The key technological achievement underlying the development and growth of the aerospace industry has been the design and development of efficient and economical propulsion systems. Major efforts are also now being dedicated to the development of new technologies relevant to the propfan and variable cycle engines. Aerospace Propulsion is a specialist option of the MSc in Thermal Power.


  • Start dateMarch or October
  • DurationMSc One year; PgDip up to one year
  • DeliveryTaught modules 50%, Individual research project 50%
  • QualificationMSc, PgDip
  • Study typeFull-time
  • CampusCranfield campus

Who is it for?

This course has been designed for those seeking a career in the design, development, operation and maintenance of propulsion systems.

Suitable for graduates seeking a challenging and rewarding career in an established international industry. Graduates are provided with the skills that allow them to deliver immediate benefits in a very demanding and rewarding workplace and therefore are in great demand.

Why this course?

This option is structured to enable you to pursue your own specific interests and career aspirations. You may choose from a range of optional modules and select an appropriate research project. An intensive two-week industrial management course is offered which assists in achieving exemptions from some engineering council requirements. You will gain a comprehensive background in the design and operation of different types of propulsion systems for aerospace applications, whilst looking at the methods of propulsion with the main focus on air-breathing engines and the use of gas turbines for propulsion.

We have been at the forefront of postgraduate education in aerospace propulsion at Cranfield since 1946. We have a global reputation for our advanced postgraduate education, extensive research and applied continuing professional development. Our graduates secure relevant employment within six months of graduation, and you can be sure that your qualification will be valued and respected by employers around the world.

Informed by Industry

Our industry partners help support our students in a number of ways - through guest lectures, awarding student prizes, recruiting course graduates and ensuring course content remains relevant to leading employers.

The Industrial Advisory Panel meets annually to maintain course relevancy and ensure that graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge required by leading employers. Knowledge gained from our extensive research and consultancy activity is also constantly fed back into the MSc programme. The Thermal Power MSc Industrial Advisory Panel is comprised of senior engineers from companies such as:

  • Alstrom
  • Canadian Forces
  • EASA
  • EasyJet
  • E-ON
  • RMC
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Royal Air Force (RAF).


Re-accreditation for the MSc in Thermal Power is currently being sought with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), and the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer.  Candidates must hold a CEng accredited BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree to comply with full CEng registration requirements.

Course details

The taught programme for the Aerospace Propulsion masters consists of eight compulsory modules and up to six optional modules. The modules are generally delivered from October to April.

Individual project

You are required to submit a written thesis describing an individual research project carried out during the course. Many individual research projects have been carried out with industrial sponsorship, and have often resulted in publication in international journals and symposium papers. This thesis is examined orally in September in the presence of an external examiner. 

Previous individual research projects have included:

  • Design of an experimental test rig facility for an axial compressor
  • Energy management in a hybrid turbo-electric, hydrogen fuelled, hale UAV
  • Civil aircraft intake, nacelle and nozzle aerodynamics
  • The computation of adiabatic isobaric combustion temperature
  • Air filtration systems for helicopters
  • Nacelle parametric design space exploration
  • Distributed propellers assessment for turboelectric distributed propulsion
  • Aerodynamic analysis of the flowfield distortion within a serpentine intake
  • Green runway: impact of water ingestion on medium and small jet engine performance and emissions
  • Distributed propulsion systems boundary layer ingestion for uav aircraft
  • Preliminary design of a low emissions combustor for a helicopter engine
  • Compressor design and performance simulation through the use of a through-flow method
  • Estimation of weight and mechanical losses of a pts for a geared turbofan engine
  • Optimisation of turbine disc for a small turbofan engine
  • Modelling of tip leakage flows in axial flow high pressure gas turbine
  • Aerodynamic modelling and adjoint-based shape optimisation of separate-jet exhaust systems
  • Preliminary design & performance analysis of a combustor for UAV.


Taught modules 50%, Individual research project 50%


Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed the compulsory modules and (where applicable) some elective modules affiliated with this programme which ran in the academic year 2018–2019. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2019 entry. All modules are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Compulsory modules
All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course


    To make Course Members familiar with design, operation, computation and performance criteria of gas turbine (GT) combustion and reheat systems and to explore issues related to gas turbine pollutant emissions.
    Introduction to GT combustor design considerations and sizing methodologies:
    Diffusion and pre-mixed flame characteristics; GT combustor design features and performance requirements; Design considerations and main functions of the primary, intermediate and dilution zones; Fundamental aspects of the ignition process; Sources of pressure loss; Performance criteria and requirements for pre-combustor diffusers; Faired and dump diffusers; Combustor sizing methodologies based on the pressure loss approach, combustor efficiency requirements and altitude relight requirements.

    Combustion efficiency:
    Definition of combustion efficiency and combustion efficiency requirements; Evaporation rate controlled systems – influence of fuel type, turbulence and pressure, drop size and residence time; Mixing rate controlled systems; Reaction rate controlled systems – derivation and significance of the “” parameter.

