Engineering Fluid Mechanics (H1029)

15 credits, Level 5

Autumn teaching

This module introduces you to the basic concepts of fluid mechanics, with applications in the field of engineering in mind. It teaches you the fundamental techniques used to understand the behaviour of fluids at rest and in motion.

Many engineering applications or devices need to interact with a fluid medium (such as air or water) in order to achieve a desired objective. For example, an aircraft moving in air, a ship sailing on water, or a wind turbine extracting power from wind. In each of the above, and many other scenarios, an engineer needs to understand the behaviour of the fluid when it interacts with the device in order to fully characterise the performance of the device. Fluid mechanics fundamentals are essential to achieve this.

An needs to tackle fluid related phenomena to design useful applications, whether it’s in the field of transport, energy, medicine, sports or everyday household appliances. Without a good understanding of the fundamentals of fluid mechanics, it would be practically impossible to produce successful designs.

This module takes you, step-by-step, from basic A-level physics and related mathematics to the theory and equations that describe stationary and moving fluid. You’ll be introduced to how these theories can be practically applied to simple, everyday examples involving fluid flow. The knowledge you gain is essential for understanding further applied topics in the Mechanical/Automotive BEng/MEng courses, such as thermal power cycles and computational fluid mechanics, and also for carrying out fluid mechanics based final-year projects.

Topics include:

  • fundamentals: historical perspectives, fluid properties, concept of pressure
  • fluid statics: force on submerged surfaces, buoyancy
  • concepts in fluid flow behaviour: motion of a fluid particle, mass continuity, laminar and turbulent flow, momentum equation, Navier Stokes equations for simple 2D fluid flow
  • boundary-layer theory and applications: velocity profile, skin friction and form drag, dimensionless groups, pipe flow networks, frictional resistance of moving bodies, lift and drag on aerofoil sections
  • potential flow: streamlines and the stream function for various simple flows (and combinations), the Kutta-Joukowski law
  • compressible flow: isentropic flow behaviour, total and static quantities, the speed of sound, flow in a convergent-divergent nozzle.


100%: Lecture


20%: Coursework (Test)
80%: Examination (Unseen examination)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 117 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: