Last Updated T042020


Unit Code MME604
Unit Duration 1 Term (online) or 1 Semester (on-campus)

Master of Engineering (Mechanical)

Duration: 2 years

Year Level 2nd
Unit Creator / Reviewer Andrew Stuart / Vijay Veera
Core/Elective: Core
Pre/Co-requisites Nil


Credit Points


Masters total course credit points = 48
(12 credits (Thesis) + 3 credits x 12 (units))

Mode of Delivery Online or on-campus. 
Unit Workload

10 hours per week:

Lecture - 1 hour

Tutorial Lecture - 1 hours

Practical / Lab - 1 hour (where applicable)

Personal Study recommended - 7 hours (guided and unguided)

Unit Description and General Aims

The term "aerodynamics" is most commonly associated with aeroplanes and the overall science of flight but in fact the application of aerodynamics is much broader. Aerodynamics is the study of airflow and its principles, and applied aerodynamics is the science of improving manmade objects such as aeroplanes and automobiles in light of those principles. In addition to these mainstay applications of major forms of transportation, aerodynamic concepts are also used extensively in much simpler forms of moving objects such as bicycles and helmets.

The unit describes the fundamentals of aerodynamics as a subject by focusing on analysis, computation and measurement of turbulent flows associated with ground vehicles and high-speed aircraft.  Design is a central theme in this unit. Students will learn to evaluate and apply experimental aerodynamic concepts. Students will also learn advanced computational fluid dynamics and numerical procedures to counteract problems in the design process. There is a particular emphasis on understanding the aerodynamic designs of various vehicle types (passenger cars, trucks, trains, racing cars, etc.) along with aerodynamic concepts of high-speed compressible flow. The unit aims to improve the student’s understanding of aerodynamics of flow in cars and aircrafts.

Students will gain an understanding of the design philosophies that affect aeroplane and vehicle design and demonstrate that improved aerodynamics will lead to better fuel efficiency, improved performance, increased passenger comfort and race winning cars. Students will perform calculations in order analyse aerodynamic performance and efficiency.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this Unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Determine the engineering science related to aircraft and vehicle aerodynamics
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  2. Evaluate the essential elements of the design process and design methodologies in air-based transportation systems.
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  3. Plan, design and formulate the behaviour of new transportation systems and propose operations to improve performance of existing designs.
    • Bloom’s Level 6
  4. Valuate and make recommendations to improve the aerodynamic performance on various types of vehicle transport by employing optimization.
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  5. Judge and critique influence of aerodynamic performance on overall vehicle design based on experimental evidence and effectively communicate best practice guidelines to all stakeholders.
    • Bloom’s Level 5

Student assessment

Assessment Type (e.g. Assignment - 2000 word essay (specify topic) Examination (specify length and format)) When assessed(e.g. Week 5) Weighting (% of total unit marks) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

Type: Multi-choice test (Proctored) / Group work / Short answer questions / Role Play / Self-Assessment / Presentation

Example Topics: Fundamental concepts of aerodynamics and the factors affecting aero performance


Topic 3
15% 1, 2

Assessment 2

Type: Mid-semester test (Proctored) / Report / Research / Paper / Case Study / Site Visit / Problem analysis / Project / Professional recommendation

Example: Short/Long answers and Problems to solve

Example Topic: Application of aerodynamics in the range of air and land-based vehicles and their effectiveness in efficiency and environmental considerations


Topic 6
25% 3, 4, 5

Assessment 3

Type: Practical

Example: The student may be asked to design a complete, 2-door, closed roof, compact sports car for use on existing traditional roads. 


Topic 10
20% 1 - 5

Assessment 4

Type: Project

Word length: 4000

Topic: Analyse the theoretical aerodynamic performance of a sample Formula 1 racing car, identify areas of critical aerodynamic influence, suggest specific improvements and explain the reasoning behind the improvement


Topic 12
35% 1-5

Attendance / Tutorial Participation

Example: Presentation, discussion, group work, exercises, self-assessment/reflection, case study analysis, application.

Continuous 5% 1-5

Prescribed and Recommended readings

Required Textbook(s)

  • Theory and Applications of Aerodynamics for Ground Vehicles, 2014-03-20, T Yomi Obidi
  • P.W. Carpenter, D. Valentine, E. L. Houghton, and S. H. Collicott, Aerodynamics for Engineering Students, Sixth Edition, 2012.

Reference Materials

Number of peer-reviewed journals and websites (advised during lectures). Some examples are listed below.

