MEC4459 - Wind engineering - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Chris Davies


Mr David Burton

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2018 (On-campus)


(MEC2404 or MAE2404) and 120 credit point


This unit introduces aerodynamic concepts applicable to both wind energy and wind engineering. It conveys the fundamentals of the wind environment, and how the wind interacts with both turbines to generate power, and structures to cause loads.

The unit will be conveyed in three sections: the wind environment, wind energy and wind engineering.

Wind engineering is a broad field that concerns the manner that the wind resource can be understood and harnessed for the benefit of society, and the need to understand the potential damaging effects for design purposes, such as wind effects on structures. Examples of wind engineering areas include the effect of wind on structures and their surrounding environment, building ventilation, pollution dispersion, and energy production from wind.

Students will first develop an understanding of the natural wind environment, which is essential to both the assessment of the performance of wind turbines and the estimation of structural wind loads. The significance of the wind environment to engineering problems, both structural and mechanical, is explored. The section on wind energy aerodynamic considers the science associated with the production of power from the wind. An understanding of the wind resource and the aerodynamics of wind turbines, including turbine performance, analysis methods, wind turbine siting, and blade / component loading will be developed. The wind engineering section is primarily concerned with understanding wind effects on structures, although other wind engineering problems such as pedestrian level winds, pollutions dispersion and wind-generated noise are discussed. The techniques (including wind tunnel and code based) available to the engineer when estimating wind loads are introduced and applied providing experience in solving practical engineering problems.


At the completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the statistical characteristics of the wind resource for both mean and extreme wind events, and the environmental parameters that influence the nature of the atmospheric boundary layer.
  2. Apply basic wind turbine aerodynamic models of horizontal wind turbines to estimate turbine aerodynamic performance, including the actuator disc concept and blade element momentum theory, and approaches to aerofoil design.
  3. Combine environmental and turbine performance data to evaluate the power production of individual turbines and wind farms, considering site identification, topology and turbine wake interaction.
  4. Synthesise relevant wind resource, experimental and environmental data to analyse the mean and peak, local and bulk loads on structures using reference data, standards (AS/NZS1170.2) and experimental testing.
  5. Predict the dynamic response of basic structures under wind loads, including vortex induced vibration, buffeting, galloping and flutter.
  6. Apply the techniques and considerations relevant to a wind engineer to engineering problems and projects including: wind loading, wind and turbine generated noise, wind effects on pedestrians and pollution dispersion.


Laboratory and assignments: 40%

Final Examination (2 hours): 60%

Students are required to achieve at least 45% in the total continuous assessment component and at least 45% in the final examination component and an overall mark of 50% to achieve a pass grade in the unit. Students failing to achieve this requirement will be given a maximum of 45% in the unit.

Workload requirements

3 hours lectures, 2 hours practice sessions or laboratories and 7 hours of private study per week.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study