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Course year 1
Teaching units Unit CFD Fundamentals and Aerodynamics
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 INGLESE
Contents download pdf download




The course is meant to give the students an introduction to incompressible aerodynamics, together with the fundamental Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) knowledge. Fundamental principles and governing equation of fluid dynamics are introduced. The different physical mechanisms for the generation of the aerodynamic forces on streamlined and blunt bodies and the methodologies for their evaluation. These concepts are lately applied to ground vehicles. At the end of the course students are able to analyze the aerodynamic characteristics of family cars and race cars and to attempt the aerodynmic design of a road vehicle. Both design and a-posteriori verification may be carried out using CFD tools whose fundamentals are covered by the course.

Admission requirements

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

Course contents

Compressible aerodynamics fundamentals and governing equations. Turbulence. RANS equations. Vortex dynamics. Boundary layer theory. Potential flow solutions. Airfoils. Wings of finite span. Blunt body aerodynamics. Road vehicle aerodynamics. Race car aerodynamics. Wind tunnels for road vehicles.
Spatial and temporal discretization in Computational Fluid Dynamics. Characteristics of a numerical code. The Finite Volume method. Structured and non structured computational mesh. Polyhedral, tetrahedral, and hexahedral mesh. Sources of errors. Stability studies. The structure of a CFD code.

Teaching methods

Lectures are held on the course topics. Seminars by road vehicle Aerodynamics experts are planned. Lecture notes are available on the course web site. In order to deepen their understanding, students are enocuraged to study the course topics on text books suggested by the teacher.

Assessment methods

Exams in “CFD Fundamentals and Aerodynamics” 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 (June-September 2021). 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 (June-September 2021). 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. The use of a calculator is allowed during the written test (June-September 2021).

Learning outcomes

• Fundamentals of incompressible 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
• Ability to find strategies for increasing the downforce of a road vehicle
• Fundamentals of CFD for incompressible aerodynamics


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 C. A. J. Fletcher. Computational techniques for fluid dynamics, Vol. 1, 2nd edn, Springer, Berlin, 1991.
8 J. D. Anderson. Computational Fluid Dynamics - The basics with Applications. Mc Graw-Hill, 1995.
9 H. Versteeg and W. Malalasekera. An Introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics: The Finite Volume Method. Longman Scientific & Technical, 1995
10 E. Stalio. Lecture notes. Unpublished, 2018.