Dr. Ashok Gopalarathnam

Dr. Ashok Gopalarathnam

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Phone: 919-515-5669
Fax: 919-515-7968
Instructor Website
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MAE 589 604 Applied Aerodynamics

3 Credit Hours

This recently-developed course titled Applied Aerodynamics is offered both as an undergraduate special-topics elective (MAE 495) and a graduate special-topics course (MAE 589). The course will discuss the effect of aerodynamics on relevant aerospace and non-aerospace applications. The main focus of the course will be the prediction of aerodynamic forces and moments on vehicles and devices, and a discussion of how these forces affect the form and function of the various applications where aerodynamic plays an important role. Applications will include aircraft and non-aeronautical applications like race cars, wind-power devices, propellers, and rotorcraft, and some applications from nature like formation flight, flapping wings, etc. An important feature of the course will be the use of simple performance and system simulations to clearly understand the effects of the aerodynamics on the system behavior. For this, the equations of motion of the system will be simulated using the ODE suite available in the Matlab with functions that include aerodynamic forces acting on the vehicle. The course will be suitable for both AE and ME students. MAE 589 students will be assigned additional assignments and/or problems beyond those assigned to MAE 495 students.


Introductory course in aerodynamics or fluid mechanics (MAE 252 or MAE 308 or equivalent).

Course Topics

Introduction to aerodynamics and prediction of lift, drag, and moments.

Introduction to simulation of system dynamics using numerical integration of ordinary differential equations using Matlab.

Effect of aerodynamics on system performance using examples such as projectile motion, aircraft flight, race-car performance, sailboats, and wind turbines.

Simulation of system dynamics including aerodynamic effects using examples such air and ground vehicles.

Course Requirements

HOMEWORKS (5 to 7, including programming problems using Matlab)

EXAMS (1 mid-term and 1 final exam)

PROJECTS (1 final project using simulations with Matlab)


Reference books (none required):

  • Jan Roskam, Methods for Estimating Drag Polars of Subsonic Airplanes, Published by the Author, 1973
  • Hoerner, Fluid Dynamic Drag, Published by the author, 1993
  • Hoerner and Boerst, Fluid-Dynamic Lift, Published by the author, 1992
  • Anderson, J. D., Fundamentals of Aerodynamics, any edition, McGraw Hill
  • Pamadi, B., Performance, Stability, Dyanmics, and Control of Airplanes. 2nd edition, AIAA, 2004
  • Stinton, D., The Design of the Airplane, 2nd edition, AIAA, 2001
  • Katz, J., Race Car Aerodynamics, Bentley Publishers, 2003
  • Milliken and Milliken, Race Car Vehicle Dynamics, SAE, 1995

Computer and Software Requrements

Please review minimum computer specifications recommended by NC State University and Engineering Online.

Students should be comfortable writing programs in the Matlab environment.

Updated 10/08/2020