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16.120 Compressible Flow, Spring 2003

Mercury space capsule model with visible shockwaves and wake.
A model of a Mercury capsule captured by highspeed cameras, showing the forward pressure shockwave and the wake. (Image is taken from NASA's web site:

Highlights of this Course

This course site features a detailed reading list, along with other materials used by students in the course.

Course Description

The course begins with the basics of compressible fluid dynamics, including governing equations, thermodynamic context and characteristic parameters. The next large block of lectures covers quasi-one-dimensional flow, followed by a discussion of disturbances and unsteady flows. The second half of the course comprises gas dynamic discontinuities, including shock waves and detonations, and concludes with another large block dealing with two-dimensional flows, both linear and non-linear.


Prof. Wesley Harris

Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week
1.5 hours / session




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