Skip to main content
Unit outline_

AERO8261: Propulsion

Semester 1, 2023 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit aims to develop and understanding of aircraft propulsion systems. Students will learn to solve problems related to the analysis and selection of various propulsion systems in use- propellers, gas turbines, etc. The topics covered include: Propulsion unit requirements for subsonic and supersonic flight; thrust components, efficiencies, additive drag of intakes; Piston engine components and operation; Propeller theory; Operation, components and cycle analysis of gas turbine engines, turbojets, turbofans, turboprops, ramjets; Components: compressor, fan, burner, turbine, nozzle; Efficiency of components: Off-design considerations; Future directions: minimisation of noise and pollution, scram-jets, hybrid engines.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

Mathematics and Physics to a level of Bachelor of Science or equivalent. Good knowledge of fluid dynamics and thermodynamics

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Dries Verstraete,
Lecturer(s) Dries Verstraete,
Tutor(s) Beau Emmerson,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
Final exam part A: exercises
final exam. Exercises similar to the in-semester quizzes. Open book
15% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO6 LO10
Skills-based evaluation Final exam part B: theory
Oral exam that will be individually timetabled for students.
30% Formal exam period 30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO7
Small test Tutorial exercises
various types of propulsion related exercises
5% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO8 LO10 LO9
Small test Gas turbine lab report
gas turbine testing and reporting
5% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1
Assignment Propeller assignment
propeller testing and performance calculation
20% Week 05
Due date: 23 Mar 2023 at 23:59
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO5 LO9
Tutorial quiz Quiz 1
Quiz on design point performance
5% Week 09 1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO6 LO10
Assignment group assignment Gas turbine assignment
design point performance calculation of gas turbine engine.
15% Week 10
Due date: 04 May 2023 at 23:59
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO10 LO4
Tutorial quiz Quiz 2
quiz on off-design performance
5% Week 13 1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO6 LO10
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Please select a valid week from the list below independent work to prepare class, work on assignments, prepare quizzes, revise material. 5 hours per week Independent study (65 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10
Week 01 1. Course overview; 2. Review of thermodynamics and fluid mechanics; 3. Engine thrust and performance parameters Lecture (5 hr) LO8 LO10
Week 02 1. Propeller principles; 2. Froude Theory; 3. Blade Element Theory Lecture (5 hr) LO1 LO5 LO9
Week 03 1. Gas turbines; 2. Turbojet engines Lecture (5 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 04 1. Turbofan engines; 2. Afterburners; 3. Turboprop engines Lecture (5 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 05 Turbomachinery fundamentals and maps Lecture (5 hr) LO6 LO7
Week 06 Gas turbine component matching Lecture (5 hr) LO6 LO7
Week 07 Gas turbine off-design performance Lecture (5 hr) LO6 LO7
Week 08 Gas turbine engine control Lecture (5 hr) LO6 LO7
Week 09 Air intakes Lecture (5 hr) LO7
Week 10 1. Compressors; 2. Combustion chambers Lecture (5 hr) LO7
Week 11 1. Combustion chambers; 2. Turbines Lecture (5 hr) LO7
Week 12 1. Turbines; 2. Novel and advanced engine cycles (geared turbofan, intercooled cycles; ramjet/scramjet engines) Lecture (5 hr) LO2 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 13 Revision Lecture (5 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. write an engineering report on an experimental test
  • LO2. discuss and present engine performance and design data in a written report
  • LO3. explain engine performance and different engine types in an oral exam
  • LO4. design and select a gas turbine engine type for a given application
  • LO5. select appropriate engine cycles and propellers for a given aircraft and flight conditions
  • LO6. carry out a cycle analysis of a gas turbine engine, including ramjet and turbo-fan engines
  • LO7. understand the working of various components of gas turbines and how their interaction results in the overall engine performance
  • LO8. identify relevant data to estimate performance of existing aircraft engines
  • LO9. solve systems of non-linear equations governing propeller performance
  • LO10. solve thermodynamic cycle calculations for both design point and off-design calculations.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Assignments 2 and 3 were integrated into a single assignment


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.