Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil Engineering


Andrew J. Goupee

Second Committee Member

Richard W. Kimball

Third Committee Member

William G. Davids


This thesis presents the development of a 1/50th scale 5 MW wind turbine intended for wind and wave basin model testing of commercially viable floating wind turbine structures. The design is based on a popular 5 MW wind turbine designed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) commonly utilized in numerical modeling efforts. The model wind turbine is to accompany generic floating model platforms for basin model testing. The ultimate goal of the model development testing program is to collect data for validating various floating wind turbine simulation codes such as those developed by NREL. This thesis will present an overview of the model testing program and detailed information on the scaling methodology, design and physical characterization of the final wind turbine model. The discussion of scaling methodology will include a presentation of scaling relationships used to ensure loads and forces controlling global motions and internal reactions are properly scaled during basin model testing. Particular attention is paid to Reynolds number effects that control the aerodynamic performance of a wind turbine model. Design methods, final designs and all instrumentation and components of the 1/50th scale model are disclosed with additional discussion concerning special fabrication techniques and component testing where applicable. Finally, physical characterization and wind turbine performance results from analytical analyses and basin model test data are provided and compared to determine the overall effectiveness of the created model wind turbine for basin model testing.