    Overview of GT generated pollutants:
    Products of combustion and their consequences; Mechanisms of formation of GT pollutants;

    Effects on the environment and/or human health; Overview of limitation strategies and associated challenges; Emissions legislation and targets.

    GT combustor heat transfer and cooling:
    Combustor buckling and cracking; Need for efficient methods of liner cooling; Heat transfer processes (Internal and external radiation, internal and external convection, conduction); Calculation of uncooled liner temperature; Effect of chamber variables on heat transfer terms, liner wall temperature and liner life; Film cooling techniques; Advanced wall cooling techniques; Combustor liner materials and thermal barrier coatings.

    GT fuels
    Appraise types and properties of fuels; Methodologies to calculate combustion temperatures for various fuel types, mixture strengths and pressures (both non-dissociated and dissociated).

    Computational methods for GT Combustors
    Requirements and capabilities of simple stirred-reactor and more advanced CFD models for predicting combustor performance and emissions

    Introduction to GT afterburners:
    Requirement and principle of afterburning; Effects of afterburning on engine performance; General arrangement, main components and design features of afterburners; Ignition methods for GT afterburners; Control requirements and methods for engines with afterburners; Considerations for selection of convergent and convergent-divergent nozzles..

Intended learning outcomes 1. Explain, evaluate and discuss the basic concepts and theories that underpin the design of gas turbine combustors.
2. Describe the purpose and operation of the 3 zones within a gas turbine combustor.
3. Evaluate the influence of combustor design choices on overall gas turbine engine configuration.
4. Employ a combustor sizing methodology to determine the dimensions, efficiency and operational requirements of a gas turbine combustor
5. Explain and evaluate the main factors that influence combustion efficiency.
6. Explain the mechanism of the formation of gas turbine pollutants.
7. Evaluate the major technologies employed to reduce gas turbine pollutants.
8. Discuss effects of emission legislation on present and future design of gas turbine engines
9. Apply heat transfer techniques to the calculation of gas turbine combustor liner temperature.
10. Assess the effect of materials, advanced cooling methods and thermal barrier coatings on the life of a gas turbine combustor liner.
11. Describe the properties, advantages and disadvantages of the fuels available for gas turbine engines.
12. Employ methodologies to calculate combustion temperatures for various fuel types, mixture strengths and pressures.
13. Explain the thermodynamic principles that underpin afterburning with both convergent and convergent-divergent nozzles.
14. Evaluate the effect of afterburning on the performance of a gas turbine engine.
15. Describe the purpose, operation and control of the main features of a gas turbine afterburner.
16. Describe the methods of ignition of a gas turbine afterburner.
17. Distinguish between simple and more advanced computational methods for combustor performance prediction in terms of modelling and capabilities.
18. Explain the requirement for ethical and professional conduct in the use of data and in the presentation of results and calculations

Engine Systems

Module Leader
  • Dr Yiguang Li
    To familiarise course members with engine systems or engine designs for stationary and aero gas turbines.
    Systems Symposium Topics
    Assessments of engine systems and auxiliaries for both aero and stationary gas turbines are addressed by means of a 'Systems Symposium', run by the MSc class. Topics covered by the systems symposium include: intake systems for aero engines and industrial gas turbines; anti-icing systems for aeroengines and industrial gas turbines; start systems for aeroengines and industrial gas turbines; start sequences for industrial gas turbines; compressor bleed and variable guide vanes; variable geometry nozzle guide vanes; gas path sealing of aero gas turbines; noise control of gas turbines; air filtration for industrial gas turbines; compressor and turbine cleaning systems; full authority and other electronic control systems; key gas turbine component design technologies, etc. Topics may also cover design technologies of gas turbine engines and their components, different families of engine products of major gas turbine manufacturers in different countries, comparison of competitive engines, etc.
    The objective is to undertake an evaluation of a specified aspect of gas turbine engineering, to make a presentation and to provide a technical review paper or design and assessment on the particular subject.
    Another aspect of the module is that the presentations are made in a conference format which requires the MSc students to work together to plan, organise and execute the events.

    Outline syllabus for a few sample individual topics:
    • Ignition system: Requirements and problems of altitude relight. Types of system -booster coils, high frequency, high energy and their applications.
    • Starting Systems: Electrical systems - low and high voltage, turbine systems- cartridge, iso-propyl nitrate, fuel-air, gas turbine, low pressure air and hydraulic systems and their applications.
    • Air systems: requirements, methods of cooling, pressure balancing of end loads, sealing, and applications.
    • Preliminary design of axial high pressure compressor: requirements, design criteria, preliminary design, analysis of design results, etc.
    • CFM56 engines: development history, OEM, product dexcription, key technologies, future development, etc.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Undertake an independent learning task to examine, evaluate and summarise, from a range of sources, the main technologies of a key aspect of gas turbine engineering
2. Based on the evaluation of the specific topic, make an assessment of the current state of the art and to identify future requirements, applications or technologies.
3. Present the outcomes of the review, evaluation and future expectation material in the form of a written conference style paper and presentation.
4. Act as a team member/leader to plan and organise a Gas Turbine Systems Symposium on the basis of a scientific conference.
5. Participate in the development of a business/management plan to market and present the Engine Systems Symposium to the wider gas turbine community with the objective of encouraging the attendance of external agencies.

