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Homepage / ESDU – a fantastic resource for engineers!

ESDU – a fantastic resource for engineers!


Photo of an aircraft engine

This is the first of a series of blog posts in which we will highlight some of our more specialist resources for engineers.

This one is all about ESDU. If you’re the kind of person who needs to find out how to calculate the strength of lugs under oblique load, or the lift-curve slope of swept and tapered wings, ESDU is the resource for you. It really is one of our ‘hidden gems’. It’s one of my favourite resources as it has helped me answer many tricky enquiries, and it gets such a great response when customers find the solution to their engineering design problem on it.

When I first started my Cranfield working life in the Kings Norton Library, ESDU stood for ‘Engineering Sciences Data Unit’ and comprised thousands of ‘data sheets’  which were filed away in hundreds of ring binders. Each time there was an update to a data sheet, ESDU sent us a new one and we would laboriously find the old version, throw it out and replace it with the new.  Thankfully times have moved on and the service is now available online and is always up to date.

It contains fantastic information for engineers that really isn’t available elsewhere, and certainly not for free via a Google search. It’s a great place to go if you have an engineering problem that you want to solve, and it can save you lots of time and research by providing methods, worked examples and data. Its work is overseen by independent committees of technical experts (some of whom work at Cranfield), and is endorsed by the Royal Aeronautical Society, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Institution of Chemical Engineers.

It contains equations, interactive graphs and software organised into 18 series. Experience has shown me that the best way to find what you need is to select the ‘Explore the ESDU series’ option and then browse to the information that you need.


‘Explore the ESDU Series’ and ‘Aerospace Materials Data’ options highlighted on the ESDU home page

The series are: aerodyamics, aircraft noise, composites, dynamics, fatigue – endurance data, fatigue – fracture mechanics, fluid mechanics (internal flow), fluid mechanics (internal flow – aerospace), heat transfer, mechanisms, performance, phyiscal data (chemical engineering), stress and strength, structures, transonic aerodynamics, tribology, vibration and acoustic fatigue and wind engineering.

Alongside the data sheets is another handy resource. The Metallic Materials Data Handbook (MMDH) can be found behind the ‘Aerospace Materials Data’ link and is a great source of metals property data for aerospace engineers, bringing lots of information that has been evaluated and meets design requirements together in one place.

ESDU itself provides videos and help and I am always happy to advise you and answer your questions. Contact me at

Public domain image from


Written By: Emma Turner

Emma is a Research Information Specialist based in the Kings Norton Library at Cranfield University.

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