ENME404-16S2 (C) Semester Two 2016

Aerodynamics and Ground Vehicle Dynamics

15 points, 0.1250 EFTS
11 Jul 2016 - 13 Nov 2016


Aerofoil theory: potential flow, thin aerofoil and Prandtl lifting line; Boundary layer theory; Compressibility effects; Mechanics of flight; Stability and control in flight; Range and endurance; Wind tunnel testing; Glider design, build and test; Wind turbines; Ground vehicles: traction and rolling resistance, steering and suspension

This course teaches the fundamental understanding and some of the design skills required for aerodynamic design in the aviation, automotive, wind and hydroelectric power industries, and strengthens skills required for almost any industrial application with moving fluids.

Proposed teaching/delivery methods:

Lecture hours will cover the following topics, supported by private study.

Aerofoil theory:
• Pressure and shear stress distributions on aerofoils, and their integration to lift and drag
• Drag polar data for aerofoils
• Potential flow theory and the superposition principle
• Thin aerofoil theoy for symmetric and cambered aerfoils
• Prandtl lifting line theory for aerofoils of finite span
• Panel method for computing aerodynamic forces
• Boundary layer and compressibility effects

Flight dynamics and flight mechanics:
• Equations of motion for flight vehicles
• Principal axes, forces and moments, and derivatives of the same for flying vehicles
• Stability and control of flying vehicles
• Mechanics, range and endurance for gliding and powered flight

Non-lifting components:
• Empirical data on drag and lift of non-lifting components

Wind tunnel testing:
• Scaling and model choice
• Measurement uncertainty

Wind turbines:
• Wind statistics, wind shear and terrain effects
• Design types, limitations and performance
• Year-averaged performance
• Tip and hub effects; downwind interference

Ground vehicle dynamics:
• Tyre forces, traction and rolling resistance
• Power and speed
• Body roll in cornering
• Steering geometry
• Ride and suspension

A practical class in XFOIL aerofoil optimisation software with private study requirement

A practical class in wind tunnel measurement with individual report

A group activity designing and building a glider from specified materials, competitively tested, with an individual report on design rationale.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes and National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

Knowledge outcomes:

  • Solid grasp of the fluid dynamics underlying aerodynamics and methods for computing the pressure and shear stress distributions and total lift, drag and moments
  • Knowing where to find and how to manipulate empirical data to estimate drag and lift on simple bodies
  • Knowledge of the relationship between flying vehicle configuration, control surface layout and stability
  • Understanding of the common designs of wind turbines and their performance
  • Fundamental knowledge of the forces governing ground vehicle performance and comfort and their relationship to steering, suspension and tyres.

    Skills outcomes:
  • Ability to choose an appropriate airfoil for a specific application
  • Ability to design a body enclosing a given envelope for low aerodynamic or hydrodynamic drag
  • Ability to estimate thrust, power, range, endurance and speed in flight
  • Ability to set up and measure models in wind tunnels
  • Ability to design and construct simple lightweight gliders
  • Ability to compute typical wind characteristics and wind turbine power output
  • Ability to choose appropriate tyres and tyre pressures for a ground vehicle and calculate power requirements for given speeds.

    Personal attributes developed:
  • Communicating complex concepts to peers
  • Designing and constructing optimal systems with limited resources




Contact Person

Mark Jermy

Lab Technician

Patrick Geoghegan


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Wing planform assignment 07 Aug 2016 15%
Wind tunnel lab report 14 Aug 2016 15%
Glider report 02 Oct 2016 15%
Final Exam 55%


Recommended Reading

Anderson, J D; Fundamentals of Aerodynamics; McCraw-Hill, 2010 (Choose one of the recommended textbooks).

Anderson, J D; Introduction to Flight; McGraw-Hill, 2005 (Choose one of the recommended textbooks).

Auld & Srinivas; Aerodynamics for students at the University of Sydney; (Choose one of the recommended textbooks. This can be found at http://sites.google.com/site/aerodynamics4students/table-of-contents).

Houghton, E L, Carpenter, P W, Collicott, S, Valentine, D T; Aerodynamics for engineering students; Elsevier, 2012 (Choose one of the recommended textbooks).

Kuethe & Chow; Foundations of aerodynamics; Wiley, J, 1998 (Choose one of the recommended textbooks).

MIT; The Simple Science of Flight; 2009 (General Interest).

Wegener, Peter; What makes aeroplanes fly?; 2nd ed; Springer, 1997 (General interest).

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,018.00

International fee $4,863.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Mechanical Engineering.

All ENME404 Occurrences

  • ENME404-16S2 (C) Semester Two 2016