Doctor of Engineering (DEng)


Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Document Type



Recent extreme hurricanes caused extensive damage to critical civil infrastructure. Accurate modeling of the extreme complex wind fields and coupled wind-wave fields is essential to quantify the single wind or combined wind-wave loading effects on the structures. This research aims to characterize wind and wind-wave flow physics to quantify the loading effect on power transmission systems and offshore wind turbines.

First, a microscale (∼km) high-fidelity high-resolution computational model is developed to simulate hurricane wind fields with detailed physics. The generated wind field is applied to analyze the structural response of a power transmission system. The proposed hurricane boundary layer (HBL) model and a neutral atmosphere boundary layer (ABL) model are compared in modeling tropical storm and category-3 hurricane winds.

Second, thermodynamic conditions obtained from mesoscale meteorological modeling, time-varying hurricane parameters, and the moving hurricane path are incorporated into the HBL model to further capture the complex characteristics of extreme hurricane winds. The LES solver developed for the HBL is modified to accurately model the wind field at a specific location as the hurricane center moves. The wind field at Arana airport in Fulton during Hurricane Harvey’s passage and the wind field in Naples during Hurricane Irma’s passage, spanning several hours, are simulated.

In addition to modeling of hurricane winds, the coupled wind and wave fields in extreme conditions are modeled. The wind turbulences over non-breaking and breaking waves are characterized. A high-fidelity two-phase model is developed and validated to simulate highly turbulent wind-wave fields. With the validated model, a numerical case study is conducted to simulate extreme wind and wave-plunging conditions.

Finally, the validated two-phase flow model is employed to characterize wind wave fields on a 102 m scale and quantify the coupled combined wind and wave loadings on off-shore wind turbines. During wind turbine operations, the wind-wave coupling effect on offshore wind turbine loadings is minimal. However, under extreme conditions, the wind-wave coupling effect significantly increases the mean and fluctuating aerodynamic loading.

In summary, the developed computational models and the research results in this dissertation will advance the fundamental understanding of turbulent wind-wave flow physics.



Committee Chair

Sun, Chao

Available for download on Monday, July 06, 2026