Propulsion for Absolute Beginners
Exclusively for GATE Aerospace Exam preperation.
•••S T I C K~T O~T H E~S Y L L A B U S•••
Let’s get straight to the point — You don’t need to go back to your Thermodynamics, Heat and Mass Transfer books because you don’t need to do that much and that too as a separate subject!
You just need to know the basics of Thermodynamics, Heat and Mass Transfer, Boundary Layer, Combustion and Thermochemistry.
But still, if you want to study them as a separate subject then I have shared - here — What exactly you need to do in Thermodynamics? (as well as in Fluid Dynamics).
In the above Quora link, if you find that it’s too much then you can blindly go with a perfect starting point (above course — Fluid Dynamics and Turbomachines) to get a good hold over the basics of Thermodynamics, Boundary Layer, Heat and Mass Transfer, Combustion and Thermochemistry. From this lecture series you have to jump and start from week 4 — External flows, Laminar and Turbulent Boundary Layers (i.e. Incomprehensible viscous internal and external flows) and then keep going till week 7/8 where you have to do only — Hydraulic Turbine — Reaction Turbines while leaving the topics from Pumps to Cavitation in Hydroturbomachines and do everything else till end.
Except for Combustion and Thermochemistry; all other necessary basics are covered till now. And again you don’t need to go for a separate book to study Combustion and Thermochemistry, since you can learn them when you will study Combustion Chamber in the Propulsion subject from the sources I am sharing below.
If you do all the above said then you are not only done with the necessary basics required for preperation of Propulsion but also you will be covering a major part of Propulsion — Velocity Triangles whose question will appear for sure in Compressor and Turbine topics.
Also, for the basics of Thermodynamics — For an outline of the Thermodynamics, you may refer it from J.D Anderson’s Fundamentals of Aerodynamics — chapter 7 and other concepts that are frequently used in Propulsion as well as in Aerodynamics can be covered from chapter — 8, 9 and 10 and then move on to core Propulsion syllabus after all this.
At an introductory level, you can cover propulsion in a broad sense through chapter 9 of Introduction to Flight book by Prof. Anderson.
Let’s say, you don’t want to do all those basics told above. So then, for a smooth transition from basics to core propulsion you can simply go with these NPTEL lectures of Prof. Roy and Pradeep since it covers the basics of Thermo and Propulsion (particularly — Gas Turbines, not Rocket Propulsion). This above NPTEL video series is apt for an absolute beginner in Propulsion with no background in thermodynamics and other concepts required for Propulsion. From this lecture series you will be covering around 60% of your Propulsion syllabus.
You may even go with another approach which will let you smoothly transit from the basics to the core Propulsion subject :
For that, you just need to pick up Gas Turbine book by Prof. V Ganesan and do the following —
Just like we have Fundamentals of Aerodynamics book by Prof. Anderson for basics of Fluid Dynamics to advanced level of Aerodynamics as per GATE Aerospace exam; similarly, we have this Gas Turbine book by Prof. V Ganesan which covers around 90% of your Propulsion syllabus — from basics of Thermodynamics, Heat and Mass Transfer, Boundary Layer to the Propulsion of Gas Turbine engines including introductory level of Rocket Propulsion as well. Therefore, you must follow this book as explained below:
From chapter 1–3, your essential basics will be covered for Thermodynamics, Heat and Mass Transfer, Boundary Layer.
Basics of Combustion and Thermochemistry will be covered in chapter 10 — Combustion Systems.
In chapter 4, your main focus should be on —
- Simple Gas Turbine
- Simple Gas Turbine with Heat Exchange
- Simple Gas Turbine with Reheat/Afterburner
- Twin shaft and Twin Spool arrangement
And then cover sub-topics — 4.2.1 to 4.6.2
From chapter 5, you must do the cycles of above mentioned engines. Apart from that you may go with other cycles and their combinations.
Your main focus should be mainly on the Brayton Cycle only and you can just leave/skim through other cycles e.g. Carnot, Rankine, Ericsson and Stirling Cycles.
From Chapter 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 —
You can leave —
Topic — 8.4 (partially) — Blade Shapes.
9.12 — Pressure Rise Calculation in Blade Ring.
Do everything else.
If you have 3rd edition of this book then leave Chapter 12 — Transonic and Supersonic Compressors and Turbines completely.
From chapter 13 (continuing 2nd edition) — just skim through the topics — 13.5 to 13.8.
Do chapter 14 from Prof. Roy and Pradeep NPTEL video lectures on Aerospace — Jet Aircraft Propulsion shared below.
Then leave chapter 15 — Environmental Considerations and Applications completely.
You are then left with Rocket Propulsion — Chapter 17 — do that completely. Around 40% of Rocket Propulsion is covered from this book’s chapter at introductory level.
Rest of the 60% of Rocket Propulsion can be covered from the sources shared below.
Just like we have Prof. A K Ghosh NPTEL video lectures for Flight Mechanics and Dynamics as one stop slotution. Here, for Propulsion, we have Prof. Roy and Pradeep NPTEL video lectures as one stop solution. From this lecture series, you will be covering around 93% of Propulsion syllabus; along with Rocket Propulsion at introductory level.
You may do the Centrifugal (Radial) and Axial Compressor topics from lecture 21–26 of these NPTEL videos of Prof. S K Som. He has explained them fabulously and they are really compact. Moreover, you can even do everything from lecture 21 — 40 from the above mentioned NPTEL videos of Prof S K Som for both Propulsion as well as Aerodynamics.
For Axial Turbine you may do that from here — it is part of another fabulous NPTEL lecture series of Prof S K Som. As of now, Radial Turbine is not in your syllabus.
If you do all the above, you will be done with basics and Gas Turbine engines i.e. 95% of Propulsion syllabus and then you will be left with 60% of Rocket Propulsion topic only.
Now let’s do the remaining 60% of Rocket Propulsion syllabus.
If you are having shortage of time for preparing Rocket Propulsion as a core subject then you may just cover the amount of basics given in chapter 9 of Introduction to Flight book by Prof J D Anderson Jr. and should also cover the Rocket Propulsion from S.M Yahya’s Compressible Flow book whose link is given below.
Till here, around 97% of your whole Propulsion syllabus will be covered; including Rocket Propulsion.
1 or 2 questions will come for sure from Rocket Propulsion.
If you want to go deeper into the core of Rocket Propulsion, then you may look at below NPTEL lectures of —
Prof. Ramamurthi — These NPTEL lectures by Prof. Ramamurthi are the best to cover what’s required for Rocket Propulsion — majorly Chemical Rockets.
Everything in above NPTEL lecture series is great but I would suggest you to look at the multi-staging part from below mentioned Prof. A. Kushari’s NPTEL videos as well.
Prof. Kushari — from these NPTEL lectures, you will cover a lot of unnecessary information that isn’t alligned with your required syllabus for Rocket Propulsion. So take this for reference purpose only because it’s shared with respect to the Dynamics/motion of the Rocket and have less amount of Chemical Rockets which is the core of Rocket Propulsion and that is covered by Prof. Ramamurthi fabulously in the above mentioned NPTEL lectures.
Other references —
For Thermodynamics —
For Heat and Mass Transfer —
For Gas Turbine Engines —
Turbomachinery Aerodynamics as a separate course by our Gurus — Prof Roy and Pradeep — just for reference only.
Roger, Cohen and Sarvanamutto — Gas Turbine Theory book. It’s examples are solved by Prof Roy and Pradeep in their NPTEL tutorials.
For Rocket Propulsion —