Wind Energy Research


Software, control and sensors; electronics, control devices

Mechanical engineering, gearbox, gears and drive train

Manufacturing process, material handling and automation

Composites, blades, and nacelle covers



Areas of Expertise
  • Mesoscale wind modeling and forecasting
  • Carbon and climate change science
  • Greenhouse gas accounting and crediting of renewable power including wind
  • Lidar remote sensing of meteorological properties , boundary layer structures, and high spatial and temporal resolution winds
  • Rainfall measuring, modeling, forecasting, and estimation using radar and satellite remote sensing
  • Roadway weather and maintenance
Special Facilities
  • LiDARs consisting of a variety of specialty Raman and elastic mobile instruments focused on atmospheric application
  • Mobile rainfall observatory houses an X-band vertically pointing radar (VPR), satellite antenna, and several computers for controlling the radar and IIHR's 2D video disdrometer, and four new mobile radar units purchased with a recent 6.8 million DKK (1.36 million USD) NSF grant, to make high-resolution meteorological and hydrological observations
  • Micrometeorology laboratory containing a wide range of state-of-the-art equipment used to make measurements of turbulence and energy partitioning near the earth's surface
Centers of Excellence
  • Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research was established in 1990 as a state funded center serving Iowa on issues related to climate change.  It consists of over 70 faculty members from institutions throughout Iowa, and it functions to promote interdisciplinary research related to climate change.  In calendar year 2007 active research grants and contracts of CGRER members exceeded 125.2 million DKK (25 million USD). 


Software Control and Sensors; Electronics, Control Devices

Areas of Expertise
  • Control systems and control theory
  • Innovation in the wind power industry
  • Performance optimization of wind farms
  • Predictive engineering
  • Sensor technologies
  • Controls and robotics
  • Software Engineering


Mechanical Engineering, Gearbox, Gears and Drive Train

Areas of Expertise
  • Multi-body dynamics
  • Fatigue and fracture mechanics
  • Virtual proto-typing
  • Mechanisms and robotics
  • Nanomechanics
  • Finite element methods
  • Probabilistic fracture mechanics
  • Contact problems with friction and adhesion


Manufacturing Process, Material Handling, and Automation

Areas of Expertise
  • Metal casting and solidification
  • Meshfree methods for structural analysis and design sensitivity analysis
  • Composite materials
  • Reliability-based design optimization
  • Virtual humans in manufacturing
  • Multidisciplinary design optimization
  • Mechanisms and robotics
Special Facilities
  • The Solidification Laboratory within the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering conducts research into fundamental aspects of solidification and their application in casting of metals. The laboratory is supported by federal agencies and industry. The research ranges from basic experimental and computational studies of microstructure evolution to modeling and simulation of a wide variety of industrial metal casting processes. The emphasis in the research is on micro- and macro-scale transport phenomena during solidification, particularly in the presence of melt flow. Collaboration with the casting industry has resulted in custom-made software for process control, new capabilities in commercially available casting simulation software, and strategies for yield improvement and defect prevention. Facilities include numerous state-of-the-art computer workstations and experimental test setups.
Centers of Excellence
  • The Reliability and Sensory Prognostic Systems group at the Center for Computer-Aided Design (CCAD) investigates and develops new reliability-based design optimization (RBDO) methods and software systems that enable the determination of optimum designs that incorporate confidence ranges for mechanical component/system and electronic assembly. Specific research thrusts include the development of uncertainty modeling, reliability sensitivity analysis, and generalized RBDO methods.
    To address the sensitivity of some manufacturing processes, for example, metal stamping and forming, and fatigue life estimation techniques to material property uncertainty, empirical fatigue modeling, external load variability, and dynamic stresses and strains, the Center has adopted an exacting approach to achieve robust RBDO methods and applications. The methodologies developed at CCAD are, however, applicable to general RBDO problems, as a result of an adaptive probabilistic
    constraint evaluation strategy employed in RBDO research efforts. By integrating system probability analysis with the unified system space in the design optimization process, a design potential method (DPM) has been developed for highly effective probabilistic constraint approximation. The use of the DPM method significantly improves the RBDO convergence rate since it applies important design information obtained during reliability analysis for probabilistic constraint evaluation.


Composites, Blades, and Nacelle Covers

Areas of Expertise
  • Fatigue and fracture mechanics
  • Computer-aided analysis and design
  • Multi-body dynamics
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Reliability-based design optimization
  • Virtual prototyping
  • Icing of turbine blades in winter weather
  • Lightweight composite materials
  • Computer modeling of structures and mechanical system
  • Shape and topology design optimization of structures and mechanical systems
Special Facilities
  • Low-Turbulence Wind Tunnel provides an ideal facility for turbine/tower testing. It has a 1.8-m wide, 1.5-m high, and 7.3-m long rectangular test section and a 2.5-m diameter vane-axial fan which yields a maximum speed of 40 m/sec in the working section. Among its notable features are: a high degree of mean-flow uniformity, 0.05% turbulence level, and almost total optical access to the test section. The tunnel has been specifically designed to accommodate the latest three-dimensional Laser-Doppler
    Velocimeter and multi-sensor vorticity probes to measure all three components of instantaneous vorticity.
  • Icing Wind Tunnel consisting of a portable wind tunnel was fabricated so that it can be located at an outdoor test site, or inside the Low-Turbulence Wind Tunnel. It can produce wind speeds up to 27 m/s and has nozzles to release water droplets into the air stream at a distance of about 6 m upstream of the test section. Size and areal distribution of water the droplets can be controlled. A two-component Laser-Doppler Velocimeter is used for measuring droplet velocities.