Specialisation in Aeronautics

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Learn to contribute to new high-tech applications for the aeronautical sector in which aerodynamics, acoustics, structures, materials, and propulsion meet.

Throughout the last century, we have witnessed an evolution of the aviation industry, with aircraft getting larger and larger and becoming a common mode of transport for millions of passengers. And as the demand for air travel continues to increase in the coming decades, the challenges have become more urgent. How can we move towards a sustainable future of air travel? How can you reduce large CO2 emissions or noise pollution? And what are the opportunities of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and what does it take to implement them responsibly? But also, how do the principles of aerodynamics for aeroplanes apply to, for example, wind turbines, ships, or cars? How do we optimally design for maintenance? Can we design and make better (meta)materials? And how can you use this knowledge to realise optimisation in these and other applications as well? These are some of the many types of questions you might deal with in the specialisation in Aeronautics.

“Studying Aeronautics in the wider context of a Mechanical Engineering programme has great benefits, as you will integrate many facets of mechanical engineering, like materials science, control, and fluid dynamics all in one programme. It will give you a broad foundation, yet with profound knowledge in the field of aeronautical engineering.”

Prof. Dr. Ir. Kees Venner, specialisation coordinator Aeronautics

What is Aeronautics?

The specialisation in Aeronautics focuses on aerodynamics and its interaction with acoustics, structures, and propulsion used for high-tech applications within the aeronautical industry, but also other applications in e.g. wind turbine design, the maritime or the automotive sector. It covers aspects including the optimisation of aircraft designs, the design and operation of vehicles for Urban Air Mobility and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and the advancement of wind turbine technology, but also new technologies for production, energy storage or energy harvesting, electric propulsion, the design of multifunctional materials combining structural integrity and noise control, and in-flight monitoring. From aerodynamics, aeroacoustics, fluid dynamics, structural dynamics, control, and materials science to safety and maintenance engineering: you will become equipped with (fundamental) knowledge of mechanical engineering disciplines that are essential to the field of aeronautical engineering.

Examples of courses you might follow during this specialisation:
  • Building on the fundaments of basic fluid mechanics, the course Aircraft and Wind Turbine Aerodynamics deepens your knowledge of aerodynamics on a fundamental level as well as regarding the application to flows around aerofoils, aircraft wing, high lift devices, wind turbine blades, etc., and interpretation of the results in terms of flight and control.
  • The course Experimental methods in Thermal Fluid Engineering, teaches you the most advanced experimental methods for aerodynamic flow measurements (Particle Imaging Velocimetry, Particle Tracking, Constant Temperature Anemometry) and aeroacoustic measurements (microphone arrays, beamforming) in the unique Aeroacoustic Wind Tunnel facility, a crucial method for a future job in the aeronautic industry. 
  • In the aeronautical sector, knowledge of materials and their load and fatigue limits is essential. We know a lot about classic materials such as aluminium and steel, but we know relatively little about new materials such as composites. The course Composites covers the special aspects of the analysis of the behaviour and failure of composite materials that are widely used because of their strength/weight ratio.

You will learn to come up with solutions that can enhance performance with minimal environmental impact. You could explore the use of light-weighted composite materials to improve fuel efficiency, or test noise reduction technologies in our state-of-the-art wind tunnel. Or what about improving safety by designing smart control systems?

Moreover, you will not only learn how the aeronautical industry can become more sustainable but also: how can the aeronautical sector contribute to future sustainability? Think, for example, of the development of satellites and other spacecraft that allow us to collect detailed earth observation data that yields essential information on atmospheric conditions and other climate change-related phenomena. With the knowledge you will acquire within this specialisation, you might contribute to the development of new, sustainable technologies for spacecraft.

What will you learn?

As a graduate of this Master's and this specialisation, you have acquired specific, scientific knowledge, skills and values, which you can put to good use in your future job.

  • Knowledge

    After completing this Master’s specialisation, you:

    • have a sound knowledge base of the disciplines in physics and engineering essential for aeronautics applications such as aerodynamics, mechanics of materials, maintenance, and safety;
    • have fundamental knowledge of advanced computer modelling and simulation methods (Computational Fluid Dynamics, and Finite Element Analysis) for analysis and design in aeronautics, as well as good awareness of their limitations, highly relevant for practical use in industry;
    • have knowledge of, and experience with experimental methods, in particular, advanced (wind tunnel) testing methods, which is a crucial method in aeronautics for aerodynamics and aeroacoustics (noise reduction) for industry and science.
  • Skills

    After successfully finishing this Master’s specialisation, you:

    • can critically evaluate the impact of design alternatives or modifications e.g. blades, wings, structural parts, methods and procedures, from different perspectives, and indicate bottlenecks for sustainability, performance, and safety (failure), and provide alternatives;
    • can quickly create an overview of complex projects and designs and their impact;
    • are able to set up and lead interdisciplinary engineering projects involving different disciplines;
    • have an excellent base of knowledge and skills for a PhD in a range of disciplines in mechanical and aeronautical engineering.
  • Values

    After completing this Master’s specialisation, you:

    • are aware of the social, environmental, sustainability, and safety challenges in aeronautics and engineering and naturally integrate these in your (scientific) work;
    • have a positive mindset to continuously extend and deepen your knowledge through collaboration and self-study;
    • have an excellent professional work attitude suitable for a company as well as for working at a scientific research institute.

Other master’s and specialisations

Is this specialisation not exactly what you are looking for? Maybe one of the other specialisations suits you better, like the specialisation in Energy & Flow.

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