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The University of Southampton

SESA6075 Aircraft Propulsion

Module Overview

This module develops aerodynamic and thermodynamic methods for design of gas turbine engines. Starting from considerations of aircraft requirements and basic thermodynamics and fluid mechanics, students learn how the overall engine design can be tailored to achieve the required performance and develop a detailed understanding of turbomachinery design.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • The design and operational behaviour of the major components in aircraft gas turbine engines.
  • The factors that limit the performance of these components.
  • The way the various components interact with each other.
  • The performance limitations of various types of aircraft engines based on the gas turbine cycle.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Select and apply appropriate non-dimensional scaling parameters for aero-thermal systems
  • Estimate the mechanical work transfer and flow properties in turbomachinery systems using hand calculations
  • Characterise and adapt turbomachinery designs using understanding of flow dynamics and performance data.
  • Interpret the results of performance measurements and design analysis, recognising the limitations of the design analysis used in this module and in industry
  • Develop preliminary design specifications for gas turbine engines based on user requirements and representative component performance characteristics.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Use computational analysis in support of aerodynamic design
  • Communicate complex concepts and advanced technical information in a clear and wellstructured manner, providing appropriate evidence
  • Devise appropriate plots for analysis, communication and justification of design decisions
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Perform streamline curvature analysis in support of turbomachinery design. Graduate


Part 1, Preliminary Design of a Turbofan Engine for a New Efficient Aircraft (10 lectures): - Aircraft propulsion requirements. - The gas turbine cycle and creation of thrust in a jet engine. - Selection of fan pressure ratio, specific thrust and bypass ratio. - Dynamic scaling and dimensional analysis. - Introduction to component characteristics and running point estimation. Part 2, Turbomachinery Analysis and Design (18 lectures) - Turbomachinery design coursework. - Types of turbomachinery. - Turbomachinery analysis: Euler’s equation, velocity triangles, design parameters. - Dimensional analysis and turbomachinery characteristics. - Blade aerodynamics. - Flow irreversibilities: loss coefficients, shocks in turbomachines. - Mean-line analysis of compressor and turbine stages. - Streamline curvature methodology. Part 3, Current Challenges in Gas Turbine Technology (5 lectures) - Evolution in combustor design and pollutant emissions. - Engine noise. - Alternative engine architectures. Revision (3 lectures).

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • Lectures. • Videos. • Learning activities include • Directed reading. • Set problems. • Design exercises. • Engine computations (software provided).

Follow-up work30
Wider reading or practice20
Completion of assessment task30
Preparation for scheduled sessions10
Supervised time in studio/workshop4
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

J.D. Mattingley. Elements of Propulsion: Gas turbines and rockets. 

A.H. Lefebvre, D.L. Ballal (2010). Gas Turbine Combustion. 

Rolls-Royce "The Jet Engine". 

Cumptsy, N. (2015). Jet Propulsion. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 20%
Examination  (120 minutes) 80%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: (FEEG2003 and SESM2017) or (SESA2022 and SESA2023)

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