Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


College of Engineering


Peter Schuster

Advisor Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


As the climate crisis draws more concern, research and development in wave energy as a renewable energy source has increased. Devices such as wave energy converters (WECs) are being researched, tested, and implemented to make wave energy a competitive power source. Testing of these devices is limited due to environmental concerns such as weather, location, and other issues. WECs require testing in a marine environment, however, performing testing in the actual environment may be difficult due to weather, access, mounting, and other issues. To eliminate environmental unknowns from testing, a wave simulator device can mimic wave behavior without the need for ocean or river testing. After doing research on wave energy and existing solutions, a wave generator device was conceptualized, designed, and manufactured to be used in Cal Poly’s Fluids Lab. The manufacturing portion was limited by time and funding to a small-scale model of the design which was tested and evaluated as the full-scale model would be. The design concept is a device that moves vertically on the back wall of a tank filled with water where the up and down motion will cause waves to form. The vertical motion is achieved by the device being pushed down and pulled up with a crank slider driven by a motor. The rotational motion produced by the motor is translated to linear motion by the crank slider mechanism. The device is restricted to the vertical motion with linear guide rails and attached to the tank with a structural frame. The scale model replicates this design and its components on a small-scale and is used as a proof-of-concept prototype. Its purpose is to validate the design concept and objective of simulating ocean waves. The validated design concept, proven by the scale design, will be manufactured at full-scale by future Senior Design Project teams at Cal Poly. The wave simulator device will be utilized by Cal Poly students, faculty, or affiliates to test different types of WECs.