Geotechnical aspects of offshore wind turbine dynamics from 3D non-linear soil-structure simulations

Evangelos Kementzetzidis, Simone Corciulo, Willem G. Versteijlen, Federico Pisanò*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)
299 Downloads (Pure)


The development of the offshore wind industry is motivating substantial research efforts worldwide, where offshore wind turbines (OWTs) of increasing size are being installed in deeper water depths. Foundation design is a major factor affecting the structural performance of OWTs, with most installations founded to date on large-diameter monopiles. This work promotes advanced 3D finite element (FE) modelling for the dynamic analysis of OWT-monopile-soil systems. A detailed FE model of a state-of-the-art 8 MW OWT is analysed by accounting for dynamic soil-monopile interaction in presence of pore pressure effects. For this purpose, the critical-state, bounding surface SANISAND model is adopted to reproduce the hydro-mechanical cyclic response of the sand deposit. The response to realistic environmental loading histories (10 min duration) are simulated, then followed by numerical rotor-stop tests for global damping estimation. While linking to existing literature, all FE results are critically inspected to gain insight relevant to geotechnical design. The modelling tools adopted (i) support the robustness of 'soft-stiff’ foundation design with respect to natural frequency shifts, even during severe storm events; (ii) provide values of foundation damping in line with field measurements; (iii) suggest that pore pressure effects might more likely affect soil-monopile interaction under weak-to-moderate environmental loading.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-199
Number of pages19
JournalSoil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Cyclic loading
  • Damping
  • Hydro-mechanical coupling
  • Monopile
  • Natural frequency
  • Offshore wind turbine
  • Sand plasticity


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