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The University of Southampton

SESA6070 Experimental Methods for Aerodynamics

Module Overview

This module is aimed at students who will be performing aerodynamic or fluid mechanic experiments in their individual project, group design project and/or in their research project. The student will gain insight on the problem associated with design, setup and execution of experimental methods pertinent to aerodynamics/fluid mechanics. The most important and up-to-date measurement techniques will be presented. The student will develop a practical knowledge and capability to perform measurements in dedicated facilities aimed at studying fundamental problems in aerodynamics/fluid mechanics.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Introduce major types of aerodynamic test facilities.
  • State-of-the-art measurement technology and its applicability and limitations
  • Introduce aspects of experiment design and associated uncertainties.
  • Different statistical analysis tools as well as data manipulation methods
  • Exposure to different measurement techniques, their viability and limitations in examining fluid flows.
  • Experiment-conception and design to address problems in fluid mechanics
  • Introduce tools for analysis of fluid flows.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Explain the principles and working of experimental methods
  • Collect data using different experimental methods
  • Analyse data obtained via experiments using various statistical tools
  • Appreciate strengths and weaknesses of methods used to measure fluid flows
  • Quantify the accuracy of the measurements performed
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Study and learn independently
  • Design and develop experimental setups
  • Demonstrate study and time management skills
  • Solve problems


• Introduction to major types of experimental facilities • Experimental planning and Statistical design • Calibration and uncertainty analysis • Flow visualisation • Sensors for aerodynamics measurements – requirements and types • Pressure measurements – static, stagnation, unsteady and acoustic array • Force measurements – steady and unsteady • Hot-wire anemometry • Temperature and heat-transfer measurements – thermocouples, surface gauges and optical • methods • Laser Doppler velocimetry • Particle Image velocimetry • Planar laser induced flourescence • Schlieren and Shadowgraphs • Data analysis

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, Labs. Supporting material on Blackboard and Library webpage.

Completion of assessment task72
Follow-up work14
Wider reading or practice12
Preparation for scheduled sessions10
Supervised time in studio/workshop6
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Tropea, Yarin and Foss (2007). Springer handbook of experimental fluid mechanics. 

Kirkup and Frenkel (2006). An Introduction to uncertainty in measurement. 

Adrian and Westerweel (2011). Particle image velocimetry. 

Tavoularis (2005). Measurement in fluid mechanics. 


Assessment Strategy

Repeat Type: Internally (due to coursework based on lab attendance)


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 40%
Coursework 20%
Coursework 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: SESA2022

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