MAE3405 - Flight vehicle propulsion - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Professor Damon Honnery

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


This unit builds on concepts in MAE3401 and relates aircraft and rocket engines to the laws of thermodynamics, various fuel-air power cycles, their real behaviour plus fuel and combustion chemistry. Efficiency and performance of aircraft engines based on piston and gas turbine platforms are examined along with piston and turboprop engines and propeller design for subsonic speed. For jets and turbofan engines, nozzle design for transonic to supersonic speed is covered, as are supersonic engines. The unit concludes with an introduction to rocket motors and their design and performance for both atmospheric and space flight.


Introduce students to the design, operation and performance of engines used for aircraft and rockets:

  1. Understand the thermodynamics of fuel-air power cycles used for aircraft propulsion systems and undertake calculations of their thermodynamic properties.
  2. Recognise the differences in real versions of the power cycles relative to their fuel-air analogues.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the fuels used in aircraft and rocket engines and be able to undertake simple combustion related calculations dealing with these fuels.
  4. Understand and undertake calculations on the operation and performance of piston engines, turboprops, and ramjets.
  5. Understand and calculate the effects of high speed flight on jets, turbofans and ramjets intakes.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of propeller design through the application of various blade theories
  7. Understand and undertake calculations on propeller operation and performance.
  8. Understand and undertake calculations on the operation and performance of propulsion systems used in rockets operating in the atmosphere and in space.
  9. Fuelling requirements of propulsion systems.
  10. Aircraft and space flight propulsion systems, their operation and performance. Propeller design, operation and performance based on simple aerodynamic principles.


Continuous assessment: 40%

Final Examination (3 hours): 60%

Students are required to achieve at least 45% in the total continuous assessment component and at least 45% in the final examination component and an overall mark of 50% to achieve a pass grade in the unit. Students failing to achieve this requirement will be given a maximum of 45% in the unit.

Workload requirements

Five hours of contact hours - usually 3 hours lectures and 2 hours practice sessions or laboratories per week as well as 7 hours of private study per week

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)