A macro-element pile foundation model for integrated analyses of monopilebased offshore wind turbines
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionOcean Engineering. 2018, 167 23-35. 10.1016/j.oceaneng.2018.08.019
The design of OWTs relies on integrated load analyses tools that simulate the response of the entire OWT (including the rotor-nacelle assembly, support structure and foundation) under combined aerodynamic and hydrodynamic loading. Despite all efforts to develop accurate integrated models, these often fail to reproduce the measured natural frequencies, partly due to the current foundation modelling. This paper presents a new foundation model for integrated analyses of monopile-based OWTs. The model follows the macro-element approach, where the response of a pile and the surrounding soil is condensed to a force-displacement relation at seabed. The model formulation uses multi-surface plasticity and it reproduces key characteristics in monopile foundation behaviour that are not accounted for in current industry practice. The basic features of the model are described and its limitations are discussed. The performance of the macro-element model is compared against field test measurements and results from FEA. The comparison indicates that the macro-element model can reproduce accurately the non-linear load-displacement response and hysteretic behaviour measured in field tests and computed in FEA. This confirms that the model can simulate the pile and soil behaviour with the same level of accuracy as FEA, but with a considerable reduction in computational effort.