Mechanical Design of Turbomachinery

Module Leader
  • Dr Panagiotis Laskaridis

    To familiarise course members with the common problems associated with the mechanical design and the lifing of the major rotating components of the gas turbine engine.

    Loads/forces/stresses in gas turbine engines: The origin of loads/forces/stresses in a gas turbine engine such as loads associated with: rotational inertia, flight, precession of shafts, pressure gradient, torsion, seizure, blade release, engine mountings within the airframe and bearings. Discussion of major loadings associated with the rotating components and those within the pressure casing including components subject to heating.

    Failure criteria: Monotonic failure criteria: proof, ultimate strength of materials. Theories of failure applied to bi-axial loads. Other failure mechanisms associated with gas turbine engines including creep and fatigue. Fatigue properties including SN and RM diagrams, the effect of stress concentration, mean stress etc. Cumulative fatigue, the double Goodman diagram technique to calculate the fatigue safety factor of gas turbine components. Methods of calculating the creep life of a component using the Larson-Miller Time-Temperature parameter.

    Applications: The design of discs and blades. Illustration of the magnitude of stresses in conventional axial flow blades by means of a simple desk-top method to include the effects of leaning the blade. The stressing of axial flow discs by means of a discretised hand calculation which illustrates the distribution and relative magnitude of the working stresses within a disc. The design of flanges and bolted structures. Leakage through a flanged joint and failure from fatigue.

    Blade vibration: Resonances. Desk top techniques for calculating the low order natural frequencies of turbomachine blades. Allowances for the effects of blade twist and centrifugal stiffening. Sources of blade excitation including stationary flow disturbance, rotating stall and flutter. Derivation of the Campbell diagram from which troublesome resonances may be identified. Allowances for temperature, pre-twist and centrifugal stiffening. Methods for dealing with resonances.

    Turbomachine rotordynamics: Estimation of the critical speeds of shafts using the Rayleigh-Ritz and Dunkerley’s methods and their relevance to gas turbine engines.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Describe and distinguish the design requirements and loads encountered by gas turbine components during normal operation.
2. Analyse, evaluate and assess the loads, stresses and failure criteria associated with the major gas turbine components.
3. Employ standard creep failure methodologies to assess the creep life of a gas turbine component subject to a complex operating profile.
4. Estimate the fatigue factor of safety in the design of components (such as gas turbine blades and shafts) which are subject to stresses from rotation and vibration using ‘double Goodman’ diagrams.
5. Employ desk-top methods to evaluate the stress distributions in gas turbine blades, discs and bolted flanges.
6. Employ desk-top methods to estimate the 1F/2F and 1T cold static vibration frequencies of gas turbine compressor and turbine blades.
7. Apply corrections to the cold-static vibration frequencies of gas turbine blades to allow for the effects of rotation, twist and temperature and display these on a Campbell diagram for the operating range of the engine.
8. Identify potentially harmful vibration frequencies from a Campbell diagram and suggest ways of ameliorating any problems.
9. Estimate the critical speeds of shafts using the Rayleigh-Ritz and Dunkerley methods illustrate these on an appropriate Campbell diagram.
10. Identify any problems arising from the analysis of a Campbell diagram for critical speeds and suggest possible remedies.
11. Evaluate the effect on the critical speed of shafts introducing flexibility into gas turbine bearings and identify any advantages/disadvantages.
12. Explain the requirement for ethical and professional conduct in the use of data and in the presentation of results and calculations.

Propulsion Systems Performance and Integration

Module Leader
  • Dr Devaiah Nalianda
    To equip course Members with background knowledge of aircraft propulsion, component performance integration.
    The course is divided into two major components: Component Performance and System Performance and Integration

    Component Performance
    Three main topics are dealt with in this section: Aircraft Performance, Jet Engine Performance, Intakes and Exhaust Systems.

    • Aircraft Performance:
    Deals with the major topics of flight and aerodynamics, such as lift, drag, range, performance and a section on the design of aircraft for different purposes.

    • Jet Engine Performance:
    Focuses mainly on the off-design performance of jet engines. Engine behaviour at different altitudes, flight speeds, ambient conditions and throttle settings are described. This topic features a presentation on the design of engines for various types of aircraft.

    • Intakes and Exhaust Systems:
    Outlines the major design features and operation of the components for subsonic and supersonic aircraft applications.

