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MOE252 Thermal Machines - Selected topics

Course description for academic year 2022/2023

Contents and structure

Thermal machines are the dominant technology for converting chemical energy to mechanical work. We are totally dependent on thermal machines for transport on land and at sea or in the air.

In the last years there is a growing concern about the access and price of energy and the environment. It is therefore vital that we use the energy as efficient and environmental friendly as possible. In this course students will acquire deeper knowledge of Thermal machines (engines and turbines) by studying important systems and components critical to their operation, performance and environmental impact. This will enable evaluation and optimization of the operation and performance of existing machinery.

The course will be taught in five modules with the following content:

Module 1: Gas turbine essentials

  • Brief overview of some current gas turbines designs
  • Axial and radial compressor maps, key performance parameters
  • Axial and radial turbine maps, key performance parameters
  • About performance control and -monitoring
  • Brief about the layout of Inlet and outlet systems
  • Materials

Module 2: Introduction to engine performance analysis

  • About modeling of real thermodynamic processes, assumptions and limitations
  • The design and use of a state-of-the-art 1D process analysis program
  • Case study: effect on engine performance by variation of key operating parameters
  • Studying the effect of varying ambient conditions on the performance of a gas turbine

Module 3: Engine balancing and rotor dynamics

  • Basics of reciprocating engine balancing
  • Torsion vibration essentials, calculation methods, damper selection and documentation
  • The problem of axle whirl, stiffness and natural frequencies, effect of damping etc
  • Brief introduction to rotor analysis methods

Module 4: Engine combustion systems

  • Brief introduction to pre-mixed and diffusion-type combustion in engines
  • Fuel Injection and mixture formation details
  • Design layout and characteristics of Otto- and Diesel combustion systems
  • Generation of exhaust emissions and influencing factors
  • Combustion characteristics of alternative engine fuels

Module 5: Engine testing (selective and / or similar to examples given below):

  • Approval testing of a Diesel engine acc. to marine Classification requirements
  • Approval testing of a Gas engine acc. to manufacturer's procedures
  • Approval testing of a Gas Turbine engine acc. to given requirements 

Learning Outcome


  • account for theoretical essentials of gas turbine design and their operational characteristics
  • account for benefits of real process analysis and limitations
  • account for design and function of combustion systems typically used in thermal machinery, their emission characteristics and the effect of changing fuel types
  • account for the need of balancing of reciprocationg machines ane the problem of whirling in rotating machinery


  • identify the operating point of a compressor or a turbine in their respective performance maps
  • use of a software program for studying the effect of different operational parameters on machine performance
  • plan a procedure for the approval testing and performance monitoring of a thermal machine


  • The students will be able to reflect on how their professional practice will influence on the use of energy and the environment, working in teams, manage report writing and hold presentations

Entry requirements

It is required that the candidate has passed all 1st-year topics of this MSc program.

Recommended previous knowledge

The students should have basic knowledge about the design of thermal machines and their working principles

Teaching methods

The course consists of lectures, exercises, simulation courses and a project report. These will be covered in a combination of Norwegian and English language, as appropriate.

Compulsory learning activities

Compulsory performance simulation course must be completed before major oral exam. More details will be given in the beginning of the course.


Exam in three parts:

  1. Individual oral examination (30% of the final assessment). Re-sit examination form to be decided.
  2. Written examination, 3 hours. (20 % of the final assessment) Re-sit examination form to be decided.
  3. Project report (50% of the final assessment) presentation of findings / results. More information about the topic of and the report itself will be given at the beginning of the course.

Grading scale is A-F where F is fail

All parts must get a passing grade in order to get a final grade for the course.

Examination support material

Depending on the type of the exam and more information will be given during the course.

More about examination support material