Sarah McElman

Advisor: Dr. Andrew Goupee


Froude Scale Testing, Turbulence, and Floating Offshore Wind Turbine Dynamics


B.S. Mechanical Engineering- Johns Hopkins University, 2012

M.S. Mechanical Engineering- Ecole Polytechnique, 2014

Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering- University of Maine, PRESENT

Bio & Research Interests

I am a PhD Student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maine, and my work is focused on the fluid-structure interaction of floating offshore wind turbines (FOWT) in unsteady environments. Part Computational Fluid Dynamics and part physical testing (Crosby Wind Tunnel, Alfond Ocean Engineering Laboratory), the work aims to improve our understanding of how unsteadiness in Froude-scaled environments correlates to what we know (and don’t) about FOWT motion and aerodynamic loading in the wild.

I am also developing a model for calculating fluid loading on complex structures in the marine environment for CFD. This follows recent work as part of collaboration between the University of Maine and the Maritime Research Institute of the Netherlands (MARIN) in the development of a new FOWT testing environment. While at MARIN, I participated in a test campaign investigating the effect of FOWT controls systems on mooring line fatigue.

I am a native of Boston, MA, and was excited to have the opportunity to be a part of the floating offshore wind group at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center. Previous to starting my PhD, I worked as an engineer modeling nuclear cooling systems under catastrophic failure. At Ecole Polytechnique (Paris, France), my Master’s work centered around the development of a CFD model of a tidal power plant with Electricité de France.


McElman, S.E., Koop, A., Ridder, E.J. de, Goupee, A.J. (2016) “Simulation and Development of a Wind-Wave Facility for Scale Testing of Offshore Floating Wind Turbines” OMAE, Busan, South Korea

Stearns, J.A., McElman, S. E., Dodd, J.A. (2010) “Identification of vaporphase chemical warfare agent simulants and rocket fuels using laserinduced breakdown spectroscopy”, Applied Optics, 49, C8 – C15.

Memberships, Honors, Awards

  • Libra Assistant Professor PhD Assistantship
  • ASME OMAE 2016 Floating Systems Co-Chair
  • Vredenberg Scholarship for International Research, Johns Hopkins (2011)
  • 1st Prize, SURE Award, Inst. for Sustainability in Engineering and Design, McGill University (2011)