Engineering Structures 24 (2002) 1015–1025www.elsevier.com/locate/engstruct
Static, seismic and stability analyses of a prototype wind turbinesteel tower
N. Bazeos, G.D. Hatzigeorgiou, I.D. Hondros, H. Karamaneas, D.L. Karabalis
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Patras, 26500 Patras, Greece
Received 11 December 2000; received in revised form 7 February 2002; accepted 8 February 2002
Selected results of a study concerning the load bearing capacity and the seismic behavior of a prototype steel tower for a 450 kWwind turbine with a horizontal power transmission axle are presented. The main load bearing structure of the steel tower rises toalmost 38 m high and consists of thin-wall cylindrical and conical parts, of varying diameters and wall thicknesses, which are linkedtogether by bolted circular rings. The behavior and the load capacity of the structure have been studied with the aid of a reﬁnedﬁnite element and other simpliﬁed models recommended by appropriate building codes. The structure is analyzed for static andseismic loads representing the effects of gravity, the operational and survival aerodynamic conditions, and possible site-dependentseismic motions. Comparative studies have been performed on the results of the above analyses and some useful conclusions aredrawn pertaining to the effectiveness and accuracy of the various models used in this work.
2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.
Wind turbine; Steel tower; Static analysis; Seismic analysis; Stability analysis
This work depicts some critical aspects of the analysesperformed during the design of an almost 38 m highsteel tower supporting a prototype 450 kW wind turbinewith a horizontal power transmission axle. The entirewind turbine system, now under construction, is the ﬁrstdesigned and manufactured exclusively in Greece.The main supporting structure of the wind turbine, asshown in Fig. 1(a), is assembled by thin-wall cylindricaland conical parts of varying diameters and wall thick-nesses. Circular stiffeners are placed at regular intervalsalong the height of the structure for further stiffeningagainst local buckling. The optimal vertical spacingbetween circular stiffeners with regard to the thicknessand the diameter of the shell structure has been the sub- ject of an extensive stability analysis study.Furthermore, at the base of the structure a substantialdoor opening is considered. The adverse inﬂuence of this
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2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.PII: S0141-0296(02)00021-4
opening on the overall structural behavior of the toweris partly counterbalanced by heavy reinforcement alongits perimeter as shown in Fig. 2. However, to the bestof our knowledge there are no formal analytical pro-cedures for estimating the effectiveness of such designconﬁgurations.It is also considered common practice to analyze suchtower-like structures as ‘ﬁxed’ at their base with no con-sideration of the foundation–soil interaction. In mostcases, over-designed foundations and stiff soil conditionscould, for all practical purposes, produce such a ‘ﬁxed’base. However, this is not always the case since in manyinstances wind turbines are installed in regions with rela-tively soft soil deposits. Under these circumstances theinteraction of the structure with the supporting soil,particularly under external dynamic or seismic loads,could become a major concern in designing the foun-dation and subsequently the entire structure of the windturbine tower.On the basis of the previous discussion, three majoraspects of the particular design/analysis of the towerstructure and its foundation are primarily discussed inthe following work: