Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Master of Engineering Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering


El Damatty, Ashraf.

2nd Supervisor

Hangan, Horia.


This study investigates the loads induced by a large-scale tornado simulation on a horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT) to assess the influence of three-dimensional flows with respect to the HAWT position. The loads were analyzed under two rotor operational conditions, idling and parked, at five radial distances. Subsequently, experimental validation of the numerical code HIW-TUR was conducted by evaluating the induced moments for various yaw and pitch angles. The experimental results demonstrated that the bending moment was the most important in terms of magnitude and variation with respect to the HAWT position. Furthermore, The HIW-TUR code accurately identified the magnitude and HAWT configuration that leads to the maximum mean moments induced by the tornado. It was proved that by varying the yaw angle of the rotor plane and blade orientation to parallel to the tornado tangential component, the overall loads could be reduced to the minimum values.

Summary for Lay Audience

The transition to renewable energies driven to reduce fossil fuels emissions has promoted an accelerated growth in wind turbine rotors size and wind turbine expansion in high-density wind regions. The combination of new larger wind turbines and exposure to localized high-intensity winds developed in those high-density wind regions have created scientific concerns to study the effects of the induced unconventional three-dimensional tornado flow loads acting on wind turbines and the effects of the tornado location with respect to the wind turbine.

This thesis conducted an experimental simulation of a large-scale tornado acting on a wind turbine to examine the variation of the loading effects with respect to different wind turbine location, orientation, and operational condition and identify those configurations that could lead to structural failure and those that could reduce the loads and help to protect the wind turbine system. Additionally, the results from the experimental tests were compared to numerical results to validate an in-house developed code. This numerical code, once validated, could expand the number of variables to study and identify the loads in specific wind turbine elements.