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Just read Understanding Thermodynamics, what next?

  1. Apr 15, 2012 #1
    I am be interested in learning more about propulsions systems on aircraft, and realize a good understanding of thermo would help tremendously. I just read one of the Dover books, Understanding Thermodynamics to help get some of the basics down and now would like to take a step up to the next level. My understanding of thermo besides this book is very little where it was briefly discussed in chemistry last semester.

    In the fall I will be taking fundamentals of thermodynamics and the following spring a class on propulsion, but I'd like to go ahead and start learning about this subject.

    Would it be okay to jump to an introductory book on propulsion with my little background in thermo or should I try to get a better understanding of thermo first? Any suggestions of good books that are suited for my level would be great. Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 15, 2012 #2
    I've never taken a propulsion course, but I've skimmed through a few books. I think that parts of thermodynamics and heat/mass transfer would be beneficial.

    What math, physics, and engineering courses have you taken?
    What are the prerequisites for the propulsion course at your school?
  4. Apr 15, 2012 #3
    I'm in calculus 2 now, will have calculus 3 finished by early July and in physics 1 now, will be in the second course in the fall. Prerequisites needed for the propulsion class is intro to thermo and aerodynamics. I've yet to take statics and dynamics but will have those completed over the summer.

    Only engineering courses I have under me right now are materials science and a couple other general engineering and one on Solidworks.
  5. Apr 15, 2012 #4
    I'm not sure how much information you'll need to know, so I'll just list some courses and textbooks that I think will be beneficial.

    Differential Equations
    Elementary Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems - Boyce, DiPrima

    Thermal Physics
    Concepts in Thermal Physics - Blundell, Blundell

    Thermal Engineering
    Fundamentals of Heat and Mass Transfer - Bergman, Lavine, Incropera, DeWitt

    Fundamentals of Aerodynamics - Anderson

    There's a lot more information in these books than what you'll need, but you'll have a solid background in the mathematics, physics, and engineering when you take the propulsion course (or at least a few reference books).

    Edit: I forgot to mention that the prerequisite courses will cover essentially the same material listed in these books, so you might just want to wait until you take the courses at your school. But if you absolutely cannot wait, then these books should guide you in the right direction. :)
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012
  6. Apr 15, 2012 #5
    Thank you for your response. I have on the way the 6th, I believe, edition of intro to flight from Anderson. Seems to touch on a lot of the basics. I'm reading through The Illustrated Guide to Aerodynamics to become familiar with the terminology and some of the ideas. Fundamentals of Aerodynamics by Anderson is one I really want next, but I'd also like something specific to propulsion too. I know an understanding of thermodynamics is needed but I don't know to what extent. There is just too much I am excited to learn about! Any other suggestions from anyone else is welcome!
  7. Apr 15, 2012 #6
    I agree - there are so many related subjects that it's difficult to choose where to go next! :)

    Even though some (maybe most) of the material is not directly relevant, I still feel that it's worth learning because it might segue into another topic that you find interesting. Plus, learning subjects like thermodynamics from physics and engineering perspectives is beneficial because you get the best of the theory, applications, and intuition. They complement each other nicely.

    I've been wanting to check out Mechanics and Thermodynamics of Propulsion by Hill & Peterson for awhile, but I've been busy with other subjects. It has generally received positive reviews from Amazon.com and the table of contents looks exciting. See if your library has a copy to examine, it might be closer to what you're looking for.
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