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Module Descriptor

MECH2004 Mechanics of Fluids & Thermodynamics

Code MECH2004
Alt. Code(s)
Title Mechanics of Fluids & Thermodynamics
Level 2
UCL Credits /  ECTs
0.5 / 7.5
End June
Taught by
Dr William Suen (50%) Module Coordinator
  Dr Pavlos Aleiferis (50%)


Completion of first year Thermodynamics (MECH1002) and Mechanics of Fluids (MECH1001).

Mathematics to first year undergraduate level including integrals and differential equations.

Course Aims

The aim of the fluids part of the course is to study the basics of fluid flow through pipes and around bodies. To achieve this it is necessary to study the boundary layer in some detail, what it is, how it can be modelled, how it behaves, how it can be controlled and the consequences this has on fluid flow and engineering design features. Analysis includes definition and use of coefficients of friction, pressure, drag and lift. The fundamentals of fluids mechanics and aerodynamics/hydrodynamics are studied both via empirical formulas and by introduction and derivation of differential equations from first principles. Analysis is carried out holistically in the context of experimental observations as well as theoretical modelling for various applications.

The thermodynamics part of the course covers 4 main topics:

  • mixtures of ideal gases,
  • elementary combustion,
  • steam turbine
  • gas turbine cycles

The coverage starts with a brief summary/revision of ideal gas law. The concept of ideal gas mixture and the calculation of its properties will be introduced. In particular, the mixture of air and water vapour will be studied. Various terminologies for moist air and their applications in air-conditioning will be addressed. Finally a direct-contact device, i.e. cooling tower will be studied including its operation, advantages and disadvantage. For combustion, students will learn how to balance a combustion equation for a given fuel and determine the corresponding stoichiometric coefficients and air/fuel ratio, and how to perform molar and gravimetric (wet and dry) analysis of the composition of the combustion product. For steam and gas turbine cycles, basic system components/configurations and operation (Rankine cycle and air-standard Joule cycle), and how the component/system performance is defined, will be introduced. The course provides students with a good basic understanding of factors affecting system performance and the techniques for improving the performance. Students will also have opportunities to practice on cycle calculations involving correct implementation of the energy and mass balances around the system, and the use of Steam Tables (SI Units).

Method of Instruction

Lecture presentations, tutorial classes and (two) laboratory classes.


The course has the following assessment components:

  • Written Examination (3 hours, 75%)
  • Two Laboratories (25%) one for Mechanics of Fluids (TF1) and one for Applied Thermodynamics (TF2)

To pass this course, students must:

  • Obtain an overall pass mark of 40% for all sections combined

Recommended Reading

  • Massey, B.S. (revised by J. Ward-Smith), Mechanics of Fluids, 8th Edition, Taylor and Francis, 2007.
  • White, F.M., Fluid Mechanics, 6th Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2006.
  • Turns S R, Thermal-Fluid Science, An Integrated Approach, Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  • Cengel Y A and Boles M A, Thermodynamics, An Engineering Approach, McGraw Hill, 2006.


Fluid flow past bodies. Incompressible: laminar and turbulent boundary layers; separation; flow in pipes; velocity profiles; inner and outer laws. Momentum Integral Equation. Introduction to the dynamics of compressible flow: isentropic flow; operation of nozzles, choking. Gas mixture. Gas turbine and Vapour power cycles. Radiation heat transfer. Introduction to combustion.

Page last modified on 25 sep 13 17:09