Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Dr. Horia Hangan


Wind mapping is of utmost importance in various wind engineering, wind environment, and wind energy applications. The available wind atlases usually provide wind data with low resolutions relative to the wind turbine height and size and usually neglect the effect of topographic features with relatively large or sudden changes in elevation. Developing a cost effective methodology to predict the wind patterns and to obtain wind maps over any topographic terrain is absolutely needed for wind turbine/farm siting. As the previous analytic and empirical attempts to resolve the flow over topographic features were limited to basic geometries that hardly exist in nature, applying Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) measurement techniques in wind tunnel and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) techniques in numerical simulation of the flow over topography seems to be the best alternative solution to the problem. PIV measurements and CFD simulations are carried out on a 1:3000 scale model of complex topographic area. Three distinct topographic features are investigated: a valley, a ridge and a hill. The PIV measurements compare well with hot-wire based mean velocity profiles for the three cases. Moreover, the turbulence intensity profiles match well for flow regions without recirculation. The ridge wake region shows discrepancies between the two techniques which are attributed to the complexity of the flow in this region and limitations of both techniques. A procedure incorporating Geographic Information System (GIS) and surface modeling techniques is introduced to build the CFD model of a complex terrain starting from the existing topography maps with desired resolutions. Moreover, a new approach is made to simulate the terrain roughness up to ultimate roughness heights, by implementing arrays

of bell-shaped roughness elements in the CFD model. The velocity profiles and velocity vectors were compared with the PIV measurements and were found to be in good agreement near the ground and up to the full scale height of 300m. The study shows that PIV measurements and CFD simulations can be successfully used in qualifying and quantifying the flow over complex topography consisting of a wide range of roughness heights, enabling to map the flow structure with very high spatial resolution.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.