AAE 37200

Jet Propulsion Powerplants

Credits:     3

Contact hours:     3

Instructor:     Prof. Li Qiao, Prof. William Anderson, Prof. Stephen Heister

Text:     Mechanics and Thermodynamics of Propulsion, Hill and Peterson Supplemental notes furnished by instructor.

Course Description:     The course is intended to serve as an introduction to air breathing propulsion systems. Students are given a basic background in combustion, one-dimensional compressible internal flows, and the thermodynamics of Brayton-cycle engines. In addition, the students are provided with more detailed discussion of the major components in an air breathing engines ranging from inlets and compressors to combustors, turbines, and nozzles.

Offered:    Spring

Pre-requisite:    None

Co-requisite:    AAE 33400

Required:    Yes

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

  1. Determine the thrust and fuel consumption of gas turbine and turboprop engines
  2. Understand advantages/disadvantages of turbojet, turboprop, turbofan, and ramjet air breathing propulsion systems
  3. Understand the thermodynamics of the Brayton cycle and how they contribute to overall propulsion system performance
  4. Understand the role and fundamental performance of gas turbine components
  5. Determine the basic performance and/or design of axial turbines and compressors
  6. Determine the basic performance of air breathing combustors

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 No
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 Yes
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 No
g An ability to communicate effectively No
h An understanding of the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context Yes
i A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning Yes
j A knowledge of contemporary issues in aerospace engineering Yes
k An ability to use the techniques, skills and modern engineering tools necessary for aerospace engineering practice Yes


  1. Introduction: Components of a jet engine and brief history of gas turbine propulsion for aerospace applications (1 lecture)
  2. Thermodynamics and Combustion Fundamentals: Laws of thermodynamics, mixtures of perfect gases, reacting flow analysis assuming complete combustion. (6 lectures)
  3. Fundamentals of 1-D Compressible Flow: 1-D isentropic flow, Fanno and Rayleigh flows, normal shocks. (6 lectures)
  4. Powerplants and Jet Engine Ratings: Brayton thermodynamic cycle, air standard cycles, engine performance ratings, aircraft range. (4 lectures)
  5. Turbojet Engine Cycle Analysis: Real and ideal engine cycle analysis, component efficiencies. (6 lectures)
  6. Other Airbreathing Engine Cycles: Turbofan, turboprop, and ramjet engine cycles. (5 lectures)
  7. Turbomachinery Fundamentals: Euler momentum equation, axial compressors, axial turbines, turbine/compressor matching. (7 lectures)
  8. Combustors, Inlets and Nozzles: Constant pressure mixer analysis, subsonic and supersonic inlets, nozzles. (6 lectures)
  9. Rocket Propulsion or Other Topics (time permitting): rockets, air-turbo rockets, pulse detonation engines. (2 lectures)
  10. Tests (2 lectures)

Revision History:
Prepared by: Stephen D. Heister, Date: April 6, 2006
Updated Pre-Requisites and Co-Requisites on March 3, 2011
Format updated: October 2011