An H-Adaptive Finite Element Model for Constructing 3-D Wind Fields

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

2004 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition


American Society of Mechanical Engineers

First page number:


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Calculating wind velocities accurately and efficiently is the key to successfully assessing wind fields over irregular terrain. In the finite element method, decreasing individual element size (increasing the mesh density) and increasing shape function interpolation order are known to improve accuracy. However, computational speed is typically impaired, along with tremendous increases in computational storage. This problem becomes acutely obvious when dealing with atmospheric flows. An h-adaptation scheme, which allows one to start with a coarse mesh that ultimately refines in high gradients regions, can obtain high accuracy at reduced computational time and storage. H-adaptation schemes have been shown to be very effective in compressible flows for capturing shocks [1], but have found limited use in atmospheric wind field simulations [2]. In this paper, an h-adaptive finite element model has been developed that refines and unrefines element regions based upon velocity gradients. An objective analysis technique is applied to generate a mass consistent 3-D flow field utilizing sparse meteorological data. Results obtained from the PSU/NCAR MM5 atmospheric model are used to establish the initial velocity field in lieu of available meteorological tower data. Wind field estimations for the northwest area of Nevada are currently being examined as potential locations for wind turbines.


Finite element model; Wind


Energy Systems | Materials Science and Engineering | Mechanical Engineering




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