Review by: Shantanu Thada
Specific Courses Completed
- AE 153 – Introduction to Aerospace Engg. (Compulsory)
- AE 234 – Aircraft Propulsion
- AE 236 – Compressible Fluid Mechanics
- AE 240 – Spaceflight Mechanics
- AE 333 – Aerodynamics
What is the minor field about?
Aerospace minor comprises the fundamentals of solid mechanics, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics applied to the applications of aircrafts, spacecrafts, rockets and other flying objects.
How is it useful in terms of applications in Mechanical?
The curriculum of mechanical and aerospace engineering at IIT-B are quite similar. Aerospace engineering is primarily derived out of the fundamentals of mechanical engineering. All possible aerial machines such as aircrafts, gas turbine engines, rockets, ornithopters, quadcopters and others have working principles based on the theories studied in this discipline. Primarily, the areas of research are divided into four specializations: 1. Aerodynamics, 2. Dynamics and Control, 3. Aerospace Propulsion, 4. Aerospace Structures. Courses offered in the aerospace department are based on any one of these specializations. To know more about these specializations, visit the link below. [https://www.aero.iitb.ac.in/home/research]
What is the preferred order of doing the minor courses and why?
First course for the Aerospace minor is compulsory: Introduction to Aerospace Engineering. For the next course, it is advised that 2xx courses are taken up in the second year and 3xx in the third year. This is because there might be pre-requisites to certain courses in the third semester and onwards. For example, AE 333 – Aerodynamics requires courses in incompressible and compressible fluid mechanics. Incompressible fluid mechanics is taught in the third semester to mechanical engineering students. Compressible fluid mechanics can be taken up in the fourth semester. Some courses might not require any prerequisites and these can be taken up as per availability and choice.
Brief idea of individual courses:
AE 153: Introduction to Aerospace Engg. – This course talks about the fundamentals of aviation and applications of fluid mechanics to flying machines. Overall, the course is very interesting and gives a general perspective of aviation. Most of the topics are covered in brief are fairly easy to understand. It is also important that the student is genuinely interested in this field to enjoy the lectures. The required time commitment to study is less if lectures are attended with diligence.
Certain topics that are covered in this course (AE153) are: Historical Developments in Aviation, Components of an aircraft, Basic Aerodynamics: Fluid dynamic equations & their basis, Ideal fluid, viscous flows, Flow past a body, Flow Separation, Generation of Lift, Drag & Moment, Non-dimensional coefficients, Airfoils & Wings, Airfoil families, Aircraft Drag Polar, Thrust/Power and fuel flow variation with altitude & velocity. Aircraft Performance: Steady level flight, Altitude effects, Absolute ceiling, steady climbing flight, Energy methods, Range and Endurance, Sustained level turn, pullup, Take-off and Landing.
AE 234: Aircraft Propulsion – This course covers the different types of propulsive devices utilized in aircrafts. Thermodynamics related to one of the most complex mechanical devices – the Gas Turbine Engine is discussed in detail along with some insight into the flow physics of air inside the engine. The content is interesting and easy to understand if the lectures are attended properly. Exams are of moderate difficulty and consist of 2 quizzes, 1 mid-sem and 1 end-sem. Certain topics that are covered in this course (AE 234) are: Introduction to various aircraft propulsive devices. Gas Turbine Cycles and cycle-based performance analysis of flow through gas turbine components. Compressor and Turbine blade shapes; cascade theory; radial equilibrium theory; matching of compressor and Turbine. Turbine cooling. Single spool and Multi- spool engines. Powerplant performance with varying speed and altitude. Other propulsion systems: ramjets, scramjets and pulsejets.
AE 236: Compressible Fluid Mechanics – As the name suggests, this course covers the compressible effects of the fluid flow. Different types of Shocks – Normal/Oblique are discussed in detail. Air acts as a compressible fluid at high velocities (high Mach No. to be particular) and therefore, compressible Fluid Mechanics is important for a large chunk of research work conducted in the aerospace department, especially related to Gas Turbines, Rockets and Ramjets/Scramjets. Content difficulty is moderate and grading depends upon the professor who takes it. Certain topics that are covered in this course (AE 236) are: Isentropic equations, Normal shock, oblique shock, heat addition, shock shock interaction, moving shock wave, quasi 1D flow, Prandtl-Meyer function.
AE 240: Spaceflight Mechanics – One of the most interesting courses offered by the department which deals with the preliminary planning of a space mission. This course incorporates the staging, trajectory and ascent/descent of a spacecraft which allows us to perform initial calculations for any planned mission. The lectures are quite interesting and although the time commitment required for this course is high, it is quite stimulating for students interested in space technology. There is a course project element which incorporates re-designing a past space mission from ascent to trajectory design to descent. Certain topics that are covered in this course (AE240) are: Introduction, Ascent Mission, Multi-stage Launch Vehicles, Launch Vehicle Attitude Motion, Basic Orbital Solution, Satellite Operations, Spacecraft Motion, Descent Mission, Spacecraft Attitude Motion
AE 333: Aerodynamics – This course deals in depth with the physics of flying and delves into using mathematical theories to calculate pressure and viscous forces on airfoils. In-compressible and compressible fluid mechanics are prerequisite to this course. A major chunk of the course is mathematical, and therefore, requires a good amount of time commitment and is relatively on the tougher side. The lectures exclusively follow the book “Fundamentals of Aerodynamics - by Anderson.” Overall, the course is quite stimulating for students who can appreciate the ingenious applications of mathematics theorems to aviation. Certain topics that are covered in this course (AE333) are: Incompressible Flow Fundamentals and Potential Flow Theory, Incompressible Flow over Airfoils - Nomenclature, Characteristics, Flow over symmetric and cambered airfoils using thin airfoil theory, Source and Vortex Panel Methods, Incompressible Flow over Finite Wings - Lifting Line theory, Induced drag, Numerical lifting line theory and vortex lattice method, Delta Wings
Brief idea of the profs of the department:
Most of the professors in the aerospace department are good teachers and even better researchers. Having taken up courses under Prof. A M Pradeep, Prof. Viren Menezes, Prof. Ashok Joshi (retired now), I can personally assure that the lectures will be intriguing. Supervised Learning Projects (SLP) is one way to take up research work under the supervision of professors in the aerospace department, which can also be tagged as institute elective for students of other departments. The best way to know more about the teaching methods and research guidance of the professors in the aerospace department would be to talk to their PhD students and seniors from the department.
Did the minor influence your career decisions (both in terms of placement/univ) and if yes, how so? Also mention if it helped in your placement/univ applications:
Having an interest in the field of Aerospace from pre-JEE days, the minor program provided me an opportunity to explore my ambitions. Every theory studied in core mechanical courses had some application in the aerospace sector which made it easier to relate while doing the minor courses. Pursuing the minor led me to work in the tech team HYPER and co-found another tech team – ExoFly. With a genuine interest in flying, I was also the convener and an active member of the Aeromodelling Club at IIT-B. Building up on my interest, I secured a university internship in the US on a research topic related to the aerospace sector. Continuing the topic picked up during the internship, I pursued my dual degree project under the supervision of Prof. A M Pradeep from the aerospace department and Prof. Arunkumar Sridharan from the mechanical department. All these experiences helped me secure a placement in Shell. And although Shell is an oil and gas company, having a continuous experience in a specialized field gave me multiple experiences to talk about during my interview process. I also look forward to continuing building up on my knowledge on Aerospace engineering through my research work and relevant learning opportunities.