Aeronautical Engineering BEng/MEng Module Details

Year one | Year two | Year three | Year four

Year one

Block 1: General Engineering Tools and Principles 1 gives the fundamental building blocks of modern engineering. The module provides a background in the fundamental principles of Mathematics and Mechanical Principles (Solid Mechanics) covering topics such as stress and strain, shear forces, torsion and how power is transferred via shafts as in jet engines; it also covers topics in Electronic Principles relevant to all engineering disciplines. 

Block 2: General Engineering Tools and Principles 2 builds on knowledge gained in General Engineering Tools and Principles 1 by introducing the concepts of motion. The module provides further understanding in Mathematics and Mechanical Principles (Dynamics) covering topics such as Newtons laws, linear and angular motion, friction, inertia, etc. It also covers Electronic Principles including analysis of RLC circuits and operational amplifiers.

Block 3: Fundamentals of Aeronautical Design 1 covers four areas:

  • Aeronautical Principles with MATLAB based applications

The module introduces the main principles and methods of flight mechanics, such as: flight characteristics and associated physics in climbing/descending flight, cruise flight, take-off and landing. MATLAB and Simulink software will be used for practical computational examples.

  • Computer Aided Engineering

Application of CAE to Aeronautical and Mechanical problems with the aid of industry-standard CAD software packages.

  • Programming:

MATLAB programming language and its application in solving common engineering problems.

  •  Thermodynamics:

This topic covers work, heat and mass transfer in aeronautical and mechanical systems, i.e. jet engines and associated components such as turbines and compressors. 

Block 4: Fundamentals of Aeronautical Design 2 extends the general principles in Fundamentals of Aeronautical Design 1 to consider design features in more detail:

  • Fundamentals of Aircraft Design with MATLAB based applications

The module will introduce students to the aircraft design process, covering topics such as: aircraft structural layout, sizing, weight and centre of gravity estimation, tail and fuselage aerodynamic design and landing gear design.  

  • Computer Aided Engineering

Application of CAE to Aeronautical and Mechanical problems with the aid of industry-standard CAD and Finite Element Analysis software packages.

  • Programming

Further MATLAB programming concepts such as importing/exporting, handling and visualizing data sets will be covered. These computational techniques can be used in later years to analyze large data sets generated  by modern aircrafts.

  •  Thermodynamics

This topic will cover further concepts in work, heat and mass transfer and polytropic processes and thermodynamic cycles – these concepts will be useful in aircraft jet engine analysis and design of jet engine components. 

Year two

Block 1: Mechanical, Energy and Aeronautical Tools and Principles complements and extends the material covered in General Engineering Tools and Principles 1 and 2 by extending the Mathematical and Engineering concepts required for advanced study of aeronautical engineering by introducing continuum systems. These include fluids where the behaviour cannot easily be modelled using discrete mechanics. There are three parts to the module: a mathematical part, a part on fluid mechanics and a part on heat transfer.

The mathematical part covers subjects such as vector calculus, Fourier series, partial differential equations and numerical methods.These mathematical concepts will be used in the other two parts of this module and also in other modules taught later in the programme.

The heat transfer part covers the basics of heat transfer and how various modes of heat transfer can be analysed via the application of theoretical and emphatical equations.

The fluid mechanics part includes compressible and incompressible flows, non-dimensional parameter such as Reynolds number and Mach Number, which are extensively used to understand if the flow is subsonic, transonic or supersonic. The other topics covered are Bernoulli, continuity, momentum equations, and analysis of Boundary layers which are useful in aircraft fuselage and wing design. 

Block 2: Dynamics, Instrumentation and Control concerns the measurement and control of dynamic and other engineering systems. The first part of the module introduces students to modelling and analysis of dynamic systems through the investigation of system response, with an emphasis on free and forced oscillations. In studying this, unlike formal mechanics which concerns modelling the behaviour of systems, students will learn to design systems to exhibit a desired dynamic behaviour. Students will learn about modelling physical systems, characteristic equations, natural frequencies, and vibration modes. These concepts are useful in understanding aircraft’s stability and control and also in the design of aircraft control systems.    

The second part of the module introduces students to instrumentation aspects of computer control systems. Students will learn about principles of interfacing and instrumentation required for this purpose. Many modern aircraft and other mechanical systems exhibit nonlinear behaviour if left unchecked. It is therefore important to control them by measuring small disturbances before they become unstable. 

The third part of the module introduces students to the theory of control systems and computer control. The aim is to teach analysis and design of single-input single-output continuous and digital feedback systems. The background theory is supported by computer aided design studies (e.g. using the MATLAB/Simulink package) and practical laboratory experiments. 

Block 3: Aircraft Structures and Flight Dynamics studies the structures and materials used in modern aircrafts in the context of their operation through the flight dynamics. The module has two parts: Aircraft structures and Flight Dynamics.

