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Wind Turbine Foundation Design

Wind Turbine
Foundation Design

Contents

Wind Turbine Foundation Design Chapter for Civil Wind Energy Design and Construction
2
1.0 Introduction 2
1.1 Foundation Types 2
1.1.1 Shallow Octagonal Gravity Base Foundation
2
1.1.2 Shallow Rock Socketed, Rock Anchor, and Short Pier Foundations
2
1.1.3 Deep Pile and Cap Foundations 2
1.1.4. Patrick and Henderson Patented Foundations
3
1.2 What Makes Wind Turbine Foundation Design Unique?
3
1.3 Wind Turbine Driving Forces 3
2.0 Wind Turbine Foundation Design Path 4
2.1 Turbine Specific Load Document and Design Requirements
4
2.2 Geotechnical Investigation and Geotechnical Report
4
2.2.1 Ground Improvement Recommendations 4
3.0 Wind Turbine Foundation Design and Analysis 5
3.1 Preliminary Design 5
3.2 Pre-Design Check Calculations 5
3.2.1 Eccentricity 5
3.2.2 Wind Turbine Foundation Effective Area
6
3.2.3 Horizontal Wind Force Correction for Mechanical Torque
7
3.3 Wind Turbine Foundation Design Checks 7
3.3.1 Foundation Overturning 7
3.3.2 Rotational Stiffness 9
3.3.3 Bearing Capacity 13
3.3.4 Sliding 15
3.3.5 Settlement 20
References 22

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Wind Turbine Foundation Design

1.0 Introduction

Wind turbine foundation design is unique due to untraditional loading conditions and large site and geotechnical
variance. When designing a wind turbine foundation, the
foundation engineer has several foundation options to
choose from including shallow octagonal gravity base,
rock anchors, pier-type foundations, and deep piles.
Design parameters are dependent on wind turbine size,
turbine and site specific loading conditions, and site
specific geotechnical conditions. Furthermore, there are
a series of design checks to ensure the foundation type,
size, and placement is capable of withstanding the extreme loading conditions.
1.1 Foundation Types
There are several options available for wind turbine generator foundation design. Depending on the localized
geotechnical and the turbine specific load conditions,
the best fit foundation option is chosen by the foundation design engineer for a wind turbine and wind farm
project. Foundation size and type may vary throughout
a wind farm.
The foundations options include both shallow foundations and deep foundations. The shallow foundations
include octagonal gravity base, rock socketed, rock anchor, and short pier foundations. The deep foundations
include pile and cap foundations, and the patented Patrick and Henderson Tensionless Pier, Rock Anchor and
Pile Anchor foundations. The deep foundations are often
chosen for poor soil conditions. Mono-pile foundations
are another deep foundation type that is most commonly
utilized for offshore applications.
1.1.1 Shallow Octagonal Gravity Base Foundation
Octagonal gravity base foundations are the most common non-proprietary foundation type used for landbased wind turbines and will be the focus of this foundation design chapter. These foundations are applicable in
a broad range of soil conditions. In general, this type of
foundation is a large octagonal mass of concrete and
steel rebar reinforcement. Typically, octagonal gravity
base foundations are 12 to 18 m in diameter, approximately 0.7 m thick at the edge, 2.5 to 3.5 meters thick at
the center, contain 140 to 460 cubic meters of concrete,
125 to 360 kN of reinforcing steel, and cost $100,000
to $250,000 per foundation. This foundation type relies
on the weight of the concrete and steel as well as the
overburden soil to resist the overturning moment from
the horizontal wind load on the turbine structure. These
foundations are typically embedded 2.4 to 3 m beneath
the finish grade of overlying soil. The size of these foundations is usually dictated by either the maximum allowable edge pressure or overturning due to a high groundwater table (Tinjum and Christensen, 2010). Figure 1
depicts geometry of this type of foundation and Figure 2
is an example of a shallow octagonal foundation before
the overlying soil is backfilled.

Figure 1: Depiction of Geometry of Shallow Octagonal


Wind Turbine Foundation

Figure 2: Example of Shallow Octagonal Wind Turbine


Foundation before Overlying Soil is Backfilled

1.1.2 Shallow Rock Socketed, Rock Anchor,


and Short Pier Foundations
In locations where a thin layer of incompetent soil is overlying competent soil or rock, rock socketed, rock anchor,
and short pier foundations can be utilized. These rock
sockets, rock anchors, and short piers extend through
the poor soil into the competent soil or rock. These foundation types rely on end bearing, side wall friction, tension in steel reinforcement, and lateral earth pressure on
the rock sockets and anchors or short piers for stability
(Morgan & Ntambakwa 2008).
1.1.3 Deep Pile and Cap Foundations
Deep pile and cap foundations are applicable where
competent soil or rock is located deep below the ground
surface. These foundations utilize piles that are drilled
deep beneath the ground surface, through the layer of
incompetent soil, into the competent soil or rock. Similarly to shallow pier foundations, deep pile and cap foundations rely on end bearing, sidewall friction, and lateral
earth pressure for stability (Morgan & Ntambakwa 2008).

