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Unit information: Numerical and Simulation Methods for Aerodynamics in 2020/21

Unit name Numerical and Simulation Methods for Aerodynamics
Unit code AENGM0066
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Allen
Open unit status Not open

EMAT20200 Engineering Mathematics 2



School/department Department of Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


This unit is an introduction to the fundamental mathematical and physical principles involved in the development and application of modern methods in numerical and simulation methods for aerodynamics. Forms of the governing flow equations are first discussed and these are then reduced to a simple model equation, which is used for the development and testing of fundamental numerical methods. Accuracy, stability, and convergence of these schemes are investigated mathematically. Issues involved in applying these methods to real aerodynamic flows are then discussed, i.e. methods required to produce simulation methods, including mesh generation aspects, finite-volume methods, data storage and memory implications, and the impact of continuing developments in computer architecture.


The aim of this unit is to equip the student with: Knowledge and understanding of the fundamental mathematical and physical principles involved in the development of numerical methods; Knowledge and understanding of the issues involved in applying modern numerical methods in computational aerodynamics; Knowledge and understanding of methods of mesh generation and links with numerical code development; Knowledge and understanding of the impact of developments in computer hardware and software on application of computational methods; Skills necessary to develop numerical simulation codes

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit students should be able to achieve the following outcomes:

  1. Analyse and manipulate various forms of the governing fluid flow equations, including different modelling level options
  2. Derive numerical methods for the solution of systems of partial differential equations;
  3. Derive and analyse the stability, accuracy and convergence of these methods mathematically;
  4. Apply the principles of time-marching, central-difference and upwind, and explicit and implicit formulations to various equations;
  5. Understand the principles of numerical mesh generation, and analyse their links with flow-solver development and application;
  6. Analyse and discuss the links between numerical method application and computer architecture;
  7. Code advanced numerical methods in C++, Fortran, or Matlab.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, which may include lectures, practical activities supported by drop-in sessions, problem sheets and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Details

100% January timed assessment

Reading and References

  • Hirsch, C., Numerical Computation of Internal & External Flows: The Fundamentals of Computational Fluid Dynamics, 2007, 2nd ed., Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN: 0750665947 - Complete reference text for all aspects of CFD. Most of this is probably beyond the scope of the course.
  • Ferziger, J.H. & Peric, M., Computational Methods for Fluid Dynamics. 2001, Springer. ISBN: 3540420746 - Good general numerical methods book.
  • Anderson, J.D., Computational Fluid Dynamics. 1995, McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 0071132104 - Best general CFD book.