AAAdmissions Blog

This blog is maintained by the Undergraduate Admissions Tutors in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Bristol. Here you will find FAQ answers and news updates on our admissions process. For more information, visit the Department home page or the undergraduate admissions home page.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Reading material

We hosted our University open day on the 19th and 20th last week. This was a great event and a fantastic opportunity to meet students thinking about aerospace engineering for next year. I was delighted to meet such a diverse crowd of talented students!

I was asked a few times about relevant reading material.

This is a tricky subject, and when going to university, you can have confidence that your library will be well stocked on the textbooks your need, so there is no need to set off on a buying spree.

However, if you enjoy a couple of solid texts you can return to in times of need I have a few suggestions:

1) I'd recommend Fundamentals of Aerodynamics by JD Anderson. This gives a good background for aerodynamics, and supports the yr 1 and 2 teaching in this area quite well. It is designed to be accessible to post A-level students, but some of the topics may be a bit advanced initially.

2) Any reasonable engineering maths text would be useful too - Mathematical Methods for Science Students by G Stephenson is good (I bought this during my degree, and have used it a lot since), or Engineering Mathematics by Stroud (this has strong reviews, but is not on my shelf).

Slide Rule by Nevile Shute is not a textbook, and contains no maths, but a good read anyway, and fun.

Understanding Flight by Eberhardt and Anderson is also good, but aimed at a general audience and not suitable for degree study beyond yr 1.

There is also an excellent blog written by one of our PhD students in aerospace - this has the advantage of being free.

In a nutshell - our library is well stocked, so you don't need to buy any textbooks, but one maths text and one aerodynamics text would be useful. That's what I bought at uni and I felt it was about right.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Aerospace Industry in Bristol

Something we're often asked is what makes Bristol a special place to study aerospace. Many high quality universities teach the subject, so why pick one over another? One answer to this is our location.

Bristol has a long history of association with the aerospace industry, which places us in a geographically excellent position; only 6km away from the main university precinct is the Filton site. This proximity translates in to benefits for both our teaching and research. Airbus UK, AugustaWestland and Astrium are partners on our group design project, which means their technical staff provide supporting lectures and supervision for the design project groups.

In later years, these connections benefit undergraduate research projects, as our academic staff collaborate closely with industry and research topics for undergraduates follow those of the supervising staff.

The presence of the industry in Bristol, or its proximity to the university, is not necessarily obvious, so I've created a map with some key locations. Collaboration over a few kilometres is an easier task - our department really sits in the heart of UK aerospace.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Second year team wing build

Engineering is the science of compromise. For an aircraft, this entails not only the right balance between aerodynamic and structural performance, but also includes maintenance and cost of purchase for an airline. Studying engineering involves not only a great deal of mathematical study, but also practice at striking the right compromises in the real world.

One of the projects we have been developing at Bristol that is aimed at giving our students experience of these compromises is our second year wing build exercise. Teams of 20 students design, build and test a 1.5m semi-span aluminium wing of riveted construction. The objectives are complicated - the wing must be light, strong enough to withstand a set tip load and yet still produce good lift to drag ratios as measured in our wind tunnels.

Engineering is not just theoretical; it certainly involves maths and physics, but it also involves working as a team, making mistakes - then correcting these mistakes - and improving your understanding and design solution. It is the day-to-day story of evolving ideas and the people those ideas came from.

To put this in perspective I've uploaded a movie one of our teams made during the exercise last year. Keep in mind that although this covers perhaps thousands of rivets, it also covers two terms, and the work of a group of 20!

If you'd like to know more, please visit us on one of our Wednesday UCAS afternoons and we'll be happy to show you the details of this work and the wing featured here.

(Note: although the original featured a fabulous soundtrack, for copyright reasons I've removed this).