Student Profile: William West
BS Mechanical Engineering, 2017
MS Mechanical Engineering, PRESENT
Position: Graduate Research Assistant
Research Interests: Numerical modeling and the global performance of floating offshore wind turbines which use synthetic moorings
Advisors: Dr. Andrew Goupee and Dr. Anthony Viselli
Will is a UMaine grad student from Stuben and is currently studying for his master’s in mechanical engineering. He graduated in the spring semester of 2017 and is now working for UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center. When he was asked why he decided to join the Center, Will explained with the following:
“It’s kind of rare to have so many people who are experts in their field in one spot. That’s one of the things I really like about the Center, there’s so many people, not only faculty members, but also staff members that have a lot of expertise in their field so you can ask them for help and they can provide you with guidance. There’s just a lot of people to work with.”
Will has also praised the Center’s advanced facilities and the multi-disciplinary nature of the Center’s projects, as each requires employees with experience in different fields to work together. Additionally, Will feels that his time with the Center has improved a number of his skills, such as his ability to analyze structures, how to best design systems, various aspects of computer coding, how to interact and communicate with clients, and how to create and present information about projects. He has said that his interactions with Dr. Anthony Viselli, one of his advisors, has been particularly helpful in fostering his communication skills.
Will’s current work for the Center regards developing new modeling techniques and designs for floating offshore wind mooring systems. Low-cost mooring lines are necessary for floating offshore wind turbines (FOWT) that are installed in transitional depths, which are areas that are too deep for turbines to be installed with fixed-bottom technology and too shallow for current mooring line technology for FOWTs. According to Will, turbines in transitional depths require mooring lines that are either extremely long or heavy and new technologies are required. Using new modeling techniques and materials, Will has worked to develop cost-effective solutions that will not interfere with the performance of the FOWTs or have a lower durability than conventional systems.
After Will graduates with his master’s degree, he hopes to obtain a PhD at UMaine or a similar engineering university. His thesis work involves his previously mentioned work, as he is modifying existing open-source software (i.e. FAST from the NREL, ANSYS Aqwa from ANSYS) to better suit the numerical modeling needs for his work to determine the most cost effective type of mooring lines.