Aerodynamic Topics Covered in College and Aerodynamics in Other Fields

Aerodynamic Topics Covered in College and Aerodynamics in Other Fields


This is the second video in the aerodynamic series.
A series brought to you by the Science of Flight, a new brand here on YouTube.
The brand is dedicated to aerospace engineering education and software.
In this video we’re going to talk about aerodynamic topics that are found in a college curriculum
as well as aerodynamics in other fields.
So let’s go ahead and get to it.
We will now briefly cover some of the common topics in undergraduate engineering classes
studying aerodynamics.
A study of aerodynamics typically starts with a study of the properties of air, an introduction to the
standard atmosphere model, and sometimes covering airspeed measurements
like true airspeed versus calibrated airspeed versus equivalent airspeed.
Flow fields and objects used to simulate a flow field, like sources and sinks, are also introduced
usually in an AERO 101 course.
After the discussion of flow fields usually comes discussions of pressure distributions,
lift and drag curves, forces and moments, wing geometry, and even coefficients.
After learning the geometry of airfoils and wings, many different theoretical analysis techniques
are then covered or taught.
I’ll talk a little bit about what some of those techniques might be on the next slide.
For instance, in my undergraduate studies this was the end of our AERO 101 curriculum
And starting in AERO 102 we looked at boundary layers, viscous effects, turbulence,
and (what I thought was so much fun) shockwaves and expansion fans.
Sometimes an aircraft performance section might be thrown in with your normal stuff in an AERO 102 course.
Or, sometimes, it might actually be left to a separate flight mechanics course.
In my undergraduate program, a wind tunnel testing class was its own course
as well as was CFD, or computational fluid dynamics.
Now the plan for this series on aerodynamics is to begin with an in-depth coverage of
this basic undergraduate aerodynamic coursework then to move on to more advanced topics
such as hypersonics and modern advances in turbulence models.
Now, if there’s a specific topic you’d like me to cover let me know in the comments below
and I can add it to the breakdown.
Aerodynamics is not solely in the aerospace engineering field as it’s actually found
in many other fields each with different design goals.
For instance, the automotive industry is concerned with the flow of air around a car design.
It’s not just to determine the drag on the car, as we immediately think of when we hear
aerodynamics and cars, but the flow around a car is also examined in terms of the noise.
They want to determine the noise that the passengers inside experience as they’re driving the car
or maybe even the noise that some of the bystanders on the street experience as the car drives past.
Another big concern of the automotive industry is the vehicles handling and stability at higher speeds.
Now at higher speeds the aero forces on the car are increased and so their concern is they want
to make sure that the forces exerted on the car, due to the air flow around the car,
doesn’t have a negative impact on the vehicles handling and stability.
They want to make sure that you’re able to continue to be safe while you’re driving and the airflow
isn’t gonna cause you to veer off, or lose friction in your tires and spin out, or anything like that.
Along with the flow around the car, the flow through the car’s engine has recently become a major
design consideration for the car.
And with great benefit for us as the consumers, because a portion of the increase of the fuel efficiency of
modern-day cars is due to the fact that the airflow through the engine is being considered nowadays.
As opposed to in the past when it wasn’t really considered how the airflow through the intake, through the engine, through the exhaust.
It wasn’t really considered before in great detail and it’s being considered now
and we get some fuel efficiency benefits from that.
Now another transportation vehicle that is concerned with aerodynamics is the boating industry.
Interestingly, aerodynamics is not that different from hydrodynamics, or the study of water in motion,
with the difference usually boiling down to the application’s considerations.
The mission specs dictate the difference between an aircraft and a boat
but they kind of rely on the same principles and same methods.
What’s interesting is that boats nowadays can actually undergo both hydrodynamic design below the waterline,
as well as aerodynamic design above the waterline, depending on the boat that it is.
It might actually have both hydrodynamic and aerodynamic design considerations
or design methods performed on it.
Now another field that is interested in or considers aerodynamics is the designing of buildings.
Its usually used to determine the forces on the buildings due to the flow of air around the outside of the building
as well as the airflow between the buildings to make sure that the airflow at the street level is human friendly.
Obviously we don’t want the wind whipping down at street level.
We don’t want the wind whipping through really fast and knocking people over or causing issues
for the people down walking on the street.
So we might look at the airflow between buildings, not just around an individual building,
but between buildings and how that affects the airflow down there at the street level.
It’s also actually sometimes used on a city size scale or a neighborhood sized scale as well to try
and manipulate the climate in the city or in the neighborhood and create what they call micro-climates.
Now the goal of micro-climates might to be to make pollution move easier through the city
so that you can get it out of the city and have cleaner air.
Or maybe it might be a temperature thing where you’re wanting to remove some of the heat
from the concrete or what have you.
So, sometimes, on a city-sized scale they might look at aerodynamics to try and create micro climates.
Some newer eco-friendly cities are doing this analysis on their cities using aerodynamics.
Another really popular one is that aerodynamics is also used in atmospheric models
to try and predict the weather.
So on the news when you see the weather person giving their nightly prediction on what the weather is going
to be the next day that’s usually…
their prediction is based on a computer model which is based on aerodynamics of the atmosphere along
with some other stuff as well but aerodynamics does play a role in that model that they use.
Now the last big one that I’ll chat about is sports.
Aerodynamics is also used in the sporting industry as well.
The flow of air around a ball can actually affect the trajectory of the ball as it travels through the air.
For instance, in sports like soccer and baseball the trajectory of the ball can be hugely impacted
by the aerodynamics of the ball.
For instance, when the soccer player or the baseball pitcher actually put some spin on the ball they’re able
to make the balls trajectory curve and this definitely increases the difficulty, and the entertainment value,
of the game.
It makes it harder for the opposing team to hit it because it’s harder for them to predict where it’s going
to be and that of course is using the Magnus effect.
So it’s definitely a major consideration and involves design for the sports industry.
For instance, the dimples on a golf ball are actually there for aerodynamic reasons.
Simply put, the dimples affect the type of flow around the ball and thus reduce the drag force on the ball
causing the golf ball to travel further.
We’ll probably talk about this a little bit more on the video where we cover the difference
between laminar versus turbulent flow.
But yeah, the dimples on the golf ball are actually there for aerodynamic purposes:
to reduce drag make it travel farther.
So these are actually a few of the examples of aerodynamics in other fields and I’m sure there are
plenty more examples.
So this series is focused on an aerospace engineer’s perspective of aerodynamics, however, the knowledge
in this series can be applied to these other fields as well.
The knowledge really transfers over easily.
It’s not a very different field if you look at aerodynamics of a car versus aerodynamics of a plane.
So you can easily watch the series if you’re not an aerospace engineer.
Maybe you’re working in the car industry, you can definitely watch this series and learn a lot of
good principles and gain some knowledge that will help you in your field.
That’s the end of the second video.
If you liked what you saw, and you want to see some more, then go ahead and like the video, comment below,
subscribe to the channel, and when you’ve done all those go ahead and click on that link to the next video.
The next video is gonna cover aerodynamic methods so go ahead and click on that link
and I’ll see you in the next video.

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