    System Performance and Integration:
    This portion of the course starts with the analysis of fundamental aerodynamics of unducted and ducted bodies. This is followed by the development, via the formal definitions of thrust and drag and the concept of stream-tube momentum force, of the relationship between the net propulsive force of the powerplant, engine thrust and nacelle forces. Alternative performance accounting relationships are developed for various choices of thrust interface using force, drag and the hybrid force/drag method. These are employed to illustrate the interplay between component forces. The treatment addresses the long and short-cowl podded nacelles, appropriate to civil engine installations, on- and off-wing; and the highly integrated installations encountered in military aircraft.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Analyse and assess aircraft performance in terms of lift, drag and range.
2. Describe the variations in thrust and specific fuel consumption of jet engines over a range of altitudes, flight Mach numbers and spool rotational speeds.
3. Evaluate and assess the various intake and exhaust systems available for different aircraft applications
4. Compare and differentiate the various engine installation configurations associated with the major aircraft applications.
5. Use component performance accounting relationships to assess the installation performance in respect of the integration of the engine and airframe.

Management for Technology

    The importance of technology leadership in driving the technical aspects of an organisations products, innovation, programmes, operations and strategy is paramount, especially in today’s turbulent commercial environment with its unprecedented pace of technological development. Demand for ever more complex products and services has become the norm.  The challenge for today’s manager is to deal with uncertainty, to allow technological innovation and change to flourish but also to remain within planned parameters of performance.  Many organisations engaged with technological innovation struggle to find engineers with the right skills.  Specifically, engineers have extensive subject/discipline knowledge but do not understand management processes in organisational context.  In addition, STEM graduates often lack interpersonal skills.
    • Engineers and Technologists in organisations: The role of organisations and the challenges facing engineers and technologies.
    • People management: Understanding you. Understanding other people. Working in teams. Dealing with conflicts.
    • The Business Environment: Understanding the business environment; identifying key trends and their implications for the organisation.
    • Strategy and Marketing: Developing effective strategies; Focusing on the customer; building competitive advantage; The role of strategic assets.
    • Finance: Profit and loss accounts. Balance sheets. Cash flow forecasting.Project appraisal.
    • New product development: Commercialising technology. Market drivers. Time to market. Focusing technology. Concerns.
    • Business game: Working in teams (companies), students will set up and run a technology company and make decisions on investment, R&D funding, operations, marketing and sales strategy.
    • Negotiation: Preparation for Negotiations. Negotiation process. Win-Win solutions.
    • Presentation skills: Understanding your audience. Focusing your message. Successful presentations. Getting your message across.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Recognise the importance of teamwork in the performance and success of organisations with particular reference to commercialising technological innovation.
  • Operate as an effective team member, recognising the contribution of individuals within the team, and capable of developing team working skills in themselves and others to improve the overall performance of a team.
  • Compare and evaluate the impact of the key functional areas (strategy, marketing and finance) on the commercial performance of an organisation, relevant to the manufacture of a product or provision of a technical service.
  • Design and deliver an effective presentation that justifies and supports any decisions or recommendations made
  • Argue and defend their judgements through constructive communication and negotiating skills.

Gas Turbine Performance Simulation and Diagnostics

Module Leader
  • Professor Pericles Pilidis
    To inform course members of the different types of gas turbine; their applications, design and transient performance.
    To provide course members with the ability to undertake gas turbine component performance calculations, diagnostics and to perform evaluations of gas turbine performance and deterioration.

    Gas Turbine Types and Applications
    Effect of design pressure ratio and turbine temperature on the basic gas turbine cycle. Modifications of the basic cycle, compounding, intercooling, reheating, heat exchange, bypass and fan cycles. Simulation of the above.

    Performance and Simulation
    Design point performance of turbojet and turboshaft cycles, effect of bypass ratio. Off design performance, effect of ambient temperature, altitude, throttle setting and flight speed. Non-dimensional representation. Gas turbine simulation. Effects of bleeds and power offtakes. Compressor turbine matching. Gas turbine degradation. Simulation and diagnostics of the above. Component maps. Surge alleviation, performance improvements, steady state and transient performance. Off-design performance calculations and iteration techniques Accelerations, decelerations, effects on surge margin. Transients of single shaft and multi-shaft engines. Transient performance simulation. Effects of heat transfer on transient performance.
    Software used for gas turbine performance simulation: TURBOMATCH

    Diagnostics and Monitoring.
    Description of gas turbine performance degradation and faults.
    Description of most commonly used gas turbine condition monitoring techniques.
    Software used for diagnostics: PYTHIA

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Describe the systems and calculate the performance in terms of power, thrust and specific fuel consumption of various types of gas turbine engines;
2. Assess the results from quantitative evaluations of gas turbine designs to determine appropriate power or propulsion systems for particular applications;
3. Describe and demonstrate iterative methods for the matching of compression and expansion components in engines to produce off-design points on the engine running line;
4. Employ and compare the methods of constant mass flow and inter-component volumes to assess the transient behaviour of gas turbine engines;
5. Through quantitative evaluations, and with supporting discursive descriptions, demonstrate a working knowledge of how thermodynamic laws underpin a wide range of gas turbine engines;
6. Assess the influence of ambient conditions and throttle setting on gas turbine performance;
7. Assess the impact of different degradation and faults on gas turbine performance;
8. Employ computer based gas turbine models to estimate performance at on-design and off-design conditions;
9. Employ computer based diagnostic analysis tools to detect gas turbine faults;
10. Explain the requirement for ethical and professional conduct in the use of data and in the presentation of results and calculations.

