Wind Engineering

Research on Wind Engineering is one of the cornerstones of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Initiated in 1970 by Prof. Giorgio Diana it focuses on cables, suspension bridges and wind-induced dynamics. A major advance was recently made thanks to unique opportunities offered by the Low-Turbulence and Boundary-Layer Wind-Tunnel, facility realised through the key role of the Department’s Wind Eng. Research Group. The wide spectrum of experimental applications offered by the Wind Tunnel (buildings and large structures, trains, vehicles, sails and high Reynolds Number base research) resulted also in the development of new research topics.

The strength of the Research Group is the availability of a top-class experimental facility combined with the Department’s strong tradition in numerical modelling of structure and systems dynamics. The combined experimental-numerical approach allows original contributions, recognised at international level, to be provided in a multidisciplinary approach to Wind Engineering applied to the fields of Structure Dynamics, Mechanical Systems Vibrations, Vehicle System Dynamics and Sailboats design.

The research is focused on developing powerful numerical models allowing for predictive analysis of wind-structure interaction problems, always supported by experimental validation. The CFD approach is also a research branch of increasing interest, focused on the physical insight and parametric analysis of the experimental approach. Finally, the reliability of predictive numerical simulations is always validated by specific wind-tunnel procedures and full scale testing. The Research Group is organised into six application topics.

Bridge Wind Engineering

the most significant example is the aerodynamic design of the Messina Suspension Bridge. Predictive simulation of bridge dynamics and stability due to turbulent wind relying on innovative numerical approaches based on and validated by experimental Wind-Tunnel techniques. Internationally recognised originality and effectiveness of innovative aerodynamic solutions and research approaches proposed for super long span bridges already applied in state of the art structures (Stonecutters Bridge deck section, Hong Kong).

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Cable Wind Interaction

internationally recognised know-how resulting in worldwide extensively used numerical methods developed to define wind-induced cable vibrations. The research team has been responsible for innovative cable structures wind interaction design, including the Java-Bali and Gibraltar undersea crossing, the Yang-Tze and Orinoco overhead crossing, the London-Eye, etc...

Wind Engineering in High Rise Buildings

state of the art research activities and expertise in the field of high rise buildings and large flexible roofs, taking advantage of a superior Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel and a well established structure dynamics expertise.

Vehicle Wind Interaction

strong synergies between wind tunnel experimental techniques and numerical modelling in road and railway vehicledynamics with advantageous applications to the critical safety-related problem of high-speed-trains and vehicles in crossflow, resulting in the recent definition of “Technical Specifications for Interoperability” (TSI) of international relevance.

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Sailboat applications

wind-tunnel tests on the sails of America’s Cup boats, taking advantage of unique experimental facilities (twisted flow) rated among the three most representative in the world (together with Auckland and Southampton).

Wind Turbines Aerodynamics

experimental and numerical CFD LES approaches taking advantage of fully controlled scaled model wind turbines allowing understanding of boundary layer, wakes and orography effects. An innovative active real time controlled test rig is available for simulation of the wavestructure-wind interaction on off-shore wind turbine models.

Prof. Alberto Zasso