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Tensionless Pier consist of post-tensioned concrete annulus, typically 4.5 to 5.5 meters in diameter installed
to a depth of between 8 and 12 m. The annulus is constructed by placing two corrugated metal cylinders in an
excavated or drilled hole, and filling the annular space
with concrete. The interior space is backfilled with a 1 m
thick concrete plug, followed by uncompacted excavation spoil. The pier is capped with a structural slab. The
exterior space between the outer corrugated cylinder
and the natural soil is backfilled with sand-cement slurry
or grout. The principal advantage claimed for this foundation type is cost savings. However, there are aspects
to the construction of these piers that can negate the apparent savings; principally, caving soils and large grout
takes (Tinjum and Christensen, 2010). A diagram of the
P&H Tensionless Pier is shown in Figure 3. Patrick and
Henderson also have patented Rock Anchor and Pile
Anchor foundations. Figure 4 shows a diagram of the
P&H Pile Anchor Foundation.

Figure 3: Patented Patrick and Henderson Tensionless Pier


wind turbine foundation

Figure 4: Patented Patrick and Henderson Pile Anchor


wind turbine foundation

1.1.4. Patrick and Henderson Patented Foundations


The patented Patrick and Henderson (P&H) Tensionless Pier is classified as a deep foundation and is applicable where competent bedrock or non-collapsing soil
is located relatively near the ground surface. The P&H

1.2 What Makes Wind Turbine


Foundation Design Unique?
Wind turbine foundation design is unique when compared to tradition foundation design due to untraditional
loading conditions and large site and geotechnical variance. Wind turbine structures experience an unusually
high horizontal wind load and thus a large overturning
moment. In addition to this high overturning moment,
the wind turbine structure has a low vertical or axial load.
Furthermore, wind turbine foundation design is unique
because wind farm projects often incorporate hundreds
of wind turbines over large areas of land. Because of
this, extreme variance in soil and groundwater conditions can be encountered on a single wind farm project.
Wind turbine foundation design has both typical and
atypical design criteria. These design criteria are based
on turbine specific load documents and site specific soil
and groundwater conditions. Typical design criteria include soil bearing capacity and foundation settlement.
Atypical design criteria include vertical and rotational
stiffness, electrical resistivity for electrical grounding,
and thermal resistivity for underground electrical transmission.
1.3 Wind Turbine Driving Forces
There are several driving forces that need to be accounted for in wind turbine foundation design. The wind turbine foundation needs to resist these driving forces to
safely support the wind turbine structure. The most important driving forces in wind turbine foundation design
are horizontal wind loads, mechanical and operation
loads, vertical and axial forces, ice loads, and seismic
loads. The horizontal wind loads are based on a 50 year
extreme wind gust and create a large overturning moment about the foundation edge. The mechanical and
operational loads are cyclic in nature and should be considered in foundation and tower fatigue calculations. The

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vertical and axial forces include the weight of the wind
turbine structure, the weight of the foundation, and the
weight of the overlying soil. The ice and seismic loads
may or may not be included in foundation design depending on the geographic location. Design loads for the
above listed driving forces are typically provided by the
turbine manufacturer.

2.0 Wind Turbine Foundation Design Path

When designing a wind turbine foundation the design


path shown in Figure 5 should be followed. The path includes obtaining the turbine specific load document and
design requirements, obtaining a site specific geotechnical report, creating a preliminary design, completing
the required geotechnical deign checks, completing the
structural design, and evaluating the field and construction quality control.

ments include subsurface conditions that are provided in


the sites geotechnical report, location specific environmental restrictions, a wind modeling and resource assessment report, and a seismic risk analysis. The owner
and O&M requirements are specific to the project owner
and utility company that the electricity will supply. The
current codes and regulatory standards include the design loads and load factors, ultimate limit state (ULS) and
serviceability limit state (SLS) requirements and checks,
stability and overturning checks, and fatigue checks.
The loads that control the design need to be evaluated
by the foundation engineer and can be any of the following, wind, ice, operational, fatigue, seismic, or wave action for offshore applications. Load cases can be found
listed in IEC-61400 (2005).

2.2 Geotechnical Investigation


and Geotechnical Report
The geotechnical investigation and report are important documents needed
for wind turbine foundation design.
There are several purposes of the geotechnical investigation, analysis, and
report. First, it is meant to explore the
subsurface soil, rock, and groundwater
conditions. Second, it reports the results of field and laboratory testing that
characterize the subsurface soils and
bedrock properties. Lastly, it provides
geotechnical recommendations for the
design and construction of the foundation systems.

