The Effect of Stress Wave Dispersion on the Drivability Analysis of Large-Diameter Monopiles

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Due to the increasing need for energy from renewable resources, a large number of offshore wind farms are planned to be constructed in the near future. Despite the plethora of available foundation concepts for offshore wind turbines, the monopile foundation is the most widely adopted concept in practice. To predict the installation process for a monopile a so-called drivability study is performed. Such a study allows one to decide on a number of key parameters for the installation process, such as, the appropriate size of the hydraulic hammer, the number of hammer blows and energy input needed to reach the final penetration depth, and the induced stresses in the system. The latter is important for the prediction of the fatigue life of the pile.

Currently, drivability studies are based on one-dimensional wave equation models as first proposed by Smith in the 1950s. These models are valid as long as the diameter of the pile is small compared to the excited wavelengths in the structure due to the hammer impact. For large-diameter monopiles that are currently being used in the offshore wind industry, the latter condition is not met and the effect of stress wave dispersion can no longer be neglected.

In this paper the classical wave equation model is amended by an extra term which accounts for the lateral inertia of the cross-section, resulting in the so-called Rayleigh-Love rod theory. With this new model, a parametric study is performed in which the effect of stress wave dispersion on the induced stresses and the number of hammer blows needed to reach the final penetration depth are assessed. A comparison with the results obtained from the classical model is also included in order to define the applicability range of the models. It is shown that the effect of stress wave dispersion can not be neglected for a drivability study of large-diameter monopiles.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationX International Conference on Structural Dynamics, EURODYN 2017
EditorsFabrizio Vestroni, Vincenzo Gattulli, Francesco Romeo
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameProcedia Engineering
ISSN (Electronic)1877-7058


  • Monopile foundation
  • drivability study
  • lateral inertia
  • wave equation
  • stress wave dispersion
  • offshore wind energy


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