Turbomachinery and Blade Cooling

Module Leader
  • Dr Pavlos Zachos
    To familiarise Course Members with compressor and turbine aerodynamic design and performance by instruction, investigation and example. To introduce course members to the technology of gas turbine blade cooling through analytical and practical approaches of heat transfer principles, convection cooling, impingement film transpiration cooling and liquid cooling.

    Thermofluids: Introduction to aerodynamics, thermofluids, and compressible flows.

    Compressor Design and Performance

    Overall performance:       

    Fundamentals of axial flow compressors.  Overall performance, achievable pressure ratio and efficiency. The effect of Reynolds number,                            Mach number, and incidence. Definition of isentropic and polytropic efficiency, effect of pressure ratio, performance at constant speed, surge and surge margin definitions, running line, choking effects.

    The axial compressor stage: Stage loading and flow parameters, limitation in design on pitch line basis. Definition and choice of reaction at design, effect on stage efficiency. Loss sources in turbomachines and loss estimation methods. The ideal and real stage characteristic, stall and choke. The free vortex solution, limitations due to hub/tip ratio. Off-design performance Choice of overall annulus geometry, axial spacing, aspect ratio, limitations of rear hub/tip ratio. Compressor blading: selection of blade numbers, aspect ratio and basic blade profiling.

    Compressor Design Example: Multi-stage compressor design example carried out for a HPC.


    Turbine Design and Performance

    Overall performance: the expansion process and characteristics, annulus layout and design choices, choice of stage loading and flow coefficient, engine overall performance requirements, overall annulus geometry and layout; rising line, constant mean diameter and falling line.

    The axial turbine stage: Aerodynamic concepts and parameters, velocity triangles, reaction, stage loading, flow coefficients. The ideal and real characteristic. Design  for maximum power: effect of choking and change of inlet temperature and pressure.  Stage efficiency, overtip leakage, profile losses, correlations. Three-dimensional design aspects. Radial equilibrium and secondary flows.

    Turbine blading: choice of base profile, blade numbers and aspect ratio. Zweiffel's and alternative lift coefficients.

    Turbine Design Example: An aerodynamic design example is carried out for a HPT Heat Transfer Principles: Brief review of heat transfer principles and physical significance of non-dimensional groupings. Conditions around blades, boundary layers, external heat transfer coefficient distribution, effect of turbulence. Root cooled blades and NGVs, analytical and numerical methods of determining spanwise temperature distribution. Fibre strengthened and nickel base alloys.

    Need for high turbine entry temperature: effect on engine performance.

    Development of materials, manufacturing processes and cooling systems.

    Convection Cooling: Convectively cooled aerofoils: analytical approach for metal and cooling air spanwise temperature distribution. Cooling passage geometry and heat transfer characteristics. Cooling efficiency, cooling effectiveness and mass flow function: application at project design stage for determining metal and cooling air temperatures. Methods for optimising cooling system design: secondary surfaces and multipass. Internal temperature distribution of cooled aerofoils: calculations, comparisons with experimental results.

    Impingement, Film and Transpiration Cooling: Principles steady state and transient performance, characteristics, advantages, limitations, comparison with convection cooling. Cooling air feed and discharge systems. Integration of cooled turbine with aerodynamic performance and main engine design. Co-ordination of design responsibilities. Example of cooled turbine stage design.

    Liquid Cooling: Liquid cooling: principles, advantages and limitations, practical examples.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Identify and analyse the design and performance characteristics of turbomachinery components;
2. For given inlet conditions and requirements, determine the aerodynamic performance characteristics of a turbomachine and comment on the feasibility of the design;
3. Differentiate the design choices for axial compressors and turbines;
4. Construct an assessment of the aspects which affect the design and performance of axial turbomachines;
5. Construct formulations and critical evaluations of underpinning turbo-machinery theories;
6. Explain the requirement for ethical and professional conduct in the use of data and in the presentation of results and calculations.
7. Apply the concepts and theories of heat transfer and different cooling technologies to the cooling of turbine blades to produce a realistic assessment of their cooling requirements.
8. Explaining the major differences between the various heat transfer and cooling configurations used in cooled turbine blades.

Elective modules
A selection of modules from the following list need to be taken as part of this course

Fatigue and Fracture

Module Leader
  • Dr Panagiotis Laskaridis
    To enable course members to determine the life cycle of machines and machine components.

