Unit Name


Unit Code


Unit Duration

12 weeks


Master of Engineering (Mechanical) Duration: 2 years

Year Level


Unit Creator/Reviewer

Andrew Stuart




All MME50X units (nested Graduate Diploma)

Credit Points


Masters total course credit points = 48

(12 credits (Thesis) + 3 credits x 12 (units))

Mode of Delivery

On-Campus or Online

Unit Workload

Student workload including “contact hours” = 10 hours per week: Lecture - 1 hour

Tutorial Lecture - 1 hours

Practical / Lab - 1 hour (where applicable) Personal Study recommended - 7 hours

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 uses 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 aircraft and high speed ground vehicles including racing cars. 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. In addition to flying transport such as planes and helicopters, there is a particular emphasis on various vehicle types (passenger cars, trucks, trains, motorcycles, racing cars, etc.). The unit is focused on cars, trucks and high speed trains which are the most common vehicles in the speed range in which the study of ground vehicle aerodynamics is beneficial.

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. Evaluate the engineering science related to aircraft and vehicle aerodynamics

  2. Analyse the essential elements of the design process and design methodologies

  3. Instil leadership, professional behaviour and ethical practice in the context of design projects

  4. Formulate effective communications to all stakeholders using systems and techniques in the application of aerodynamics on various types of vehicle transport

  5. Multidisciplinary and Social, economic and environmental aspects of the research approach and methodologies

    Professional Development

    Completing this unit may add to students professional development/competencies by:

    1. Fostering the personal and professional skills development of students to:

      1. Be adaptable and capable 21st century citizens, who can communicate effectively, work collaboratively, think critically and innovatively solve complex problems.

      2. Equipping individuals with an increased capacity for lifelong learning and professional development.

      3. Planning and organising self and others

      4. Instilling leadership qualities and a capacity for ethical and professional contextualization of knowledge

    2. Enhancing students’ investigatory and research capabilities through:

      1. Solving complex and open-ended engineering problems

      2. Accessing, evaluating and analysing information

      3. Processes and procedures, cause – effect investigations

    3. Developing the engineering application abilities of students through:

      1. Assignments

      2. Labs / practical / case studies / self-study (where applicable)

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 of Competency


Knowledge and Skill Base


Comprehensive, theory based understanding of the underpinning natural and physical sciences and the engineering fundamentals applicable to the engineering discipline.


Conceptual understanding of the mathematics, numerical analysis, statistics, and computer and information sciences which underpin the engineering discipline.


In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline.


Discernment of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline.


Knowledge of engineering design practice and contextual factors impacting the engineering discipline.


Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of sustainable engineering practice in the specific discipline.


Engineering Application Ability


Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem solving.


Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources.


Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes.


Application of systematic approaches to the conduct and management of engineering projects.


Professional and Personal Attributes


Ethical conduct and professional accountability.


Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains.


Creative, innovative and pro-active demeanour.


Professional use and management of information.


Orderly management of self, and professional conduct.


Effective team membership and team leadership.

Graduate Attributes

Successfully completing this Unit will contribute to the recognition of attainment of the following graduate attributes aligned to the AQF Level 9 criteria, Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standards for the Professional Engineer and the Washington Accord:

Graduate Attributes

(Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Professional and Personal Development)

EA Stage 1 Competencies

Professional Development

Learning Outcomes

A. Effective Communication

A1. Cognitive and technical skills to investigate, analyse and organise information and ideas and to communicate those ideas clearly and fluently, in both written and spoken forms appropriate to the audience.

2.2, 3.2


3, 4, 5

A2. Ability to professionally manage oneself, teams, information and projects and engage effectively and appropriately across a diverse range of international cultures in leadership, team and individual roles.

2.4, 3.2, 3.4,

3.5, 3.6



B. Critical Judgement

B1. Ability to critically analyse and evaluate complex information and theoretical concepts.

1.1, 1.2, 1.3,



1, 2

B2. Ability to creatively, proactively and innovatively apply theoretical concepts, knowledge and approaches with a high level of accountability, in an engineering context.

1.5, 2.1, 3.3,


A, C

1, 5

C. Design and Problem Solving Skills

C1. Cognitive skills to synthesise, evaluate and use information from a broad range of sources to effectively identify, formulate and solve engineering problems.

1.5, 2.1, 2.3

B, C

1, 2, 3

C2. Technical and communication skills to design complex systems and solutions in line with developments in engineering professional practice.

2.2, 2.3

A, B

3, 5

C3. Comprehension of the role of technology in society and identified issues in applying engineering technology ethics and impacts; economic; social; environmental and sustainability.

1.5, 1.6, 3.1


3, 5

D. Science and Engineering Fundamentals

D1. Breadth and depth of mathematics, science, computer technology and specialist engineering knowledge and understanding of future developments.

1.1, 1.2, 1.3,




D2. Knowledge of ethical standards in relation to professional engineering practice and research.

1.6, 3.1, 3.5



D3. Knowledge of international perspectives in engineering and ability to apply various national and International Standards.

