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master degree course in AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING

Course year 1
Teaching units Unit Aerodinamica e gestione termica del veicolo
Mechanical Engineering (lesson)
  • TAF: Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class SSD: ING-IND/10 CFU: 9
Teachers: Andrea CIMARELLI, Enrico STALIO
Exam type written
Evaluation final vote
Teaching language Italiano
Contents download pdf download




The course is first of all meant to give the students an introduction to incompressible aerodynamics and applied fluid mechanics in general. Further, the different physical mechanisms for the generation of the aerodynamic forces on streamlined and blunt bodies and the methodologies for their evaluation are introduced. These concepts are lately specialized to ground vehicles. Basics of internal flows are introduced, together with the macroscopic balance equations in view of the design of road vehicle thermal management systems.
At the end of the course students are able to analyze and criticize the aerodynamic characteristics of family cars and race cars and to attempt to design the aerodynamics and thermal management of a road vehicle.

Admission requirements

Vector analysis, differential equations. Classical mechanics. General knowledge of fluid dynamics.

Course contents

Fundamentals and governing equations (18h). Vortex dynamics (2h). Boundary layer theory (10h). Potential flow solutions (3h). Airfoils (4h). Wings of finite span (4h). Blunt body aerodynamics (8h). Road vehicle aerodynamics (14h). Turbulence (8h). Macroscopic mass, momentum and energy balance (8h). Design of a heat exchanger, thermal analysis of a disk brake (2h).

Teaching methods

Lectures are held on the course topics and a couple of seminars are organized every year by road vehicle Aerodynamics experts

Assessment methods

Exams in “Aerodinamica e gestione Termica del Veicolo” consist of a remote written test and an oral examination. Oral examinations are in person but requests for remote participation in the oral examinations are granted. Seven exam sessions are planned per year. The written test is normally scheduled by 9:00 in the morning. A time of 30 minutes is assigned for the 3 questions in the written test. After the test the examiners view and evaluate student submissions. Once the evaluation is completed, the timetable for oral exams and examiners are communicated to the students. Students who have successfully completed at least 2 points out of 3 in the written test are admitted to the oral exam. The oral exam consists of two questions by two different examiners. The final mark is obtained by arithmetic mean of the examiners’ assessments. These do not include the written part.

Learning outcomes

- Fundamentals of low speed aerodynamics and blunt body aerodynamics
- Ability to understand the main aerodynamic features of a road vehicle
- Ability to find strategies for decrasing the aerodynamic drag of a road vehicle
- Fundamentals of internal flows, macroscopic balance equations
- Approach to the design of road vehicle thermal systems


1 J. D. Anderson. Fundamentals of Aerodynamics. Mc Graw-Hill, 4th edition, 2007.
2 G. Buresti. Elements of Fluid Dynamics. Imperial College Press, 2012.
3 W. H. Hucho, editor. Aerodynamics of Road Vehicles. SAE international, Warrendale USA, 4th edition, 1998.
4 R. H. Barnard. Road Vehicle Aerodynamic Design. MechAero Publishing, St. Albans, England, 2nd edition, 2001.
5 J. Katz. New Directions in Race Car Aerodynamics: designing for speed. Bentley Publishers, Cambridge, USA, 1995.
6 S. B. Pope. Turbulent flows. Cambridge University Press, New York, 2000.
7 R. B. Bird, W.E. Stewart, and E.N. Lightfoot. Transport Phenomena. John Wiley & Sons, 2nd edition, 2007.