    In this module it is proposed to introduce students to the problem of lifting machines for repeated (cyclic) loads. Of course, there must also be an awareness of the damage arising from (so-called) steady loads (proof case), and from high temperature (creep case), but without doubt, the most damaging of all the failure modes is fatigue, which arises when a load is applied repeatedly, as when a gas-turbine is operated many times, or when a component, within the gas turbine, vibrates.

    It is not intended to dwell on the metallurgic nature of fatigue but instead to introduce students to calculating techniques, some of them quite simple, with which they may be able to determine the probable life of a machine. Fatigue and fracture are simply two sides of the same coin since they both give us insight into the nature of cyclic fracture, and both allow the determination of the cyclic life of a component under certain operating conditions.

    Fatigue is essentially empirical in nature that is, based on experience going back to the age when wheels first fell off rolling stock. Fracture is much more analytical in nature, and based upon an analytical model of the small flaw (imperfection) which all failed components can be assumed to have held. The course is liberally sprinkled with worked examples. Emphasis is placed on the application of Fatigue and Fracture theory on aero and stationary gas turbines and their components including turbo-machinery shafts, blades and disks.

    Materials: Materials Selection Process, Gas Turbine Materials, Aluminium alloys, Titanium alloys, Nickel and Cobalt superalloys, Metal Matrix Composites, Ceramic Matrix Composites, Polymer Composites, Coatings Technology for gas turbines, Corrosion Resistant Coatings, Thermal Barrier Coatings, Future Gas Turbine Materials.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Discuss and evaluate the key aspects, concepts and theories of fatigue failure within the context of gas turbine engines;
2. Adopt appropriate stress based methods to ensure the safe operation of gas turbine components subject to fatigue failure by estimating a fatigue factor of safety;
3. A nalyse complex component cyclic behaviour using the ‘rainflow’ cycle counting method and R-M/S-N diagrams to estimate component life;
4. Employ strain based methods to estimate the life of gas turbine components subject to low cycle fatigue;
5. Employ methodologies to assess the life and fatigue safety of components subject to ‘in-phase’ multi-axial fatigue;
6. Adopt the methods of linear elastic fracture mechanics to estimate the life to failure of a cracked component;
7. Analyse the results of lifing calculations to make engineering recommendations on the ‘in-service’ viability and safety of particular gas turbine components given a particular usage profile and environmental factors;
8. Discuss the major lifing philosophies with respect to airworthiness regulations applied to aero-gas turbine critical components;
9. Describe the criteria for the selection of materials for the major gas turbine components;
10. Describe the methods used to ensure that gas turbine components are resistant to environmental factors such as corrosion and thermal degradation;
11. Evaluate future/evolving gas turbine materials in terms of their properties and advantages over current materials.

Jet Engine Control

Module Leader
  • Dr Theoklis Nikolaidis

    This module aims to introduce aircraft engine control and to explain the philosophy of jet engine control requirements and systems to gas turbine engineers.

    Compressor performance
    The difficulty of compressing air; the overall compressor characteristic and its graphical presentation. Running line and surge line. Performance limitations at low rotational speed and low airflow. Design for surge alleviation. The use of variable inlet guide vanes, variable stators, air bleed, multi-spooling.

    Axial turbine performance
    Physics of expanding gas flows and choking. Performance at maximum flow. Effect of changes in inlet temperature and pressure. The turbine overall performance characteristic and turbine efficiency.

    Gas turbine control
    Needs and Implementation. The gas turbine is a very complex mechanism that has to operate within many constraints including aerodynamic, mechanical and handling issues. At the same time it also needs to be responsive and operate safely. An explanation will be given on these constraints and how different features such as variable stators, bleed valves and variable area nozzles can be used to implement safe and responsive engine handling. An explanation on component matching and the influence of each control feature on the operation of the engine.

    Introduction to fuel systems and fuel pumps
    To include the role of the fuel system; fuel properties; typical fuel flows, temperatures, and pressures in the system, descriptions of low pressure first stage pump, high pressure second stage pumps; typical modern control systems.

    Airframe Fuel Systems
    Low Pressure Engine Fuel Systems. To include typical LP system architecture, fuel pump inlet pressure requirements, the concept of Net Positive Suction Pressure (NPSP), establishing the low pressure pump design points; low pressure first stage pump types; fundamentals of LP pump design.

    High pressure engine fuel pumps
    Difference between positive displacement and rotodynamic pumps, types of positive displacement pumps; selecting the optimum drive speed; sizing a positive displacement pump; the effect of leakage on pump size and heat rejection; mechanical design considerations; journal bearing design; pointing design and minimizing cavitation erosion damage.

