Example programme structure

Thermal Power and Fluid Engineering [MSc]

Programme structure

The Thermal Power and Fluid Engineering MSc is studied for a full year. Semester 1 starts in September and you will study four units that are essential to getting a good start in Thermal Power and Fluid Engineering MSc programme.

These units are:

  • Heat Transfer

Thermal processes are crucial to the operation of many Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering systems, such as nuclear reactors, gas-turbines, domestic heating systems, cooling of electronics and electrical components and many others. In this unit the objective is to cover all major heat transfer topics. An extensive coverage of heat conduction is followed by an in-depth look at the phenomena of forced and natural heat convection, then an introduction to the topics of mass transfer, boiling and condensation heat transfer and finally thermal radiation. The aim of the unit is to develop in-depth understanding of the physical processes involved in the transfer of thermal energy and mass, in a range of phenomena encountered in engineering applications and also of the analytical techniques that can be applied.

  • Computational Fluid Dynamics

The CFD unit introduces the basic finite volume discretization techniques that are used in most general purpose computational fluid dynamics codes to simulate a wide variety of fluid flows.  The emphasis is on understanding the algorithms and approximations used, so that students will appreciate the strengths and limitations of different approaches and be able to make informed and sensible choices of which options to select when running most CFD software packages, in order to obtain reliable and accurate results.

  • Research Methods

This unit introduces MSc students to the Scientific Method with emphasis on relevance to research projects and dissertation writing. It equips students with the basic skills to design, implement and communicate research. Students will learn how to identify research questions, critically evaluate scientific literature, and apply appropriate methodologies. They will develop skills for the robust analysis of results. The unit covers academic writing skills for production of papers, reports and dissertations; as well as how to effectively deliver oral presentations to a range of audiences. Students will be introduced to the topics of Academic Integrity, Ethics and avoidance of plagiarism. Course appropriate Programming such as MATLAB and FORTRAN will also be included. Training in these essential research competences will be completed before the students embark on their projects to enable students to maximise their academic potential and produce high quality dissertations.

  • Experimental Methods

Experimentation in engineering is a crucial part of any design, research or production process. This unit contains both theoretical and practical aspects of experimentation including signal processing relevant to any engineering discipline. These skills will be reinforced in both a theoretical and a practical experimental sense through the design and implementation of an experiment. Specialist material focused on discipline-specific techniques and practices will also be covered. This unit, developed with input from industrial partners, will provide students with a set of desirable and transferable skills relevant to modern experimental engineering and will prepare them for a career in either research or industry.

Each unit is worth 15 credits and will take a total of about 150 hours of study time. You study will typically include attending lectures, tutorials and laboratory sessions. You will be assessed by submitting coursework and by taking examinations.

After a short break in teaching in late December/ New Year you will take your semester one examinations. In late January semester two commences and you will study four new units:

  • Thermodynamics

This unit equips candidates with a combination of fundamental and applied subjects, with the aim of providing engineers with an excellent grounding in thermal sciences. Through topics such as availability, exergy and equilibrium combustion, the course presents an exciting introduction to topics of central importance to industrial prime movers; in addition, the course provides the background necessary to contribute positively to ongoing environmental issues. Through applied topics such as IC engine analysis, endoreversible cycle analysis and psychometry, fundamental topics are complimented by a range of directly applicable engineering principles, shortening the distance between our MSc graduates and experienced thermal engineers.

  • Advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics

Students will have been exposed to core concepts of Computational Fluid Dynamics prior to taking this course, and will have covered the numerical methods and tools in use by the majority of today’s industries, such as finite volume or finite difference methods. We extend this by focusing on ‘real world challenges’ and ‘emerging technology’. In the first instance we cast an industrial perspective on the topic, reviewing the range techniques for resolving turbulent flows and the problems posed in handing complex geometries. Subsequently this unit offers the opportunity to examine and experiment with more recently developed and emerging methods, such as Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics and the Lattice Boltzmann Method. The unit represents a unique opportunity to compare and contrast several emerging methods for CFD, which is rarely available in a single program. The School of MACE is able to call upon academics working across a broad range of CFD applications. Students will be exposed to methods and topics at the forefront of academic research and will be able to use this knowledge to inform their CFD-related decision making in their future career.

The detailed insight and applied knowledge of both workhorse and emerging technologies form key components of all future engineers, and the field of Computational Fluid Dynamics is no exception. The hands-on experience and the opportunity to assess and compare a suite of techniques and methods will provide students with a unique perspective of the role CFD has to play in the engineering world, both from an applied and a more blue-sky perspective.

  • Advanced Power

The prevalence of combustion as a prime mover in industrialised economies is reflected in the course. Through a primer in premixed and non-premixed combustion (coupled with the equilibrium combustion analysis in the pre-requisite thermodynamics component), the unit provides a coherent and comprehensive introduction to reacting flows. The unit also provides overviews of emerging technologies such as cryogenic engines, batteries and fuel cells, the latter two of which in particular attempt to circumvent the limits imposed by fundamental heat engine physics. Chemical kinetics, irreversibility and power production provide the unifying themes between the separate topics, with thermodynamics principles fully explored in each.

  • Fluid Mechanics

Besides addressing the backbone of modern fluid mechanics (derivation of the Navier-Stokes equations, their limiting forms, turbulence and its modelling), this unit offers extensive coverage of boundary layers, including active/passive flow modification techniques (flow management). Additionally, this unit covers boiling two-phase flows in both conventional and micro-scale channels for high heat flux cooling applications (nuclear fission/fusion reactors, high energy physics particle detectors, microelectronics components and lasers).

During semester two youwill also start to prepare for your dissertation.  This may involve laboratory or workshop activity as well as an extensive reading of academic literature using the resources of the University of Manchester library.

In late May to early June you will take your semester two examinations. You will then focus your remaining weeks of study on completing your dissertation. The dissertation is worth 60 credits which is about 600 hours work. You will meet with your academic supervisor for advice and feedback as your dissertation research develops. Your dissertation will be completed during the summer and submitted for assessment in early September. Successful students will graduate in December with a MSc in Thermal Power and Fluid Engineering at a formal ceremony on the historic campus of the University of Manchester, to which you may invite family or friends.   

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