School of Civil Engineering

Projects in wind engineering

Project 1.          Probabilistic tropical cyclone risk modelling

Supervisor:      Dr Matthew Mason matthew.mason@uq.edu.au

Tropical cyclones damage buildings, infrastructure and coastal communities throughout the tropical world, including Australia. One way engineers and disaster managers plan for these events is through the use of probabilistic hazard and loss models. A number of these have previously been developed for Australia, but most are proprietary in nature and not rigorously scrutinised academically. This project seeks to implement and build upon the Geoscience Australia Tropical Cyclone Risk Model (TCRM), which has recently been made publically available, and assess its capacity and validity. The student will be required to assess individual model components (e.g. storm frequency, tracking and wind field models) and investigate the variability in results (primarily wind statistics) when different decisions are made about which model components to use.

Available to:      Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Structural Engineering

Project Duration:      1 or 2 semester project or thesis

 

Project 2.          Numerical simulation of convective windstorms

Supervisor:      Dr Matthew Mason matthew.mason@uq.edu.au

Convective wind storms (e.g. downdrafts, tornadoes) cause damage to buildings and infrastructure throughout the world. Despite this there is still a great deal unknown about the physical structure of these severe wind events. As such, they are not adequately considered in the design process or structural design standards/codes. The aim of this project is to implement a numerical (CFD) downdraft model and parametrically assess the impact on near-surface wind conditions of changing a range of simulated model parameters. These shall include downdraft shape, ground roughness and ambient wind conditions. The student will implement an existing high-resolution atmospheric cooling source downdraft model that has previously been shown to generate realistic wind conditions near to the ground surface. If necessary, simulations shall be run on the university’s high-performance computing cluster.

Available to:      Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Structural Engineering

Project Duration:      1 or 2 semester project or thesis

 

Project 3 .        Probabilistic modelling of downburst wind loading of transmission and distribution line systems

Supervisor:      Dr Matthew Mason matthew.mason@uq.edu.au

Convective wind storms (e.g. downdrafts, tornadoes) routinely cause transmission and distribution tower-line systems to fail. This occurs because these wind storms load structures in a manner differently to the types of wind storms they were designed to withstand (i.e. large scale, uncorrelated winds). Research has shown that convective outflows have much higher lateral correlations, and therefore apply higher instantaneous loads to long or network structures, such as transmission line systems, than equivalent large scale wind storms. This project seeks to develop a risk model that will allow line networks to be assessed and the risk of failure due to convective wind storms identified. Some existing work exists in this area and the student/s will initially work to implement these findings/models and then work towards improving individual components of the model. For example, improvements to wind field models or tower vulnerability models could be undertaken depending on the student’s interests.

Available to:      Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering

Project Duration:      1 or 2 semester project or thesis

 

Project 4.         Wind loading of lattice transmission tower structures

Supervisor:      Dr Matthew Mason matthew.mason@uq.edu.au

The wind loading of lattice towers is complex because the majority of members see wind that has been influenced by the presence of upwind members of the structure. This means that both the mean and turbulent characteristics of the wind felt by these ‘shielded’ members is substantially different to that felt by those being directly loaded by the oncoming wind. Little account is given to this phenomenon when designing lattice towers as the nature of how loading changes based on lattice configuration, volume and size is unknown. This project will utilise the Civil Engineering wind tunnel to experimentally investigate the individual loads on shielded and exposed lattice member, and also investigate how loads on a range of different lattice configurations differ. Interaction with an industry partner will be required throughout this project.

Available to:      Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering

Project Duration:      1 or 2 semester project or thesis

 

Project 5.         Unsteady wind loading of structures during transient windstorms

Supervisor:      Dr Matthew Mason matthew.mason@uq.edu.au

This project will involve wind tunnel testing in the School of Civil Engineering Unsteady Wind Tunnel. The aim of the project is to understand how the aerodynamics of buildings change during periods of rapid flow acceleration/deceleration or periods of rapid changes to the boundary layer profile that loads a structure. The practical application is understanding how buildings are loaded during severe wind storms (e.g. thunderstorm outflows or tornadoes). More specifically, you will be required to setup and run a series of wind tunnel experiments where the wind pressures on a model building are measured and analysed. Experiments systematically exploring a range of acceleration/deceleration rates and/or velocity profiles will be developed and carried out. Unsteady results should be compared with steady-state tests, existing literature and wind-resistant design requirements (i.e. the wind standard).

Available to:      Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering

Project Duration:      1 or 2 semester project or thesis