    Hydro-mechanical fuel metering
    Brief history of fuel control architectures leading to FADEC systems; Functions required by modern FADEC based fuel controls; impact of reliability requirements on modern fuel control architecture; modern fuel control architecture; basic principles of fuel flow; fuel metering; electrical interface devices used on modern fuel controls; engine actuation; demonstration of modern fuel control hardware; fitness for purpose, future trends in fuel control.

    Electronic engine control
    To include circuit design, mechanical design, software.

    Staged Combustion
    To include Aircraft emissions, emissions legislation, controlling emissions, fuel control requirements, fuel control, control laws.

    Fuel controls for ‘more/all’ electric engines
    To include impact of the More/All electric engine on fuel control, positive displacement pump based systems, centrifugal pump based systems, technical challenges.

    Airworthiness considerations
    European and USA regulatory requirements relevant to certification and substation of engine controls and fuel systems including their installation. Service history, occurrences and case studies

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Analyse the control needs and operational issues associated with gas turbines used for aircraft propulsion.
2. Describe and distinguish the objectives of the control philosophies of the available systems.
3. Assess jet engine control systems design as applied to different forms of aircraft propulsion.
4. Evaluate the different mechanisms and components that allow the safe and efficient operation of a jet engine.
5. Describe and discuss the regulatory requirements relevant to engine controls and fuel systems.

Gas Turbine Operations and Rotating Machines

Module Leader
  • Dr Uyioghosa Igie
    To familiarise the course member with various operations of gas turbines and other driven rotating machines.

    Gas Turbine Operations :
    • An overview of the different operational regimes for gas turbine application. This explores base load, peak load, standby and backup operations, alongside their individual operational requirements. It also include engine control modes such as operating at approximately constant exhaust gas temperature and load following mode. Analysis of gas turbine performance and health using machine sensor data from actual operation is also a key part. This part also highlights the use and impact of ancillary equipment (air filtration and compressor washing systems) in improving the performance and extending the operating hours of gas turbine machines.

    Steam Turbines:
    • Steam turbine fundamentals, applications and selection. This includes an overview of steam turbine plants operating on fossil fuel (combined cycle gas turbines) and nuclear energy. It also covers aspects of heat recovery systems, condensers, pumps and other auxiliary equipment.

    Diesel Engines for Heat and Power:
    • Diesel engine fundamentals; theory and principles. This includes 2-stroke (crosshead engine) and 4-stroke (trunk piston) types, their installation and operations. Utilisation of diesel engine waste heat recovery for district heating hot water systems, cooling systems using chiller and fresh water generation are the common applications explored. Diesel engine fuels and the means of controlling exhaust emissions is included.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Differentiate the operational regimes and requirements related to different gas turbine applications.
2. Evaluate gas turbine performance using machine data from actual operations.
3. Assess engine performance deterioration, as well as propose improved approaches in enhancing performance during operation.
4. Identify components and parameters related to steam turbine theory, performance and operation.
5. Differentiate and assess the applications of steam turbines.
6. Calculate diesel engine performance parameters, differentiate between 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines and differentiate operational requirements for these applications.
7. Differentiate and assess the applications of diesel engines for heat and power.
8. Evaluate the approaches to reducing and controlling harmful exhaust emissions in diesel engines.

Computational Fluid Dynamics for Gas Turbines

Module Leader
  • Dr Joao Amaral Teixeira
    To introduce course members to computationally-based flow modelling, applicable to turbomachinery components and gas turbine engines. To introduce students to the theoretical background of Computational Fluid Dynamics and to the limitations of CFD when applied to the solution of turbomachinery fluid flow problems. To provide experience in the use of a commercial CFD code through planning and conducting investigations of complex turbomachinery flow cases.
    Flow Modelling Strategies
    Introduction to computational fluid dynamics and the role of CFD in engine component evaluation and improved design. Review of current capabilities and future directions.

    Physical Modelling
    Governing Navier-Stokes equations. Approximate forms. Turbulence - turbulent averaging, mathematical closure and turbulence modelling. Scalar transport and chemical reaction. Reynolds averaging, Large Eddy Simulation, Direct Numerical Simulation.

    Finite Difference Equations
    Problem classification. Discretisation. Solution methods. Pressure correction. Boundary conditions. Mesh generation for practical flow geometries.

    Practical Demonstration
    Introduction to commercially available general purpose CFD codes (FLUENT and CFX) Case study tutorials and assessed assignment.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Summarise the key steps associated with the CFD modelling approach whilst adhering to good practice in the employment of numerical tools.
2. Design effective turbomachinery grid generation strategies to ensure numerical models are successfully employed.
3. Describe the fundamentals of turbulence modelling when applied to turbomachinery flows.
4. Plan, conduct, analyse and evaluate an engineering fluid problem using a commercial CFD package (Ansys Fluent/CFX).
5. Use CFD tools to generate effective analyses, evaluations and reporting of turbomachinery flow simulations.

