Vibration-assisted decommissioning of a slip joint: Application to an offshore wind turbine

A. Cabboi, Thijs Kamphuis, E. van Veldhuizen, M.L.A. Segeren, H. Hendrikse

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An alternative option to the traditional grouted joint for wind turbines is a direct steel-to-steel connection, also known as slip joint. In a recently published work, a proof of concept of a vibration-assisted installation and decommissioning technique of a slip joint was illustrated. Leveraging on the obtained results, the current study shows for the first time a decommissioning campaign carried out using a vibration-assisted technique applied on a prototype hydraulic wind turbine tower located in the North Sea, and connected to the monopile through a slip joint. The key aspect of the dismounting procedure is a priori knowledge of the resonance frequency clusters corresponding to the slip joint’s cross-sectional modes. Therefore, field hammer tests and experimental modal analysis were carried out inside the wind turbine tower. The identified frequencies and mode shapes were then compared with numerical ones estimated by a finite element model of the investigated structure. The comparison showed that a set of frequency clusters can be directly selected from a detailed numerical model. The preparatory work of the slip joint decommissioning was then executed by installing electric shaker devices, based on the dynamic identification results, and hydraulic jacks mounted inside the wind turbine tower. A first decommissioning trial was carried out in May 2019, while the final decommissioning was performed in August 2019. After analysing the measurements of the hydraulic pressures, displacements and excitation frequencies during the decommissioning campaigns, the results showed that it is possible to disconnect the slip joint if, in combination to a vertical static force, one of the identified cross-sectional mode shapes is excited. The vibration-assisted decommissioning proved to be a successful technique to dismount the connection in a controlled and straightforward manner.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102931
Number of pages22
JournalMarine Structures
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Experimental modal analysis
  • Friction
  • Jointed structures
  • Offshore structures
  • Shell structures


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