Postgraduate taught 

Aerospace Engineering MSc

Aircraft Vibration and Aeroelasticity 4 ENG4023

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Engineering
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will foster the students' interest in aeroelasticity and structural dynamics, introduce them to aeroelastic concepts such as "the flexible aircraft", provide them with a wide range of tools to model problems in aeroelasticity and discuss modern methods and challenges in this field.


2 lectures per week

Rooms where video & audio recording is possible are requested for the lectures in this course to explore the "flipped-classroom" approach and to offer this course online in the future.

Excluded Courses





25% Final Written Exam


25% Mid Term Exam - to be administered in one of the booked Lab sessions; will include the use of a computer and notes from class.


10% Set Exercise: Continuous assessment through Moodle quizzes/assignments


40% Project work: Analytical and numerical implementation of concepts derived in class.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aims of this course are to:

■ foster student interest in aeroelasticity and to introduce them to aeroelastic concepts such as "the flexible aircraft" and structural dynamic/aerodynamic interaction and stability;

■ provide an understanding of complex structural dynamics and aeroelasticity by use of simple Lagrangian models of aircraft wing, fuselage, and rotor systems;

■ give the student a wide range of tools to model the structural dynamics of aircraft wings;

■ demonstrate the diverse nature of aeroelasticity problems by bringing together aspects of previous courses, such as dynamics, structures, mathematics and aerodynamics;

■ provide the student with a phenomenological understanding of aeroelastic problems such as control reversal, divergence and flutter;

■ provide an understanding of the binary flutter problem.

■ provide an introduction to modern numerical methods in structural dynamics and aeroelasticity

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ apply Lagrange's method and the principle of virtual displacement to generate the equations of motion of MDOF aircraft structures, including wing/control surface combinations;

■ apply assumed modes to generate binary and ternary structural-dynamic approximations of flexible aircraft;

■ calculate the modes of simple aircraft models and explain the utility of modal analysis in structural dynamics and aeroelasticity;

■ evaluate the concepts of wing elastic axis, inertial axis and aerodynamic centre, and demonstrate how the relative positioning of these axes may affect the structural-dynamic/aeroelastic stability of the wing;

■ calculate the divergence speed of lifting surfaces;

■ calculate the flutter speed of lifting surfaces using an unsteady aerodynamic model;

■ describe the different structural/aerodynamic parameters which affect divergence and flutter.

■ demonstrate a basic understanding of modern numerical methods and the state-of-the-art in structural dynamics and aeroelasticity.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must attend the degree examination and submit all components of the course's summative assessment.


Students should attend at least 75% of the timetabled classes of the course.


Note that these are minimum requirements: good students will achieve far higher participation/submission rates.  Any student who misses an assessment or a significant number of classes because of illness or other good cause should report this by completing a MyCampus absence report.