1.5, 1.6, 2.4,


A, C

1, 2, 5

E. Information and Research Skills

E1. Application of advanced research and planning skills to engineering projects.

1.4, 2.4, 3.6

B, C

1, 5

E2. Knowledge of research principles and methods in an engineering context.

1.4, 1.6


1, 5

Unit Competency and Learning Outcome Map

This table details the mapping of the unit graduate attributes to the unit learning outcomes and the Australian Engineering Stage 1 Competency Standards for the Professional Engineer.


Graduate Attributes













Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competencies and Elements of Competency




























































Unit Learning Outcomes

















Student assessment

Assessment Type

(e.g. Assignment - 2000 word essay (specify topic) Examination (specify length and format))

When assessed (eg Week 5)

Weighting (% of total unit marks)

Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

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

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

Week 4


1, 2

Assessment 2

Type: Report / Research / Paper / Case Study / Site Visit

/ Problem analysis / Project / Professional recommendation

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

Week 9


3, 4, 5

Assessment 3

Type: Report (Final 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

Final Week


1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Practical Participation

Type: May be in the form of quizzes, class tests, practical assessments, remote labs, simulation software or case studies

Example: The student will design a complete, 2 door, closed roof, compact sports car for use on existing traditional roads.




Attendance / Tutorial Participation

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



1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Prescribed and recommended readings

Required textbook(s)

1. 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

  • Theory and Applications of Aerodynamics for Ground Vehicles, 2014-03-20, T Yomi Obidi

  • 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.

Topics 1 and 2

Introduction to Aerodynamics

  1. Brief history of Aerodynamics

  2. Fundamentals of Aerodynamics

  3. Aerodynamic variables and coefficients

  4. Introduction to aerodynamics in aviation

  5. Introduction to aerodynamics in land vehicles

  6. Introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

  7. Introduction to wind tunnels

  8. Summary and review

Topic 3

Principles of Aerodynamics

  1. Basic concepts

  2. Aerodynamic stream lines

  3. Inviscid incompressible flows

  4. Elementary flows

  5. Two-dimensional aerofoils

  6. Three dimensional wings

Topics 4 and 5

Aircraft Aerodynamics

  1. Introduction to aircraft aerodynamics

  2. Aircraft performance, stability and control

  3. Fundamental calculations and analyses appertaining to:

  4. Lift and drag

  5. Fixed wing aerodynamics

  6. Rotating wing aerodynamics

  7. Factors driving design

  8. CFD for external flows in aerospace applications and rotating wings

  9. Compressible flow introduction to CFD

  10. Transonic flow

  11. Modelling of dynamic systems

  12. Supercritical aerofoil design

  13. Technology for sustainable aviation

Topics 6 and 7

Aerodynamics for Land based Vehicles

  1. How aerodynamics are used in land vehicle systems

  2. Aero for passenger automobiles

  3. Drag

  4. Noise and vehicle soiling

  5. Wind tunnels and road/track testing

  6. Numerical methods

  7. Vehicle stability and control

  8. Vehicle sectional design

  9. Large vehicles: trucks, trailers, buses, high speed trains

  10. Severe service and off-road vehicles

  11. Bicycles and riders

  12. Motorcycles

  13. Concept vehicles

Topics 8 and 9

Aerodynamics for Racing Cars

  1. Introduction to racing car design

  2. Optimising the aerodynamic characteristics for racing car design

  3. Aerodynamics for enclosed bodywork cars

  4. Aerodynamics for open wheel racing cars

  5. Drag and downforce – balance and optimisation

  6. Turbulence

  7. Flow control

  8. Propulsion and effect on aerodynamics

  9. Transition of aero performance from wind tunnel to on track

  10. Use of wind tunnels

  11. Computerised Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

  12. 2D Design systems

  13. 3D CAD design systems

  14. CAE/CAM engineering and design

Topics 10 and 11


  1. The student will design a complete, 2 door, closed roof, compact sports car for use on existing traditional roads. The car will be designed for the following basic parameters:

    1. The design is to be optimised for minimum drag but with some down force. Detailed parameters will be supplied by the lecturer. Overall performance parameters will likely include factors such as speed, acceleration, fuel economy and aero down force

    2. The car must be designed to be practical and usable. The student must state where and how this has been taken into account

    3. The student shall describe in detail all of the forms of aerodynamic application and the effect that each will have on the performance of the vehicle

    4. The design may consist of sketches, drawings, CAD images and 3D imagery however designs must be accompanied by appropriate levels of narrative describing the aerodynamic systems and applications and the benefits that they bring to overall performance of the vehicle

  2. The use of existing aerodynamic features will be acceptable however innovative features will be well received and contribute to the students overall grade.

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.

The Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) is dedicated to ensuring our students receive a world-class education and gain skills they can immediately implement in the workplace upon graduation. Our staff members uphold our ethos of honesty and integrity, and we stand by our word because it is our bond. Our students are also expected to carry this attitude throughout their time at our institute, and into their careers.