Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering; Wind Energy Science, Engineering, and Policy

First Advisor

Hui Hu

Second Advisor

Partha Sarkar


There are many advantages in floating wind turbines in deep waters, however, there are also significant technological challenges associated with it too. The dynamic excitation of wind and waves can induce excessive motions along each of the 6 degrees of freedom (6-DOF) of the floating platforms. These motions will then be transferred to the turbine, and directly impact the wake characteristics of the floating wind turbines, and consequently the resultant wind loadings and performances of the wind turbines sited in offshore wind farms.

In the present study, a comprehensive experimental study was performed to analyze the performance, loading, and the near wake characteristics of a rigid wind turbine model subjected to surge, heave, and pitch motions. The experimental study was performed in a large-scale atmospheric boundary layer wind tunnel with a scaled three-blade Horizontal Axial Wind Turbine model placed in a turbulent boundary layer airflow with similar mean and turbulence characteristics as those over a typical offshore wind farm. The base of the 1:300 scaled model wind turbine was mounted on translation and rotation stages. These stages can be controlled to generate surge, pitch and heave motions to simulate the dynamic motions experienced by floating offshore wind turbines. During the experiments, the velocity scaling method was chosen to maintain the similar velocity ratios (i.e., the ratios of the incoming airflow flow to that of turbine base motion) between the model and the prototype.

During the experiments, a high resolution digital particle image velocimetry (PIV) system was used to achieve flow field measurements to quantify the characteristics of the turbulent vortex flow in the near wake of the wind turbine model. Besides conducting ‘‘free run’’ PIV measurements to determine the ensemble-averaged statistics of the flow quantities such as mean velocity, Reynolds stress, and turbulence kinetic energy (TKE) distributions in the wake flow, ‘‘phase-locked’’ PIV measurements were also performed to elucidate further details about evolution of the unsteady vortex structures in the wake flow in relation to the position of the rotating turbine blades. The effects of the surge, heave, and pitch motions of the wind turbine base on the wake flow characteristics were examined in great details based on the PIV measurements. The findings derived from the present study can be used to improve the understanding of the underlying physics for optimal mechanical design of floating offshore wind turbines, as well as the layout optimization of floating offshore wind farms.

Although, the mean power measurement results show little difference between the oscillating turbine and the bottom fixed turbine, but the excessive fluctuations in the power output of the oscillating turbine is anticipated to greatly reduce the power quality of such floating turbines. The load measurements also show substantial amount of difference both in terms of mean and the fluctuating components. The results of the wake study reveal that the wake of a wind turbine subjected to base motions, is highly dependent on which direction the turbine is oscillating. In the case of the moving turbine, the wake accelerates as the turbine is moving with the flow, hence, reducing the power extraction by the turbine. A decrease in Reynolds shear stress and the turbulent kinetic energy production was noted as the turbine was oscillating with the flow. However, as the turbine was moving into the flow, these effects reverse, and causes a deceleration in the wake of the moving turbine, hence increases the power production by the turbine, and increase the Reynolds shear stress and the turbulent kinetic energy.

Finally, The wake flow field (x/D < 2.5) measurements behind a two-bladed Darrieus type VAWT were also carried out by using a high-resolution PIV system, and the results obtained at two different horizontal (x-y) planes, at the equator height (H/2) and above the equator height (3H/4), for four different tip speed ratios (λ =2, 2.5, 3 and 3.5) of the VAWT were then evaluated and compared. The wake of the VAWT is found to be significantly different to that of the HAWT’s. At lower tip-speed-ratio (i.e. TSR 2) the wake tends to be very asymmetric and skewed with relatively higher amount of momentum in the wake in comparison to higher tip-speed ratios (i.e. 3 or 3.5). As tip-speed ratio increases, there is a tendency in flow stagnation in the wake and eventually flow reversal would occur at higher tip-speed-ratios. The wake dynamics (i.e., the instabilities inherent in VAWT) behind the VAWTs would lead to a much faster wake recovery in comparison to the HAWTs.

Copyright Owner

Morteza Khosravi



File Format


File Size

140 pages