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SD2800 Experimental Aerodynamics 6.0 credits

Wind-tunnel testing is the traditional tool to determine the aerodynamic forces acting on an aircraft. In this course you will perform a number of tests, mainly to compare computational and experimental results when this is possible, but also to show that experimental methods can be used to determine aerodynamic forces in cases where computational results are inaccurate or impossible to obtain.

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters
Headings with content from the Course syllabus SD2800 (Spring 2012–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

The course is based on three projects. Each project is initiated by a general lecture on the topic of each project. This is followed by a group exercise where initial estimates are made and the actual test is planned. Then follows the actual wind tunnel test which is performed in small groups. Finally, a computer lab is performed where the test data is analyzed and processed.

The first project involves an investigation of a wing profile. Measurements are taken of pressure distribution, drag and lift forces. Visualization techniques are used to investigate boundary layer effects and their influence on overall wing profile performance. The second project concerns the measurement of integrated forces on a complete aircraft configuration, in this case the Swedish Air Force jet trainer Saab 105 (SK60). In the final project, the high angle of attack aerodynamics of the supersonic Saab J35 Draken is analyzed.

Intended learning outcomes

The aim with course is that you should learn how to plan, conduct, and process data from wind tunnel tests. You should develop increased understanding of basic physical phenomena and their influence on the performance of aircraft. Comparisons between experimental and computational results are used to gain experience concerning what type of investigations are most suitable for an experimental approach.

The overall objectives of the course are that you should be able to:

  • decide which type of flight condition that is suitable for wind-tunnel testing,
  • process, interpret and compile data from wind-tunnel testing,
  • compare and combine computational and experimental aerodynamic data,
  • explain phenomena like stall, hysteresis, separation and influence from boundary layers.

Course disposition

No information inserted

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

SD2600 Aircraft Performance Analysis or permission from the coordinator.

Recommended prerequisites

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J.D. Anderson, Jr. "Fundamentals of Aerodynamics", McGraw-Hill. International student ed of 5th revised ed.

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • PRO1 - Project, 6.0 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade

Project assignment (PRO1; 6 university credits)

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web SD2800

Offered by

Main field of study

This course does not belong to any Main field of study.

Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

SD2805 Flight Mechanics and SD2610 Computational Aerodynamics.