Numerical Investigations on Lateral Load Response of Fin Piles
Wind energy is one of the most cost effective and renewable energy options for power generation. With this aim, monopiles are widely used to support offshore and onshore wind turbines. Unlike onshore, offshore foundations are subjected to large environmental loads from wind and wave forces, which are in the order of 20 to 30% of gravity loads. These loads act at significant height on pile top with respect to seabed level, thereby causing an eccentricity. To cater for the large amount of lateral loads, provision of fins to monopiles is one of the viable options to enhance their lateral load carrying capacity. In this paper, some of the ongoing numerical model studies on the lateral load response of regular piles (pile without fins) and fin piles in sand are presented. In the present study, three dimensional finite element analyses were performed on regular piles as well as fin piles. Analyses were performed in sand with different relative densities, namely 40%, 55% and 85%. Pile material is mild steel for all analyses. Pile section is modeled as a linear elastic material and soil is modeled using Mohr-Coulomb constitutive model with non-associated flow rule. Regular and fin piles having four and eight fins are considered during the analyses. Influence of sand relative density, fins orientation and their position on lateral load response of fin piles is highlighted. The analyses and interpretation of results shown that, fins placed near the top portion of the pile are more effective than fins placed at bottom portion. Among various fins orientation, star fin piles offer more lateral load compared to straight and diagonal fin piles. Further, it was also noticed that sand relative density influences the lateral load carrying capacity of fin piles significantly.
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