PISA design model for monopiles for offshore wind turbines: Application to a stiff glacial clay till

Byron W. Byrne, Guy T. Houlsby, Harvey J. Burd, Kenneth G. Gavin, David J.P. Igoe, Richard J. Jardine, Christopher M. Martin, Ross A. McAdam, David M. Potts, More Authors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Offshore wind turbines in shallow coastal waters are typically supported on monopile foundations. Although three-dimensional (3D) finite-element methods are available for the design of monopiles in this context, much of the routine design work is currently conducted using simplified one-dimensional (1D) models based on the p-y method. The p-y method was originally developed for the relatively large embedded length-to-diameter ratio (L/D) piles that are typically employed in offshore oil and gas structures. Concerns exist, however, that this analysis approach may not be appropriate for monopiles with the relatively low values of L/D that are typically adopted for offshore wind turbine structures. This paper describes a new 1D design model for monopile foundations; the model is specifically formulated for offshore wind turbine applications, although the general approach could be adopted for other applications. The model draws on the conventional p-y approach, but extends it to include additional components of soil reaction that act on the pile. The 1D model is calibrated using a set of bespoke 3D finite-element analyses of monopile performance, for pile characteristics and loading conditions that span a predefined design space. The calibrated 1D model provides results that match those obtained from the 3D finite-element calibration analysis, but at a fraction of the computational cost. Moreover, within the calibration space, the 1D model is capable of delivering high-fidelity computations of monopile performance that can be used directly for design purposes. This 1D modelling approach is demonstrated for monopiles installed in a stiff, overconsolidated glacial clay till with a typical North Sea strength and stiffness profile. Although the current form of the model has been developed for homogeneous soil and monotonic loading, it forms a basis from which extensions for soil layering and cyclic loading can be developed. The general approach can be applied to other foundation and soil-structure interaction problems, in which bespoke calibration of a simplified model can lead to more efficient design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1030-1047
Number of pages18
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • design
  • limit state design/analysis
  • numerical modelling
  • offshore engineering
  • piles & piling
  • soil/structure interaction

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