The Aircraft Structures part of the module covers airframe structures such as fuselage frames, wings and wing ribs and materials that are used to manufacture these parts. The performance of these air-frame structures under a range of flight envelopes will be assessed using classical mechanistic techniques. 

The Flight Dynamics part of the module covers stability and control of aircrafts and includes topics such as aircraft equations of motion, linearization of equations of motion, longitudinal and lateral/directional modes of motion, stability augmentation and understanding control systems using classical feedback control theory. MATLAB and Simulink will be used to facilitate practical work.   

Block 4: Design and Project Management extends the design concepts learnt in earlier modules by running a term-long design project which must also be managed. Aeronautical Engineering in particular is concerned with systems where the consequences of failure can be fatal. As a result, managing projects to ensure safety and minimizing risk (both commercial and mechanical) is essential. Projects need to deliver a design solution (e.g. a product), which requires planning and initiation, and need to be budgeted, costed and scheduled and completed within these projections. Projects require management of stakeholder expectations and they need to be undertaken at an agreed level of quality within an accepted level of risk. This module presents some of the background, theory and practice to enable students to embed professional project management expertise in their professional and academic development. 

The Design part of the module will teach advanced Computer Aided Design skills and advanced Finite Element Analysis skills. These can be used to analyse aircraft components and how and why they could fail under varying loading and multidimensional stress conditions. 

Year three

 Block 1: Human Factors and Aviation Management addresses the main aspects and methods of human factors affecting flight safety, together with concepts in modern aviation management. While modern aircrafts have sophisticated computer control systems, they still rely upon pilots. It is therefore important to understand the way pilots respond, particularly in stressful situations. Furthermore, given the scale of the aviation industry and the complexity of flight management, managing the overall infrastructure is far from trivial. 

 The human factors and flight safety part of this module includes topics such as:

  • Different aspects of flight safety connected to human operation
  •  Human conditions such as fatigue, complacency, and stress affecting safety
  • Human errors and human performance: competence of aircraft crew, in aircraft maintenance practices and air traffic management
  • Human Risk Informed Design (HURID) principles: flight desk design, crew interaction capability, air traffic management interface
  • Upset recovery pilot training

The Aviation Management Part of the module covers topics and case studies such as:

  • Hub operations and Point to Point operations
  • Aircraft selection: based on capacity, distance, seating, fuel burn and cargo operations, number of engines, etc
  • Airline pricing strategies: based on demand for air travel, routes, classes, etc.
  • Airline passenger strategies: Market segmentation, routes, passenger retention strategies
  • External effects of aviation congestion, noise and light pollution

Block 2: Propulsion Systems explores the principles of jet-engine propulsion. The module covers thermofluid analysis of different types of jet engines and constituent components together with aero-engine noise. Topics covered include:

  • Types of engine and layout of propulsion systems
  • Thermodynamic full cycle analysis of turbo jet and turbo fan engines
  • Combustion chambers and fundamentals of combustion analysis
  • Fluid Mechanics of Propulsion systems: velocity triangles applied to stator and rotor blades, isentropic flow through nozzles, shockwaves and expansion fans, supersonic aerofoil theory
  • Aero-engine noise: 1D and 3D wave propagation, noise generation, aircraft certification, aero-engine noise analysis, aero-engine noise mitigation 

Blocks 3 and 4: a choice of one of the following project-based modules: 

Each project will be individual to the student, who will be assigned a supervisor and will also have the support of the teaching team on this module. The chosen topic will require the student to formulate problems, conduct literature reviews, determine solutions, evaluate information, write reports, develop hardware and software as appropriate, process data, and critically appraise and present their findings using a variety of media.

In Block 3, the majority of the technical information will be taught and assessed while students make a start on their projects. In Block 4, students will mainly concentrate on their individual project with the technical skills assessed in this context rather than generically.   

Modelling and Simulation for Aeronautical Projects 1 addresses the main concepts and methods of Computational Fluid Dynamics and Finite Element Method in the context of part of a project using these techniques. The taught component will equip you with skills in mesh generation, application of boundary conditions, use of commercial CFD/FEA packages and applications of CFD/FEA to selected engineering problems.

The complimentary second module Modelling and Simulation for Aeronautical Projects 2 is your individual project. Possible project areas could be in stress and strain analysis of aircraft structures, CFD modeling of external airflow, CFD modelling of flow inside combustion chambers, analysis of turbine blade cooling, etc.

This project path would normally suit students who wish to follow a career focused on simulation of complex engineering components and systems both in aeronautical and mechanical industries.

Analysis, Programming and Simulation for Aeronautical Projects 1 provides students with a core understanding of analytical skills using programming, mathematical analysis and user-defined simulation within the context of an individual project. The module will familiarise students with flight simulator designs and operation principles. Students will be exposed to Airfox DISO flight simulator with movable 6DOF as in-depth example of these skills. 

