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UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences


MECH0051 Applied Thermodynamics and Turbomachinery

MECH0051 Applied Thermodynamics and Turbomachinery

FHEQ Level:
7 (Undergraduate Yr 4 / MSc)
Terms 1 and 2
UCL / ECTS Credits:
15 UCL / 7.5 ECTS
Previous Module Code:
Alternative Module Code:
This module is offered to Term 1 affiliate students under the code MECH0052
MECH0011 Intermediate Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics

Taught By

Professor Mehrdad Zangeneh (Module Coordinator):
Mehrdad Zangeneh
Dr Paul Hellier:
Paul Hellier
Professor Nicos Ladommatos:
Nicos Ladommatos
Professor Kai Luo:
Kai Luo

Module Overview

This module aims to develop a good understanding of the various gas turbine, steam turbine and combined cycles for electricity generation. Students will understand basic fundamentals of turbomachinery with particular emphasis on axial turbomachinery, and will understand the basic fundamentals of fuel cells.

The module will develop a good understanding of the thermodynamic, design and operating principles of diesel engines including four- and two-stroke naturally aspirated and turbocharged units. Students will gain an appreciation of diesel engine environmental pollutants and their mitigation.

Although many students will have studied thermodynamics material (i.e. basic Carnot, Rankine Cycle) at undergraduate level, the module is designed to cover more practical aspects on modern aspects of power generation cycles system design and evaluation, as well as additional topics on fuel cell, application of thermodynamic cycles, and principles to analyse and understand advanced power generation systems.

The module particularly addresses the latest development and application of modern concepts related to combined cycle, gas turbine and turbomachinery for reducing the global warming impact of power generation systems. The recent developments in diesel engine systems are discussed is some detail. The impact of diesel engines toxic emissions on the environment is explained and technologies to mitigate the emission of toxic pollutants are discussed. The importance of thermal efficiency in reducing operating costs and CO2 emission to the atmosphere is emphasised.

A significant part of this module addresses the latest development and practice in modern power generation cycles in the context of land, air and sea applications involving power generation.

Students are taught how to evaluate different design options for optimization based on product/component information, meeting client’s specifications.

An understanding of concepts relevant to the discipline, some from outside engineering, and the ability to critically evaluate and apply them effectively is developed in the coursework element. Environmental pollution-restricting legislation for gas turbines and diesel engines is discussed at several points during the course.

Topics Covered

Topics covered in this module include:

  • Revision of engineering thermodynamics
  • Fuel Cells
  • Gas turbines, steam turbines and combined cycles
  • Introduction to turbomachinery
  • Internal combustion engines
  • Fuels and combustion

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Understand the main sources of CO2 emission from different sources and especially power generation and the effect of different trends in power generation on emissions.
  • Understand the effect of intercooling, recuperator and reheat on gas turbine efficiency and specific work.
  • Understand the impact of gas turbine pressure ratio and maximum temperature on optimum efficiency for different gas turbine cycles.
  • Carry out preliminary analysis of intercooled/recuperated gas turbine.
  • Understand the effect of free power turbine and its applications in marine field.
  • Understand the main features of steam cycles and main parameters affecting cycle efficiency.
  • Understand the effect of reheating and direct contact and non-contact feed heaters in steam cycles.
  • Carry out basic cycle analysis for combined cycle plants in terms of efficiency, work ratio, ratio of mass flow rate in steam to gas turbine cycle, and pinch point temperature.
  • Understand the impact of dual and triple pressure levels on combined cycle efficiency.
  • Understand velocity triangles in axial compressor and turbines and main geometrical and flow related parameters and main non-dimensional groups for characterising turbomachinery.
  • Understand the characteristic of turbomachinery and off-design flow effects such as surge.
  • Carry out matching computations between compressor and turbine for generator sets and free power turbines.
  • Understand the basic designs of combustion chambers and cooling arrangements and emission problems from gas turbines.
  • Understand basic fundamentals of fuel cells, Gibbs function and ideal efficiency, main sources of loss in PEM and SOFC fuel cells.
  • Use basic empirical functions for fuel cells to predict the actual voltage for PEM and SOFC.
  • Use basic thermodynamic cycles to identify the main variables affecting spark and compression ignition engine efficiency.
  • Understand and describe the gas exchange and combustion processes in diesel engines.
  • Describe basic models to represent various gas dynamic and thermodynamic processes in diesel engines
  • Analyse the performance of two stroke diesel engines, including large displacement slow speed engines used for marine propulsion and stationary power generation.
  • Analyse and evaluate the performance of naturally aspirated and turbocharged diesel engines, including the compressor and turbine power requirements and the enhancement in engine power output and efficiency
  • Gain an appreciation of a wider range of topics on fuels and combustion in reciprocating engines via coursework and student presentations.

Method of Instruction

This module is taught through:

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials


This module is assessed through a combination of unseen written examination and coursework exercises.

For more information about assessment please contact

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