Teaching team

You will be taught by experienced academic staff at Cranfield with many years of industrial experience. Our teaching team are active researchers as well as tutors and have extensive experience of aerospace propulsion, in both industrial and research and development environments. Continuing close collaboration with major engine manufacturers in both the UK and overseas, through teaching and research, ensures that this course maintains the relevance and professionalism for which it is internationally renowned. Knowledge gained working with our clients is continually fed back into the teaching programme, to ensure that you benefit from the very latest knowledge and techniques affecting industry. The course also includes visiting lecturers from industry who will relate the theory to current best practice.

Fees and funding

European Union students applying for university places in the 2018 to 2019 academic year will still have access to student funding support. Please see the UK Government’s announcement (21 April 2017).

Cranfield University welcomes applications from students from all over the world for our postgraduate programmes. The Home/EU student fees listed continue to apply to EU students.

MSc Full-time £11,250
PgDip Full-time £9,000

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2019 and 31 July 2020.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A non-refundable deposit is payable on offer acceptances and will be deducted from your overall tuition fee.  Home/EU Students will pay a £500 deposit.  Overseas Students will pay a £1,000 deposit.
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged.
  • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) pay Overseas fees.

MSc Full-time £23,000
PgDip Full-time £14,000

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2019 and 31 July 2020.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A non-refundable deposit is payable on offer acceptances and will be deducted from your overall tuition fee.  Home/EU Students will pay a £500 deposit.  Overseas Students will pay a £1,000 deposit.
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged.
  • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) pay Overseas fees.

Funding Opportunities

To help students find and secure appropriate funding, we have created a funding finder where you can search for suitable sources of funding by filtering the results to suit your needs. Visit the funding finder.

Fan Makers Bursary for MSc in Thermal Power
The Worshipful Company of Fan Makers is providing a £10,000 bursary for the MSc Thermal Power at Cranfield University starting in March 2020. One student who, without financial support, would not be able to attend the course can benefit from a life changing opportunity to contribute to the UK Power and Propulsion industry.

ISTAT Foundation Scholarships
The ISTAT Foundation is actively engaged in helping young people develop careers in aviation by offering scholarships of up to $US10,000. One student will be nominated for a scholarship each year by Cranfield University.

GREAT China Scholarship
The GREAT Cranfield University Scholarship China is jointly funded by Cranfield University and the British Council. Two scholarships of £11,000 each for Chinese students are available.

GREAT Thailand Scholarship
The GREAT Cranfield University Scholarship China is jointly funded by Cranfield University and the British Council. One scholarship of £20,000 for a Thai student is available.

The Cranfield Scholarship
We have a limited number of scholarships available for candidates from around the world. Scholarships are awarded to applicants who show both aptitude and ability for the subject they are applying. Find out more about the Cranfield Scholarship

Masters Loan from Student Finance England

A Masters Loan is now available for UK and EU applicants to help you pay for your Master’s course. You can apply for a loan at GOV.UK

Santander Scholarship

The Santander Scholarship at Cranfield University is worth £4,000 towards tuition fees for full-time master's courses. The scholarship is open to female students from the UK.

Commonwealth Scholarships for Developing Countries

Students from developing countries who would not otherwise be able to study in the UK can apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship which includes tuition fees, travel and monthly stipend for Master’s study.

Future Finance Student Loans

Cranfield University has partnered with Future Finance as an alternative source of funding for our students with loans of up to £40,000 available.

Chevening Scholarships

Chevening Scholarships are awarded to outstanding emerging leaders to pursue a one-year master’s at Cranfield university. The scholarship includes tuition fees, travel and monthly stipend for Master’s study.

Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS)

The Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS) is a funding programme providing affordable tuition fee and maintenance loans for full-time UK/EU students studying technology-based Masters courses.

Institution of Mechanical Engineers Postgraduate Masters Scholarship

IMechE is offering a number of postgraduate research Scholarships worth up to £6,500 to graduates with a 2:1 honours IMechE accredited BEng(Hons) degree to allow them to undertake an IMechE accredited Masters degree.

IGEM Postgraduate Masters Scholarship
The Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) is offering postgraduate Masters Scholarships worth £6,500 to those studying an Engineering Council accredited degree.

Royal Aeronautical Society
The Royal Aeronautical Society offer Centennial Scholarships for those studying an accredited course.

Lendwise Postgraduate Student Loan
The Lendwise Postgraduate Student Loan provides tuition fee and maintenance loans of between £5,000 and £100,000 for eligible applicants studying at Cranfield University.

Your career

Over 90% of the graduates of the course have found employment within the first year of course completion. Many of our graduates are employed in the following roles and industries:

  • Gas turbine engine manufacturers
  • Airframe manufacturers
  • Airline operators
  • Regulatory bodies
  • Aerospace/energy consultancies
  • Power production industries
  • Academia: doctoral studies

How to apply

Online application form. UK students are normally expected to attend an interview and financial support is best discussed at this time. Overseas and EU students may be interviewed by telephone.