The complimentary second module Analysis, Programming and Simulation for Aeronautical Projects 2 is your individual project.  Possible project areas could be related to Flight Simulator software and hardware programing and design technologies, or any other programming intensive projects related to aviation.

This project path would normally suit students who wish to follow a career focused on software programming related to the aviation industry; covering a broad range of areas such as design, implementation, maintenance and operation of software tools for both aeronautical and mechanical industries. 

Materials and Design for Aeronautical Projects 1 provides students with a core understanding of advanced materials and advanced Aero-elasticity within the context of an individual project. The taught component will be in two parts: technical tools for materials and design projects and transferable tools, which could be used in your final year project or in industry. 

The complimentary second module Materials and Design for Aeronautical Projects 2 in Block 4 is your individual project. The design project areas could be in aircraft structures, aeroelasticity aspects in aircraft design, use of novel materials in aircraft design, etc. 

This project path would normally suit students who wish to follow a career focused on the materials or structural parts of engineering, including both aeronautical and mechanical industries.  

Year four (MEng)

 Block 1: Engineering Business Environment and Research Methods

The nature of Aeronautical Engineering means consequences of errors are very serious. As a result, it requires the highest standards of management and research practice. 

The module has two parts to it Engineering Business Environment and Research methods.

The first part of this module is to enable students to understand and reflect upon the role of business in a rapidly changing, globalised world. It identifies opportunities and threats for industry arising from environmental policy, legislation and societal change, and explores how businesses respond to future environmental challenges: for example, through supply chain management, logistics, life -cycle analysis, green accounting and carbon trading.

The Research methods and associate study skills provide students with the skills to successfully complete a research project. 

Block 2: Advanced Materials, Structures and Design

Aeronautical Engineering has driven major advances in the field of material science and which has created advanced materials suitable to withstand the high temperatures and loads required.

Designed to provide students with the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the overall topical area of composite materials including their properties, manufacturing, analysis and design, this module focuses on manufacturing methods, structure-composition-properties relationship, micro-mechanical modelling and application of composite materials.

The module objectives are: to develop in-depth understanding of the manufacturing and processing characteristics of composite materials; to develop student’s ability in analyzing engineering problems involving composite materials for sustainable mechanical design; to develop student’s analytical and practical skills in micro-mechanical modelling of composite materials to predict fracture and failure; and to consolidate students understanding and mastering of composite materialls processing and selection and their applications in engineering.

Block 3: Manned and Unmanned Aircraft Design and Maintenance

With the emerging field of unmanned aircrafts in modern aeronautical engineering, it is important for the next generation of engineers to understand both manned and unmanned aircrafts and how they interrelate. Furthermore, a significant part of the cost of running aircraft is the time spent maintaining them. Hence, increasingly, companies are more and more including design for maintenance in their processes.  

This module has two parts: Manned and UAV Design and aspects of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services.

Modern aircraft and UAV design is a subject which joins together mathematics, mechanics, electronics, computing sciences and control theory to build an efficient flying robot for various applications. The module will familiarize the students with the principles of aircraft UAV design and its subsystems: on board electronics, communication, propulsion and power systems. paired with the design for performance, maintenance and reliability of aircraft

Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul (MRO) and support of aircraft, engines and components encompass a wide range of complex activities: service lifecycle management, repair, modifications and upgrades, support services, supply chain services to mention a few. The objectives of the aircraft maintenance, repair, overhaul (MRO) part of the module are to provide students with up-to date exposure to modern techniques and methods, regulations and standards applied in aviation industry. The module covers a wide range of topics from aircraft maintenance to sustainability issues in relation to aircraft operations in compliance with international regulations. 

Block 4: Group Project

The module provides an opportunity for students to work on an engineering project as a multidisciplinary team, which will be similar to that found in industry. A project contains many facets of engineering, science, management and business, and often the student is not exposed to these multidisciplinary aspects until the move into industry. This module has been specifically designed to expose the student to the multidisciplinary and team nature of many engineering projects, helping to highlight individual strengths and weaknesses.

It will also help to prepare the student for being responsible for quality of their output, in particular conforming to required protocols, and managing technical uncertainty. The selected engineering project will give an opportunity for engineering students to learn and practise engineering design as well as key skills. The engineering design and practise will include design using appropriate technical information and engineering knowledge, problem solving, application and development of mathematical and computer models, the understanding and selection of components & materials, the necessary workshop and laboratories techniques. The key skill aspect will include understanding and practising project manage, leadership, risk management applied to a technical project that could involve communication of ideas within a team and wider (potentially international) audience, as well as the social and environmental aspects.

A typical group project could be designing an Unmanned Aerial vehicle for drug delivery where airfield access is limited.