AAE 51100: Introduction to Fluid Mechanics


The basic conservation equations are derived for a compressible viscous fluid and then are specialized for applications in potential flow, viscous flow, and gas dynamics. Staff.

Format: 3 hrs lecture per week

Credit hours: 3

Status: Elective, Aerodynamics

Offered: Fall

Pre-requisite: AAE 333 or equivalent

Co-requisite: None

Course Instructor: Professor Blaisdell

Text: Fundamental Mechanics of Fluids (Fourth Edition), I. G. Currie, CRC Press 2013, ISBN 9781439874608 (The 3rd edition (2003) is available as an electronic resource through the Purdue library website.)

Assessment Method: Midterm Exams 40%, Final Exam 30%, Homework 30%

Grading policy is an instructor option and may vary.

Course Goal & Objectives:


To develop a strong foundation in the fundamentals of fluid mechanics.

Objectives include developing abilities to:

Use index notation to derive vector and tensor relations

Manipulate and derive governing equations in various forms

Determine streamlines, pathlines, streaklines and timelines for unsteady flow

Determine how vorticity is produced by various mechanisms

Determine the motion of two-dimensional point vortices

Use conformal mapping to find the lift coefficient on an airfoil shape

Use a Schwarz-Christoffel transformation to solve for potential flow with corners

Use three-dimensional potential flow to solve for flow over axisymmetric bodies

Solve for steady and unsteady exact solutions of the Navier-Stokes equations

Derive and use the Stokes drag law for a sphere

Derive boundary layer equations, find self-similar solutions and determine scaling laws

Compute skin friction on an airfoil using an approximate boundary layer method

Determine the qualitative effects of turbulence on a flow

Necessary Background:

  1. Vector calculus, ordinary and partial differential equations, some exposure to complex variables.
  2. Undergraduate course in fluid mechanics or a background in Newtonian mechanics.
  3. Ability to program in MATLAB.

Topics (number of Lectures):

  1. Governing Equations: Basic conservation laws (8), Flow kinematics (2), Special forms of the governing equations/Vortex dynamics (4).
  2. Ideal Fluid Flow: Two-dimensional (10) and three-dimensional (4) potential flow.
  3. Viscous Flows of Incompressible Fluids: Exact solutions (4), Low-Reynolds number flows (2), Boundary layers (8).

Exams (2 classes).

Relationship of course to program objectives:

The course meets program objective 1 by covering essential technical material in the area of aerodynamics. Program objectives 2(a), developing the ability to formulate and solve problems, and objective 2(c), the ability to communicate their work, is addressed through homework assignments. Program objectives 3, life-long learning, and 2(d), professional conduct, are encouraged by relating experiences from my own professional life.

Prepared by: Gregory A. Blaisdell

Date: February 21, 2018