Undergraduate Teaching

Engineering Tripos Part IB, 2P4: Thermofluid Mechanics, 2021-22

Engineering Tripos Part IB, 2P4: Thermofluid Mechanics, 2021-22

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Course Leader

Dr L Xu


Prof R Miller, Dr R Garcia-Mayoral and Dr S Scott

Timing and Structure

Weeks 1-5 Michaelmas term (Prof RJ Miller), week 6-8 Michaelmas and weeks 1-3 Lent term (Dr R Garcia-Mayoral), weeks 4-5 Lent term (Dr SA Scott), 26 lectures, 2 lectures/week


The aims of the course are to:

  • Introduction to 2nd law analysis.
  • Show how irreversibilities affect the performance of gas power cycles.
  • Introduce the properties of working substances other than ideal gases.
  • Describe and analyse simple steam power plant, including the effect of irreversibilities.
  • Introduce and analyse refrigeration and heat pump cycles.
  • Describe how to evaluate the properties of gas and gas/vapour mixtures.
  • Show how the First Law may be applied to Combustion.
  • Explore the issues associated with scaling fluid flows and conducting model tests.
  • Review inviscid flow in three dimensions and derive the Euler equation.
  • Examine the effects of viscosity on fluid flow.
  • Introduce the phenomena of laminar and turbulent flow and of boundary layers.
  • Develop analysis tools for 1D heat condition, and simple transient conduction problems.
  • Examine heat transfer by convection.
  • Introduce heat transfer by thermal radiation, including radiation in the environment.
  • Describe common types of heat exchanger, and perform an elementary analysis of performance


As specific objectives, by the end of the course students should be able to:

  • Understand the effects of irreversibilities in gas, steam power cycles, and heat pump/refrigeration cycles.
  • Understand and be able to use tables of properties for common working substances.
  • Understand how to evaluate the properties of arbitrary mixtures of perfect gases, and gas/vapour mixtures, and apply this understanding to problems in psychrometry and combustion.
  • Understand the relevance of non-dimensional groups in determining the qualitative nature of fluid flow and how to apply this to model testing.
  • Be able to set up the equations governing laminar viscous flow, and solve them for simple problems.
  • Understand how irreversibilities arise in fluid flow and be able to make estimates of loss, drag, etc.
  • Describe qualitatively the basic characteristics of boundary layers in internal and external flows.
  • Be able to analyse simple problems in conduction, convection and radiation heat exchange.
  • Understand the physical principles underlying heat transfer correlations and be able to use these to estimate heat transfer coefficients.


Thermodynamics: lectures 1-10

Analysis of steady flow processes - Revision (1L)

  • 1st & 2nd laws applied to steady flow device
  • The ‘quantity’ and ‘quality’ of energy
  • Irreversible entropy creation
  • Examples of steady-flow devices

2nd law analysis (1L)

  • The different value of work and heat
  • The maximum available power in a steady flow device
  • The dead state
  • How to apply availability to a steady flow device
  • Lost power potential due to irreversible

Gas turbines(1L)

  • Compressor and turbine irreversibilities
  • Combustion changes in gas composition
  • First law analysis of gas turbines
  • Land based gas turbines and aeroengines
  • Second law analysis of gas turbines:Availability

Working fluids(2L)

  • p-v-T data for water and normal fluids
  • Saturation lines, the triple point, the critical point
  • Evaluating properties, dryness fraction
  • Working with tabulated data

Power Generation (2L)

  • Vapour power plant
  • The Rankine cycle
  • Reheating and superheating
  • Isentropic efficiency
  • Combined gas-vapour power cycles
  • 1st law analysis of Rankine cycles
  • 2nd law analysis of Rankine cycles
  • HRSG analysis

Refrigeration cycles (1L)

  • Refrigerators and heat pumps
  • Coefficient of performance
  • Real refrigeration cycles
  • The T-s and p-h diagram
  • Choice of refrigerants
  • Practical cycles

Properties of Mixtures (1L)

  • Describing mixture composition
  • Dalton's law
  • Amagat's law
  • p,v,T relations for a mixture of ideal gases
  • Evaluations of U,H & S for a mixture of ideal gases
  • Analysis of gas,vapour mixtures
  • Saturated mixtures
  • Specific humidity & relative humidity
  • Dew point
  • Air conditioning

Combustion (1L)

  • Chemical equations
  • Lambda and equivalence ratio
  • First law applied to combustion
  • Phase change of reactants

Fluid Mechanics: lectures 11-20

Incompressible inviscid flow (2L)

  • Law of conservation of mass
  • Incompressible flow
  • The material derivative, D/Dt
  • Euler's equation
  • Bernoulli's equation
  • Streamline curvature
  • Determination of the pressure field from the streamlines of a flow

Incompressible viscous flow (1L)

  • Viscosity: momentum transfer through molecular motion
  • Couette flow and Poiseuille flow
  • Navier-Stokes equations

Dimensional analysis and scaling (1L)

  • The Pi theorem
  • The dimensionless form of Navier-Stokes equations
  • Order-of-magnitude analysis
  • Orifice plate example
  • Aeroplane example
  • Ship example

Turbulence and the Pipe Flow Experiment (1L)

  • Laminar flow in a circular pipe
  • Turbulent flow in a circular pipe
  • Turbulence, mixing and momentum transport
  • Roughness

Network analysis (1L)

  • Static pressure and stagnation pressure
  • Stagnation pressure losses across pipe components
  • Stagnation pressure changes across pumps and compressors
  • Network analysis

Laminar boundary layers (1L)

  • Boundary layers
  • Pressure gradients in boundary layers
  • Boundary layer separation

Turbulent Boundary Layers (1L)

  • Reynolds number in a boundary layer
  • Transition to turbulence in a boundary layer
  • Effect of turbulence on a boundary layer
  • Comparison of transition and separation
  • Boundary layer re-attachment

External Flows and Drag (1L)

  • Lift and drag
  • External flows at different Reynolds numbers
  • Delayed separation and drag reduction
  • Vortex shedding

Heat transfer: lectures 21 – 26

Properties of a fluid (1L) Heat Transfer by Conduction (2L)

  • Molecular picture vs. continuum picture
  • Macroscopic properties of a fluid
  • Partial derivatives
  • Conduction in solids - Fourier's law
  • Energy balance in 1D
  • Overall resistance to heat transfer
  • Dimensional analysis
  • Lumped heat capacity model

Heat Exchangers (0.5L)

  • Description of major types
  • Analysis, effectiveness, LMTD

Heat Transfer by convection (2L)

  • Energy considerations for flows with heat transfer
  • Forced convection, Reynolds and Prandtl, Nusselt and Stanton numbers
  • Reynolds analogy
  • Natural convection. Grashoff and Rayleigh numbers

Heat Transfer by Radiation (1.5L)

  • Radiation from black bodies
  • Emissivity and radiation from grey bodies
  • View factors
  • Radiation networks


Please refer to the Booklist for Part IB Courses for references to this module, this can be found on the associated Moodle course.

Examination Guidelines

Please refer to Form & conduct of the examinations.


The UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC) describes the requirements that have to be met in order to become a Chartered Engineer, and gives examples of ways of doing this.

UK-SPEC is published by the Engineering Council on behalf of the UK engineering profession. The standard has been developed, and is regularly updated, by panels representing professional engineering institutions, employers and engineering educators. Of particular relevance here is the 'Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes' (AHEP) document which sets out the standard for degree accreditation.

The Output Standards Matrices indicate where each of the Output Criteria as specified in the AHEP 3rd edition document is addressed within the Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering Triposes.

Last modified: 04/10/2021 08:53