Dr Kristy Hansen

Research Fellow

College of Science and Engineering

Research expertise

I am investigating the impact of wind farm noise on annoyance and sleep. My work involves a combination of field measurements, laboratory measurements, data analysis and theoretical modelling. I work in a multi-disciplinary team with researchers specialising in sleep and psychology.

Research expertise

I am investigating the impact of wind farm noise on annoyance and sleep. My work involves a combination of field measurements, laboratory measurements, data analysis and theoretical modelling. I work in a multi-disciplinary team with researchers specialising in sleep and psychology.

place Tonsley (4.21)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

I am passionate about the environment and I believe that it is crucial that society adopts a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle before it is too late. Part of my love for the environment stems from my fascination with nature and I am continually trying to understand the physics behind various phenomena. These personal attributes have naturally led me to my current area of research which involves investigation of the noise generated by wind turbines.

It is widely accepted that society needs to make the transition to renewable energy to reduce greenhouse emissions, improve air quality and avoid the depletion of natural resources for future generations. However, despite these clear benefits, the rapid expansion of wind energy has resulted in widespread community complaints regarding noise emission. therefore, the aim of my research is to provide new data, noise measurement strategies and evidence needed to support improved noise monitoring and regulations to better protect the health and wellbeing of people living near wind farms. Moreover, through identification and quantification of the signal components responsible for annoyance and sleep disturbance, the source mechanisms responsible for these components can be identified and potentially mitigated through improved noise abatement strategies. These are important priorities that must be fulfilled to ensure public acceptance of existing and future wind farms to help Australia meet its Renewable Energy Targets by 2020.

Qualifications

CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), 2001.

B. Mech. Eng (1st class honours), University of Adelaide, 2004.

PhD, University of Adelaide, 2012. Thesis: "Effect of Leading Edge Tubercles on Airfoil Performance"

Honours, awards and grants
  • Commendation from the Dean of Graduate Studies for PhD Thesis (2012)
  • Sir James Lighthill Award for the best student paper at the International Congress on Sound and Vibration (ICSV19), Lithuania (2012).
  • Chief investigator on NHMRC grant (2016), "Establishing the physiological and sleep disruption characteristics of wind farm versus traffic noise disturbances in sleep."
  • Discovery Early Career researcher Award (2018), "Characterising wind farm noise to reduce community disturbance."
  • Vice Chancellor's Award for Early Career Researchers (2018).
Key responsibilities

I am a full-time researcher on a grant-funded project for which I am solely responsible. I supervise PhD, Masters and Honours students. I have also taken on the responsibilities outlined below:

Member of the following panels:

  • NHMRC Investigator Grant Review Panel (GRP)

Reviewer for the following journals:

  • Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
  • Journal of Fluid Mechanics
  • Physics of Fluids
  • AIAA Journal
  • Noise Control Engineering Journal
  • Measurement

Member of the following societies:

  • Acoustical Society of America
  • International Institute of Acoustics and Vibration
Research interests

My research is aimed at identifying and quantifying the characteristics of wind turbine noise (WTN) that are responsible for increased annoyance and sleep disturbance. One such characteristic is the spectral imbalance of sound inside a residence near a wind farm that is caused by the dominance of the low frequency part of the spectrum. Another characteristic is the constantly changing loudness of the noise, referred to as amplitude modulation (AM), which makes it difficult for those exposed to ignore it. A third characteristic is the presence of tonal components, which are known to be more annoying that broadband noise. Combined together, these three characteristics can produce noise that is often described as “thumping”, “rumbling” or “an aircraft that always seems to be taking off”. There is no current consensus on which noise characteristic (or combination of characteristics) is responsible for annoyance and sleep disturbance and therefore my research aims to address this issue. This research is important, as the intended outcome will result in more appropriate compliance testing procedures to support improved noise regulations and public acceptance of wind farm generated clean energy.

I am currently involved in two major research projects which involve field measurements, community surveys, laboratory tests on human subjects and a comprehensive community engagement program. The main aim of the NHMRC project is to use gold-standard measurements of sleep and physiological activation responses to a range of noises to systematically evaluate wind turbine noise impacts on sleep, compared to no noise and traffic noise controls. The main aim of my DECRA project is to identify the aspects of WTN most responsible for annoyance and sleep disturbance, and to establish suitable thresholds that could be used by regulatory authorities to protect the amenity of the Australian and international communities.

Teaching interests

Previous honours' projects:

  • Energy extraction from marine currents (2013, 2014).
  • Reduction of airfoil noise through trailing edge modifications (2013).
  • Investigation of blade tower interaction on a wind turbine (2016).
  • Comparison of a large building compartments smoke control measures using CFD (2016)
  • Optimisation of surfboard fin design using CFD (2016, 2017).
  • Aerodynamics of the Flinders University solar car (2017).
  • Aerodynamics of the Flinders Formula SAE car (2017).
  • Optimising airflow in commercial kitchens (2017).
  • Robotic exoskeleton for worksite assistance (2017).
  • Noise characteristics of drones (2018).
  • The effect of reflecting surfaces on the sound radiated by a source (2018).
  • Cold-start R.E.H.S (Rapid Engine Heating System) (2018).
  • Domestic application of a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (2018).
  • Front to rear inter-connected suspension system (2018).
  • Application of leading-edge tubercles to an aircraft wing (2018).

Previous topic coordination/lecturing:

  • Topic coordinator and Lecturer in Fluid Mechanics (2016, 2017)
  • Topic coordinator and Lecturer in Acoustics (2017)
  • Topic coordinator in Applied Thermo-Fluid Dynamics (2016, 2017)
  • Lecturer in MATLAB (2015, 2016, 2017)

Previous tutoring:

  • Dynamics (2006-2011).
  • Engineering Planning & Design (2006-2011).
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (2008-2011).
  • Design Graphics (2006-2007).
  • Design and Communication (2006-2009).
  • Communications seminar marking (2007-2009).
Supervisory interests
Environmental noise
Flow control
Sleep
Wind farm noise
Higher degree by research supervision
Current
Principal supervisor: Wind farm noise (4)
Publications
Expert for media contact
Wind farm noise
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Interests
  • Wind farm noise

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