IES Seminar - Dr Peter Richards


Classroom 4, Hudson Beare, The King's Buildings


Friday, October 31, 2014 - 13:00 to 14:00

Title: Trying to Understand the Wind - Friend and Foe


The wind can help you win a yacht race, but it can also rip the roof off your house. It can provide clean energy through wind turbines, but those wind turbines also need to be designed to withstand the worst storm they are likely to encounter in their lifetime. This seminar will draw on 30 years of experience with full-scale testing, wind tunnel modelling and computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulation of a variety of situations. Applications will include windbreak fences for protecting kiwifruit, low-rise buildings, the flight of roofing tiles during storms, Diffuser Augmented Wind Turbines (DAWTs) and yacht sails. The topics covered will include some of the difficulties with carrying out full-scale measurements in the natural wind, problems associated with modelling the wind in CFD or the wind tunnel, limitations and compromises one is often forced to make in modelling “reality” and the difficulties that come with trying to understand the highly turbulence and unpredictable flows that are the wind.


Peter Richards is an Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Reading University and his PhD at the Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham in the UK before emigrating to New Zealand in 1981. He has returned to the UK on sabbatical leave on several occasions, working at the Silsoe Research Institute on projects such as the Silsoe Structures Building and the Silsoe Cube and the University of Birmingham including work on windborne debris. His research interests include CFD and wind tunnel modelling, as well as full-scale testing of wind breaks, low-rise buildings and yacht sails. He is the author of about 80 journal and over 100 conference papers. He is a past Director of the University of Auckland Yacht Research Unit, which conducts a majority of the world’s wind tunnel testing of sails. This year he was awarded a Fulbright – Lloyds of London Scholarship which funded 5 months in Miami working with researchers at Florida International University’s Wall of Wind facility to improve testing techniques for modeling the damage caused to buildings by hurricane force winds.

Video now available

The seminar Team would like to thank the Engineering Graduate Society, EngGradSoc for their support of this seminar series.

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Institute for Energy Systems
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Engineering Graduate Society

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