AAE 33401 Aerodynamics Laboratory

Credits:     1

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

Instructor:     Professor Sullivan and Professor Bane

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

Course Description:     Reinforce concepts in compressible fluid mechanics and wing aerodynamics taught in AAE 33400, laminar airfoils, flaps and slats, pressure on an airfoil, finite wings, wing tip vortices and wing tip devices, supersonic wind tunnel, normal and oblique shock waves, expansion fans, compressible nozzle flow, optical flow visualization, wind tunnel techniques and instrumentation

Offered:    Fall and Spring

Pre-requisite:    None

Co-requisite:    AAE 33400

Either/Or option with AAE 35201
Student Learning Outcomes:
On completing this course the student shall be able to:

  1. Use wind tunnel instrumentation to measure flow velocity and lift and drag
  2. Describe the dependence of airfoil pressure distribution, lift, and drag on angle of attack and flaps and slats
  3. Describe the effect of finite span, wing tip vortices
  4. Use schlieren or shadowgraph techniques to visualize compressible flows
  5. Sketch pressure distributions across oblique and normal shock waves, and expansion fans
  6. Describe the pressure distribution inside a compressible flow converging-diverging nozzle and possible nozzle exit conditions

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. Airfoils
    Airfoil geometry. Pitot tube measurement and flow velocity. Lift, drag, and pitch measurement and coefficient calculation. Affect of angle of attack. Transition to turbulence and stall. Effect of flaps and slats. Pressure on airfoil surface. Calculating pressure coefficient and lift. (2 lectures, 2 laboratories)
  2. Finite Wings
    Downwash. Starting, trailing, and wingtip vortices. Induced drag and aspect ratio. Drag polar. Lift and drag versus aspect ratio. Wingtip devices. (1 lecture, 1 laboratory)
  3. Supersonic Wind Tunnel and Shock Waves
    Supersonic flow through a nozzle. Supersonic flow around bodies. Normal and oblique shock waves. Prandtl-Meyer expansion. Pressure across shock waves and expansion fans. Shadowgraph and schlieren visualization. (1 lecture, 1 laboratory)
  4. Compressible Nozzle Flow
    Subsonic and supersonic nozzle flow. Normal shock in nozzle and nozzle exit. Exit conditions for overexpanded, underexpanded, and design condition flow. Schlieren visualization. Thrust measurement versus nozzle pressure ratio. (1 lecture, 1 laboratory)
  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