About this online course


The world is facing new challenges on sustainability and global warming and, as a result, propulsion and power technologies will play an even greater role in shaping the future. The solution of these problems very often demands engineers who are versed in the latest know-how in system modeling and simulation. Aviation has been and is at the forefront in this respect, and the power sector has always benefited from such innovation. In this unique course, you will advance your system modeling skills, which are at the core of the design process and essential for predicting and evaluating performance.

You will learn a unique and proven method to develop modular system models and how to implement them in state-of-the-art specialized software. You will also become competent in running these computer models to solve complex problems like those pertaining to the design, operation, R&D, life-cycle management, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), and control of power and propulsion systems.

After taking this course, you will be able to:

  • Develop modular system models based on physical relations using a 9-step method.
  • Use models and the results of simulations to analyze a variety of relations and interactions within the systems.
  • Use the models to optimize design and operation of power and propulsion systems for specific applications.
  • Understand the theoretical elements on which simulation software is based.
  • Apply the Modelica modeling language to develop propulsion and power system models, and learn to use the Gas Turbine Simulation Program GSP, a state of the art tool used in the international gas turbine community.

The course is aimed at engineers in the propulsion and power sector. Senior academic students interested in working in this field can add it to their curriculum as an elective course.

Watch sample video lectures


Given an engineering problem related to propulsion and power systems, you will use the 9-step method to create or select the appropriate model and run and interpret simulations in order to obtain a good solution of such a problem, and communicate the results.

You will be guided by instructors during dedicated online sessions and, if you can participate in person, during practical workshops. You will be encouraged to collaborate with your peers, as you would do in a professional environment. You will use software tools including OpenModelica and GSP to develop and configure the models required to run the simulations for your specific analysis. You can choose an engineering problem related to an aero engine, industrial gas turbine or another energy system.

This main objective will be obtained by developing the following theoretical capabilities:

  • Describing the role of models in Propulsion and Power Systems Engineering, and describe examples of systems, processes, modeling paradigms, applications, software tools and methods.
  • Representing and understanding the functionality of a system by means of a process flow diagram.
  • Defining and using on-design and off-design steady state and dynamic models and applying them to solve design, operational and control problems.
  • Applying the basic principle of accounting for conserved variables and defining conservation balances which occur in typical propulsion and power systems. In addition, selecting, interpreting and using various forms of conservation equations depending on the problem at hand.
  • Obtaining, evaluating, interpreting and using various forms of constitutive equations (thermo-physical models of fluids, chemical reaction equations, heat transfer and fluid dynamic correlations, etc.)
  • Choosing and configuring numerical techniques for the solution of non-linear algebraic systems of equations and differential algebraic systems of equations.
  • Using dynamic models and simulations to obtain information relevant to the design of control strategies and to the tuning of controller parameters.
  • Applying the concepts at the basis of several modeling approaches. Describing and using modularity, hierarchy, connections and inter-module variables in order to develop complex system models.
  • Selecting the level of model fidelity required for the solution of a propulsion and power system problem.
  • Communicating the results of the engineering analysis both verbally, and by means of a technical report.

In addition, the student will apply these new techniques to become competent in more specific problems to be chosen among those involving aero engines, gas turbines, power and thermal control systems. To this end, teams of students will work on an assignment which requires them to develop a system model, run simulations, interpret results and write a short report. Specific learning objectives related to the practical part of the course are therefore:

  • Predicting system performance under various environmental and operating conditions, so that they can be used also for performance studies.
  • Understanding and analyzing the effects of system configuration on performance.
  • Designing simple controllers and evaluating their performance from closed-loop simulations.


Part 1 (3rd education period, 3 ECTS)
Module 1 – Introduction, context, foundations
Module 2 – Conservation equations
Module 3 – Modeling paradigms
Module 4 – Numerical methods and software
Module 5 – Constitutive equations
Module 6 – Modelica
Module 7 – Verification, validation
Module 8 – Model-based control
Module 9 – Component and system modeling examples

Part 2 (4th education period, 2 ECTS)
Module 10 - Team Project to be chosen among
a – Gas turbine (aircraft propulsion or power generation)
b – Waste-heat recovery system

The course requires self-study using the online course materials accessible through the online learning environment, together with weekly Google Hangout sessions in which online and on-campus students can both interact with the instructors. Instructors will also moderate an online forum where all students can discuss and learn from each other.


Part 1:

  • One graded exercise per module;
  • Written take-home examination on theoretical aspects;
  • Modeling exercise: each student develops a model of one component (compressor, heat exchanger, combustor, etc.) suitable for system simulations, and performs qualitative validation of the model with simulations, writing the results in a short technical report. Graded deliverables: short technical report, model files.

Part 2:

Simulation project: Team of students (3-5) are given an assignment that requires the development of a system model either in GSP (aero engine or power generation gas turbine) or in OpenModelica (Waste heat recovery system).

Graded deliverables: technical report, model files.

A short oral examination is conducted to assess the knowledge and understanding about the project of each member of the team, separately.


If you successfully complete your online course you will be awarded a TU Delft certificate, stating that you were registered as a non-degree-seeking student at TU Delft and successfully completed the course.

If you decide that you would like to apply to the full Master's program in Aerospace Engineering, you will need to go through the admission process as a regular MSc student. If you are admitted, you can then request an exemption for this course, which you completed as a non-degree-seeking student. The Board of Examiners will evaluate your request and will decide whether or not you are exempted.


General admission to this course

Required prior knowledge
A relevant BEng or BSc degree in a subject closely related to the content of the course or specialized program in question, such as aerospace engineering, aeronautical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering or (applied) physics.

If you do not meet these requirements because you do not have a relevant Bachelor's degree but you have a Bachelor's degree from a reputable institution and you think you have sufficient knowledge and experience to complete the course, you are welcome to apply, stating your motivation and reasons for admission. The Faculty of Aerospace Engineering will decide whether you will be admitted based on the information you have provided. There can be no appeal against this decision.

Expected prior knowledge
In addition to the entry requirements mentioned above, prior knowledge of basic thermodynamics, fluid dynamics and principles of aircraft propulsion and power cycles is necessary in order to complete this course. For admission purposes, TU Delft will not ask you for proof of this prior knowledge, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the sufficient knowledge, obtained through relevant work experience or prior education.

In order to assess your essential background knowledge, please check your expertise against the learning objectives of these comparable TU Delft courses:

Expected Level of English
English is the only language used in this online course. If your working language is not English or you have not participated in an educational program in English in the past, please ensure that your level of proficiency is sufficient to follow the course. TU Delft recommends an English level equivalent to one of the following certificates (given as an indication only; the actual certificates are not required for the admission process):

  • TOEFL score 90+ (this is an internet-based test)
  • IELTS (academic version) overall Band score of at least 6.5
  • University of Cambridge: "Certificate of Proficiency in English" or "Certificate in Advanced English"

Admission process

In order to complete your admission process, you will be asked to upload the following documents:

  • a CV which describes your educational and professional background (in English)
  • a copy of your passport or ID card (no driver's license)
  • a copy of relevant transcripts and diplomas

Note: The maximum number of participants in this course is 15.


If you have any questions about this course or the TU Delft online learning environment, please visit our Help & Support page.

Start Admission

  • Starts: Feb 10, 2020
  • Fee: € 1250
  • Admission open until: Feb 03, 2020
  • Length: 17 weeks
  • Effort: 7 - 8 hours per week
  • Max. number of participants: 15

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