Soil-structure interaction framework for monopiles in sand under cyclic loading

This joint PhD project is based at KU Leuven with a minimum 12 month stay at The University of Melbourne.

Project description
Recent developments in offshore renewable energy sector have resulted in bigger wind turbines and thus an increase in the mostly commonly used monopile foundation’s diameter to guarantee their performance especially under higher lateral cyclic loads due to waves and wind.

Taking into account the effects of the cyclic loading especially on the long-term foundations’ capacity, highlights the monopiles’ ability to control the response as well as the life span of such energy infrastructure. Despite the diverse group of available approaches to estimate cyclic soil-structure response, an alternative which can considers strain accumulation by means of a thermodynamically consistent, multi- surface plasticity framework to generate more accurate predictions of cyclic long-term displacements, remains still unexplored.

In this regard, this joint KU Leuven (KUL) – University of Melbourne (UoM) project aims to develop a novel three-dimensional (3D) soil-structure interaction model for monopiles subjected to lateral cyclic loading in sand by means of a finite element solution using advanced soil constitutive modelling and laboratory testing. Theoretical development will include model calibration via a laboratory cyclic testing program and application to monopile-soil interaction problems including comparisons with predictions from existing models and available test data.

The specific objectives of this project can be summarized in the following: (objective 1) development of a novel rigorous 3D finite element model to predict the response of soil-pile system supporting wind turbines under lateral cyclic loading and (objective 2) conduction of advanced laboratory monotonic and cyclic triaxial tests.

The outcomes of the project will be integrated into an accessible design tool to enable better predictability of monopiles cyclic capacity in engineering practice. The successful candidate will be primarily based at KUL to conduct the theoretical work and will spend a period of 12 months at UoM to conduct the experimental work.

The project will be complemented by the project on Soil-structure interaction framework for plate anchors in sand under cyclic loading and the collaboration will ensure a successful completion of the project.


Supervision team:

Principal Investigators (PIs)

Assistant Professor Dr George Anoyatis (KU Leuven)
Dr Shiao Huey Chow (The University of Melbourne)

Co-Principal Investigators (co-PIs)

Assistant Professor Dr Stijn Francois (KU Leuven)
Associate Professor Yinghui Tian (The University of Melbourne)