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Aerodynamics and general dynamics knowledge requirements.

  1. May 20, 2016 #1
    Long story short. Want to know waaaay before I get deep into Aerospace Engineering, what I need to know to do it and if I can, Ive already retrieved books on it. Like Fundamentals Of Aerodynamics... Some Calc 2 books.. Calc 1.. etc etc.

    However I look at Calc 1/2, then look at my Aerodynamics books, even though they explain it really well there.. Im seeing greek symbols and stuff I dont even know... where do you learn that and can you guys please help me with EVERYTHING I need to know to be able to open up https://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals-Aerodynamics-5th-John-Anderson/dp/0073398101 and be able to start learning and actually know what I'm looking at?

    So after Calc 1 - 3.. then?

    Really would appreciate it, after all the years I spent telling everyone im doing this, and passionate about it, I want ASSURANCE I can, by doing some work/learning about it years before I even have to do the work. I find it wise to know this beforehand... Im only in my first year of college, not even done with Calc 2 right now. But I open up this book and see crazy characters all over the place... I just want to be able to study and know it NOW. So I feel comfortable, pursuing to be a real engineer... Dont wanna be that average guy who switches...

    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. May 20, 2016 #2
    By the way sorry for being the "only ask question with low post count" guy. Promise I'll contribute once I actually have Physx knowledge.
  4. May 20, 2016 #3


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    In computers it is normal to have meaningful names for variables and functions, but in mathematical texts, single letters are used and allocated to different tasks. The a to z of school algebra is insufficient for the complex world of applied mathematics so the Greek alphabet is also used.

    Here is a list of Greek letter usage in mathematics.
  5. May 20, 2016 #4


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    Before you get to your aerodynamics/aerospace engineering courses, you'll have to study at least two years of the basic undergrad engineering curriculum, which includes a lot more subjects than simply the mathematics courses, simply to prepare you for the courses you'll study in the later years of your degree. You'll be studying stuff like statics and dynamics, fluid mechanics, general physics, etc. Simply thumbing through one textbook is not going to tell you all you need to know, even if you knew what all those Greek symbols meant, and no one, especially on an internet forum, is going to be able to teach you enough to short-circuit this process.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  6. May 20, 2016 #5


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    The symbols in an aerodynamics book will be defined somewhere in the book before they are used. Check if there is a table of symbols or if they are in the index. Otherwise, you may have to read from the beginning and keep a list. Most of the symbols used will be fairly standard for the subject of Aero (α = angle of attack, β = angle of sideslip, etc.).
  7. May 21, 2016 #6
    Perhaps not short circuit it... but having like a pre-cache won't hurt. All I want really. Fluid dynamics, mechanics, general physics.. Just want to dabble in it atleast beforehand. Why I was asking what kind of order should I look into this at. Don't want to do the whole courses before I even get their of course, but know the principals preemptively.

    And thanks guys for the Greek letter info. And yeah I figured it was due to how many more factors you use in this stuff you'd need more "variables".
  8. May 21, 2016 #7
    I used J.D. Anderson's book when I studied aerospace engineering. It was part of a second year course. It is a very good entry level book, but before we were ready to study and fully appreciate the content we studied, among other courses:
    Statics and Dynamics (Meriam and Kraige, first we did statics, then dynamics)
    Calculus (forgot the author, studied it alongside statics and dynamics)
    Mechanics of Materials (Timoshenko, after studying statics, together with dynamics)
    Linear algebra (Lay, started after after statics and the first half of the calculus book)
    Differential equations (Boyce and DiPrima, after finishing statics, calculus and linear algebra)
    Some courses containing simplified aerodynamics/fluid dynamics, at the level of Schaums outline fluid dynamics basically

    If you do not want to be that average guy, focus on what you need to learn NOW so you are prepared for what you would like to learn in the future.
  9. May 22, 2016 #8
    Exactly why i'm doing it now. Havent even started Calc/Static classes yet. But Im already studying on it.. about 1-2 years before I get there.
    So it looks like the statics/dynamics are the main components of knowledge I was missing. Perfect. Exactly what I was looking for, thanks.
    Interestingly the differentials seem easier to learn than from how infamous everyone is telling me they are.... I'll save the truly infamous ordeal expectations for the Dynamics...
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