Influence of Scour Protection on the Vertical Bearing Behaviour of Monopiles in Sand

Qiang Li, Xinquan Wang*, Kenneth Gavin, Shengxiang Jiang, Hongguo Diao, Kangyu Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Extensive studies have been performed on the effectiveness of scour protection against scour erosion progression. But there is little research to date evaluating the effect of scour protection on vertical resistance behaviour of monopile foundations. This paper investigates the influence of scour protection on the vertical loading behaviour of monopiles installed in sand using centrifuge tests and finite element analysis (FEA). Four scour protection widths (1D, 2D, 3D, 4D; where D is the pile diameter) and three scour protection thicknesses (1 m, 2 m, 3 m) were modelled on a pile with a slenderness ratio (L/D) of five. In the FEA, the scour protection mechanism was modelled using two strategies, namely the ‘stress method’ by applying stress and the ‘material method’ by applying virtual material on the seabed surface around the pile. Outcomes between these two strategies were compared, and the contact coefficient δ used in the ‘material method’ for describing the contact effectiveness of the overlaying scour protection material with the pile structure was introduced, providing a more scientific and accurate calculation reference for engineering applications. The results indicated that the vertical capacity of monopiles could be increased by 5% to 23% by adopting the scour protection measure, depending on the scour protection width and scour protection thickness.
Original languageEnglish
Article number215
Number of pages17
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • piles and piling
  • scour protection
  • vertical resistance
  • finite element methods
  • centrifuge modelling


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