, dirigibles, balloons), propulsion (jet engines, propellers, rockets), ground systems (motor vehicles, wind turbines, suspension bridges), flows in complex systems (exaust gases, radiators, engine inlets) to name just a few. Its closest disciplines are fluid dynamics, aeroelasticity and aircraft design.

In spite of this practical side, aerodynamics is a theoretical discipline, that requires the support of mathematics (vector analysis, differential equations, integration, differentiation, complex calculus, etc) and solid programming skills (for those who actually solve aerodynamic problems).

Aerodynamics is one of those disciplines affected by a huge gap between what can be covered in an course and the application of the theory to analysis and design. For this reason the going may seem rough. Many students find the theory quite difficult to follow. You are encouraged to develop your analytical knowledge and to seek help whenever you find yourself in difficulty.

The experimental part of this course is an opportunity to solve engineering problems and to show the results in a concise and explanatory manner through a technical report.

Course Unit: ME-2006

  • Level: 2
  • Credit rating: 10
  • Teaching Arrangements: 22 hours lectures, 6 hours tutorials, 2 labs.
  • Degrees: Aerospace Engineering (B.Eng, M.Eng)

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of the course the students will be able to calculate
  • Changes in flow properties across normal and oblique shock waves/expansion fans.
  • Supersonic aerodynamic characteristics of 2D wing sections
  • Supersonic aerodynamic characteristics of 3D wings
  • Flow development in nozzles and diffusers
  • Zero pressure gradient laminar boundary flow using the Blasius solution
  • Laminar boundary layer development with assigned pressure gradients

Course Outline

Part 1: Inviscid Supersonic Flows

  • Introduction to high speed flight
  • Aerothermodynamic properties, energy equation, governing flow equations
  • One-dimensional flow equations
  • Normal shock waves, applications to Pitot probes, nozzles and diffusers
  • Under and over-expanded supersonic jet flows
  • Oblique shock waves and Prandtl-Meyer expansion fans
  • Subsonic compressible flow; Prandtl-Glauert compressibility corrections
  • Linearised supersonic flow
  • Aerodynamic performances of two-dimensional wing sections
  • Three-Dimensional transonic and supersonic flows
  • Delta Wings
  • Supersonic Wind Tunnels

Part 2: Boundary Layer Flows

  • Boundary layer flows, concepts, approximations
  • Velocity profiles and boundary layer separation
  • The Navier-Stokes equations
  • Two-dimensional laminar boundary layer equations
  • Zero-pressure gradients solutions
  • Blasius and generalized Blasius transformation; Falkner-Skan flows
  • Momentum integral equation and solution methods
  • Turbulent boundary layers
NB: The official syllabus is published by the undergraduate office.


  • Supersonic Wind Tunnel: Double-wedge airfoil lift and drag

NB: Each laboratory lasts 1h 30′. Students are divided into groups of 4. A complete schedule of the experiments will be given at the start of the course. Experiments take place at The University of Manchester, George Begg Building, Floor A, Labs A2, and A14. Safety issues will be highlighted on arrival.


  • Kuethe AM, Chow CY. Foundations of Aerodynamics, McGrawHill, 5th ed. 1997.
  • Anderson JD. Foundamentals of Aerodynamics, McGraw-Hill, 2nd ed. 1991.
  • White F. Viscous Fluid Flow, McGraw-Hill, 1974
  • Additional Literature ( for the enthusiasts (including critical book reviews)

NB: Notes and laboratory handouts will be distributed during the course. For security reasons no documents will be posted through the Internet.


  • 2 hour closed-books exam at end of the year, 80 %
  • Laboratory work, 10 %
  • Mid term assignment, 10 %

NB: Date and place of the exam is set by the undergraduate during the year.

Course Work Policy

  • All laboratory work is to be submitted within 3 weeks from the date of the experiment
  • Course work submitted after deadline will not be marked.
  • Extension of the deadline can be granted, but only on a case-by-case basis
  • The report must be submitted directly to Dr. Filippone, before or after lectures
  • Reports cannot be submitted via email or fax

How Much Should you Study ?

For every hour of lecture you are expected to
  • have two hours of study, or
  • one hour of tutorial and one hour of study

NB: You are encouraged to solve standard problems, for example past examination papers, that are available from the undergraduate offices.

Seeking Help

  • The instructor will be available to answer students questions after each lecture or tutorial.
  • The instructor is available for questions in his office on Mondays and Thursdays at 17:00-18:00, or via e-mail at any time.

Rules of Conduct in the Class Room

  • Mobile telephones are to be switched off at all times.
  • Students are expected to be punctual and lectures to start on time.
  • Silence is expected from the students.
  • Background noise will not be tolerated.
  • Horseplay and willful misconduct have no place in the class room.
  • No Eating, No drinking
  • Learn More on the Students Chart.

Rules of Conduct in the Laboratory

  • Laboratories are to start on time. Students arriving late disrupt the experiment and miss the introductory lecture; They keep experimental officers and expensive equipment on stand-by. Delay at the start may compromise the completion of the work.
  • The schedule must be respected. Students CANNOT show up at a different date or at a different time, because this poses problems in the organization. If students fail to show up at the experiment that is assigned to them, they will get zero credit.

Ethical Standards

Ethical standards are needed to avoid cases of plagiarism and cheating. These include (but are not limited to): attempts to submit laboratory reports and course work without attending experiments/lectures; submitting the work done by another person; failure to give credit for ideas; photocopying books and publications covered by Copyright. Assisting other persons to cheat is also considered an offense, and may be subject to disciplinary procedures. Acts of plagiarism are reported to the undergraduate office and to the examiners. Please refer to the students handbook for further details.

Dr A. Filippone
The University of Manchester
Dept. Mechanical Engineering
George Begg Building
Office C-39
Manchester M60 1QD
United Kingdom

Phone (+44) 161- 200 3702 (direct)
Fax (+44) 161- 200 3723

Copyright © A. Filippone (2001-2004). All Rights Reserved.