AAE 33301: Fluid Mechanics Laboratory

Credits:     1

Contact hours:     2 hours laboratory, 1 hour lecture, every other week

Instructor:     Professor Bane

Text:     Laboratory notes, J. P. Sullivan, E. Gnanamanickam, S. Bane, S. P. Schneider, S. H. Collicott

Course Description:     Reinforce concepts in incompressible flow taught in AAE 33300, hands-on experience with complex, nonlinear, and unsteady flows, bluff body flows and vortex shedding, boundary layers, laminar and turbulent pipe flow, pressure around cylinders, wakes and drag, introductory laboratory techniques and instrumentation

Offered:    Fall and Spring

Pre-requisite:    None

Co-requisite:    AAE 33300

Required:    Yes

Student Learning Outcomes:
On completing this course the student shall be able to:

  1. Measure and differentiate between absolute, differential, and gauge pressure
  2. Make basic pressure and velocity measurements
  3. Utilize elementary flow visualization tools
  4. Deduce fluid physics information from flow visualization
  5. Calculate flow characteristics such as Reynolds number, friction factor, pressure and drag coefficient from laboratory measurements
  6. Identify and discuss foundation-level fluid phenomena including boundary layers, wakes, laminar to turbulent transition, turbulence, flow separation, drag on a body, and surface pressure distributions

Relationship of Course to Program Outcomes

    Program Learning Outcomes Included?
a An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering Yes
b An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data Yes
c An ability to design an aerospace system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health, and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability No
d An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams No
e An ability to identify, formulate, and solve aerospace engineering problems Yes
f An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility Yes
g An ability to communicate effectively Yes
h An understanding of the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context No
i A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning No
j A knowledge of contemporary issues in aerospace engineering No
k An ability to use the techniques, skills and modern engineering tools necessary for aerospace engineering practice Yes


  1. Viscous Flow
    Boundary layer along a flat plate. Bluff body wakes and visualization of Karman vortex street using a hydrogen bubble wire. (1 lecture, 1 laboratory)
  2. Reynolds Pipe Flow
    Laminar pipe flow and friction. Flow instability. Transition to turbulence and Reynolds number. (1 lecture, 1 laboratory)
  3. Pressure in Aerodynamics
    Pitot tube measurements. Calculating flow velocity using Bernoulli’s equation. Pressure around a cylinder. Calculating pressure coefficient from manometer measurements. Inviscid ideal flow around a cylinder. (1 lecture, 1 laboratory)
  4. Wakes and Drag
    Wake behind a smooth and rough cylinder. Wake behind an airfoil. Hot wire velocity measurements. Calculation of drag coefficient versus Reynolds number from wake measurements. Wake behind a smooth and rough sphere. Drag calculation from velocity versus time measurements. (2 lectures, 2 laboratories)
  5. Design Your Own Experiment
    Design an experiment and write a proposal, develop a procedure, develop appropriate scientific questions and analysis for the final report (1 lecture, 1 laboratory)

Revision History:
Prepared by: Steven H. Collicott
Date: August 11, 2006
Updated Co-Requisite on March 3, 2011
Revised by Sally Bane: January 25, 2012
Format updated: September 2011