  • Analysis of Turbulent Flows (2nd Revised and Expanded Edition) 2004 Elsevier
  • Simulation and Modelling of Turbulent Flows 1996 Oxford University Press
  • The Automotive Aerodynamics Handbook, 13th Edition, 2012-01-01, H.C. Landa
  • Aerodynamics of Road Vehicles, 1998-02-06
  • Other material advised during the lectures

Unit Content

One topic is delivered per contact week, with the exception of part-time 24-week units, where one topic is delivered every two weeks.


Topic 1

Introduction to Aerodynamics Part I

  1. Brief history of Aerodynamics
  2. Fundamentals of Aerodynamics
  3. Aerodynamic variables and coefficients
  4. Introduction to aerodynamics in aviation

Topic 2

Introduction to Aerodynamics Part II

  1. Introduction to aerodynamics in land vehicles
  2. Introduction to aerodynamics in energy production
  3. Introduction to aerodynamics in fluid compression devices
  4. Introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
  5. Introduction to wind tunnels

Topic 3

Principles of Aerodynamics

  1. Basic concepts
  2. Aerodynamic Forces and Moments
  3. Aerodynamic Center and Center of Pressure
  4. Types of drag on an airfoil.
  5. Aerodynamic characteristics

Topic 4

Experimental Aerodynamics in wind tunnels

  1. Wind Tunnel operation and Classification
  2. Wind tunnel test floor modification
  3. Wind Tunnel parameters and measurements
  4. Effect of wheels
  5. Track and Road testing

Topic 5

Vehicle Stability and Performance

  1. Traction for a passenger car
  2. Power calculation for vehicle operation
  3. Tire contribution on vehicle performance
  4. Trailing vortices
  5. Truck-car passing interaction

Topic 6

Vehicle Sectional Design

  1. Aerodynamics for flow over a passenger car
  2. Car front and mid-section design
  3. Car rear section design
  4. Downforce Devices
  5. Underside design and vehicle height

Topic 7

Aerodynamics of other ground vehicles

  1. Trucks, Trailers and Busses
  2. Railroad train Aerodynamics
  3. Race car aerodynamics

Topic 8

One-dimensional Wing Theory 

  1. Kutta Condition
  2. Circulation, Vorticity and Lift
  3. Thin Airfoil theory
  4. Flat plate aerodynamic coefficients.
  5. Thin Airfoil theory limitations

Topic 9

One-Dimensional Compressible flow

  1. One Dimensional Flow: Plane normal shock waves
  2. One Dimensional properties of normal shock waves.
  3. Pressure jump across normal shock
  4. Density jump across normal shock
  5. Temperature rise across normal shock
  6. Entropy change across normal shock
  7. Total pressure change across normal shock

Topic 10

Two-Dimensional Compressible flow

  1. Mach Waves
  2. Mach wave reflection
  3. Planar oblique shock relations
  4. Two-dimensional supersonic flow past a wedge

Topic 11

Flow Control and Wing Design

  1. Multi-element airfoils
  2. Boundary layer control to prevent separation
  3. Skin friction drag reduction
  4. Induced drag reduction
  5. Wave drag reduction

Topic 12

Unit Review

In the final week students will have an opportunity to review the contents covered so far. Opportunity will be provided for a review of student work and to clarify any outstanding issues. Instructors/facilitators may choose to cover a specialised topic if applicable to that cohort.

Engineers Australia

The Australian Engineering Stage 1 Competency Standards for the Professional Engineer, approved as of 2013. This table is referenced in the mapping of graduate attributes to learning outcomes and via the learning outcomes to student assessment.

Stage 1 Competencies and Elements Competency
1. Knowledge and Skill Base
1.1 Comprehensive, theory based understanding of the underpinning natural and physical sciences and the engineering fundamentals applicable to the engineering discipline.
1.2 Conceptual understanding of the mathematics, numerical analysis, statistics, and computer and information sciences which underpin the engineering discipline.
1.3 In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline.
1.4 Discernment of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline.
1.5 Knowledge of engineering design practice and contextual factors impacting the engineering discipline.
1.6 Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of sustainable engineering practice in the specific discipline.
2. Engineering Application Ability
2.1 Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem solving.
2.2 Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources.
2.3 Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes.
2.4 Application of systematic approaches to the conduct and management of engineering projects.
3. Professional and Personal Attributes
3.1 Ethical conduct and professional accountability.
3.2 Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains.
3.3 Creative, innovative and pro-active demeanor.
3.4 Professional use and management of information.
3.5 Orderly management of self and professional conduct.
3.6 Effective team membership and team leadership.

Software/Hardware Used


·        Software: ANSYS SpaceClaim, ANSYS Meshing and ANSYS Fluent

·        Version: 2020 R1

·        Instructions:  N/A

·        Additional resources or files: N/A


·        N/A