Static impedance functions for monopiles supporting offshore wind turbines in nonhomogeneous soils-emphasis on soil/monopile interface characteristics

  • Abed, Younes (Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Technology, University Saad Dahled of Blida) ;
  • Bouzid, Djillali Amar (Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Technology, University Saad Dahled of Blida) ;
  • Bhattacharya, Subhamoy (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tomas Telford Building, University of Surrey) ;
  • Aissa, Mohammed H. (Department of Material Engineering, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, University of Medea)
  • Received : 2015.07.29
  • Accepted : 2016.04.01
  • Published : 2016.05.25


Offshore wind turbines are considered as a fundamental part to develop substantial, alternative energy sources. In this highly flexible structures, monopiles are usually used as support foundations. Since the monopiles are large diameter (3.5 to 7 m) deep foundations, they result in extremely stiff short monopiles where the slenderness (length to diameter) may range between 5 and 10. Consequently, their elastic deformation patterns under lateral loading differ from those of small diameter monopiles usually employed for supporting structures in offshore oil and gas industry. For this reason, design recommendations (API and DNV) are not appropriate for designing foundations for offshore wind turbine structures as they have been established on the basis of full-scale load tests on long, slender and flexible piles. Furthermore, as these facilities are very sensitive to rotations and dynamic changes in the soil-pile system, the accurate prediction of monopile head displacement and rotation constitutes a design criterion of paramount importance. In this paper, the Fourier Series Aided Finite Element Method (FSAFEM) is employed for the determination of static impedance functions of monopiles for OWT subjected to horizontal force and/or to an overturning moment, where a non-homogeneous soil profile has been considered. On the basis of an extensive parametric study, and in order to address the problem of head stiffness of short monopiles, approximate analytical formulae are obtained for lateral stiffness $K_L$, rotational stiffness $K_R$ and cross coupling stiffness $K_{LR}$ for both rough and smooth interfaces. Theses expressions which depend only on the values of the monopile slenderness $L/D_p$ rather than the relative soil/monopile rigidity $E_p/E_s$ usually found in the offshore platforms designing codes (DNV code for example) have been incorporated in the expressions of the OWT natural frequency of four wind farm sites. Excellent agreement has been found between the computed and the measured natural frequencies.


semi-analytical FE analysis;laterally loaded short monopiles;monopile head stiffnesses;offshore wind turbines;natural frequency


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