Course Title: Boundary Layer Aerodynamics

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Boundary Layer Aerodynamics

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


115H Aerospace, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012

Course Coordinator: Dr Jon Watmuff

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6234

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Bundoora East Campus: Building 251, Level 3, Room 8

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

AERO2358 Advanced Aerodynamics

Course Description

This is an advanced aerodynamics course concerning boundary layers and other thin shear layers in viscous flows. Theoretical background includes the exact (Navier-Stokes) equations of motion, and simplifying approximations leading to the boundary layer equations. Properties of some analytical solutions are considered. More advanced topics include Thwaites’ method for calculation of boundary layers with arbitrary pressure gradients, boundary layer transition to turbulence, including linear stability theory, secondary instability and the onset of breakdown to turbulence. Transition prediction using the e^N method and bypass transition will be described. Basic theories for turbulent flows are considered, together with practical applications.

Please note that if you take this course for a bachelor honours program, your overall mark in this course will be one of the course marks that will be used to calculate the weighted average mark (WAM) that will determine your award level.
This applies to students who commence enrolment in a bachelor honours program from 1 January 2016 onwards. See the WAM information web page for more information.(;ID=eyj5c0mo77631)

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course develops and assesses the following program learning outcomes:
• In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline
• Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources

Upon successful completion of the course, you should be able to:
• Apply the fundamental concepts related to viscous flows in general, and to boundary layer flows, in particular, for the solution of the general problem of viscous flow around an arbitrary-shaped body
• Use exact solutions of the Navier-Stokes equations, including parallel flows, and flow between two concentric rotating cylinders, Stoke’s solutions and the boundary layer with wall suction
• Apply approximate solutions of the Navier-Stokes equations, including creeping flow, with applications to dispersion of particles and pollutants
• Analyse the boundary layer equations, and to apply the von Karman momentum-integral equation to the streamwise development, including the prediction of the variation of skin friction, and the effect of pressure gradients
• Define the approximations leading to theoretical models for the prediction of transition to turbulence, including linear stability theory and the e^N method, and to describe the concept of bypass transition
• Apply the equations for turbulent flow, including Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes equations (RANS), and solutions involving the concept of eddy viscosity, mixing length and von Karman’s similarity hypothesis applied to turbulent boundary layers

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities can include lectures, assignments, tutorials, a major project and a final exam. The project may be theoretical, experimental or numerical in nature and it will help students learn how to set up and solve a practical problem and how to interpret and interrogate data for the analysis process. Online learning, and directed problem-solving activities will be achieved through the assignment tasks.

Overview of Learning Resources

Course-related resources will be provided on the course Blackboard site, which is accessed through myRMIT. This material can include course notes, problem sheets and solutions, suggested topic areas and specification for the project and references.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment will be conducted using a combination of individual and group work, which can include assignments, a major project and a final examination.