Figure 5: Wind Turbine Foundation Design Path

2.1 Turbine Specific Load Document


and Design Requirements
The wind turbine manufacturer provides turbine specific load documents and design requirements to the
projects foundation engineer. These load documents
include both characteristic and extreme conditions. The
extreme conditions are based on a 50-year extreme
wind gust. The loads and design requirements include
the overturning moment, the vertical load, the horizontal
wind load, the allowable tilt or differential settlement, the
overall allowable settlement, the horizontal, vertical, and
rotational foundation stiffness, and the design life of the
wind turbine generator.
Further design requirements that are not turbine specific
must also be obtained. These include site conditions,
owner requirements, operation and maintenance (O&M)
requirements, current codes and regulatory standards,
and an evaluation of loads that will ultimately control
the design of the foundation. The site condition require-

There are several parameters that are


typically collected by a combination of
field and laboratory test prior to the design of wind turbine foundations. Data and specimens
that are collected in field testing include soil borings, rock
coring, grab samples from test trenches and thin walled
Shelby Tubes, cone penetrometer test (CPT), standard
penetrometer test (SPT), and geophysical testing that
includes resistivity arrays and seismic surveys. A minimum of one boring or CPT at each turbine location as
well as several borings for access roads and substation
locations are required. Data and parameters collected
in lab test include soil data classifications such as unit
weight, Atterburg limits, moisture content, unconfined
compressive strength, compressive strength rock core,
consolidation test, permeability test, thermal resistivity
test, chemical compatibility tests, and electrical resistivity for electrical ground (Tinjum and Christensen, 2010).
2.2.1 Ground Improvement Recommendations
The geotechnical report may also include ground improvement recommendation for areas with poor soil
conditions. This is done through methods of over exca-

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Wind Turbine Foundation Design


vation and replacement, dynamics compaction, rammed
aggregate piers and stone columns. Over excavation
and replacement can be economical up to depths of 3
m or so beneath the base of the foundation. It is not
uncommon for the over excavation to be replaced with
a concrete slurry rather than using an engineered subgrade soil for replacement. Dynamics compaction can
be effective to depths of 7 to 10 m. Dynamic compaction is limited to course-grained soil. Rammed aggregate
piers (RAP) are increasingly used in conjunction with
conventional spread footings. This technique is applicable where the soil profile contains a soft or loose upper
later underlain by more competent material. Pier lengths
up to about 7 m can be installed with auger rigs; greater
lengths may be achieved with casing and mandrel systems (impact piers) (Tinjum and Christensen, 2010).

3.0 Wind Turbine Foundation


Design and Analysis

3.1 Preliminary Design


After the turbine specific load document, design requirements, and site specific geotechnical report have been
obtained and evaluated, a preliminary foundation design
can be created. When creating a preliminary design, the
foundation type, dimensions, and embedment depth
must be chosen. For most foundation engineers the preliminary design draws on past experience of foundation
design for similar geotechnical conditions. Past experience is helpful, but if an inexperienced engineer creates
a preliminary design that is over or under designed, the
foundation design checks will show if the design needs
to be altered. It is again noted that this foundation design
chapter will focus on the shallow octagonal gravity base
wind turbine foundation.
3.2 Pre-Design Check Calculations
Before completing the foundation design checks, three
calculations are required. First, the wind turbine systems
eccentricity is determined. Next, the wind turbine foundations effective loading area is calculated. Last, a correction to the horizontal force on the wind turbine, due
to the presence of a mechanical torque on the structure
and foundation, is needed.

3.2.1 Eccentricity
Before the foundations effective area is calculated, the
eccentricity of the wind turbine structure and system
needs to be determined. Due to the large horizontal wind
loads on the wind turbine and tower, the foundation load
center is offset from the center of the foundation by a
distance referred to as the eccentricity (e). This distance
can be calculated with Equation 1 if the design overturning moment and design vertical forces are known. Figure 6 shows a diagram of eccentric loading on a wind
turbine foundation. It is important to note that the ec-

Figure 6: Diagram of Eccentric Load of a Wind Turbine Foundation

centricity varies with horizontal wind force. In foundation


design calculations, extreme wind conditions are used in
calculation to ensure the foundation will not fail.

[1]
Md
e = ___
Vd

where:
e = eccentricty
Md = design overturning moment
Vd = design vertical load

Example 3.2.1
If an extreme overturning moment is given as 52,500
kNm and a design vertical load of 11,800 kN the eccentricity is calculated below in meters.

Md
e = ___
Vd
e = 52,500 kNm
11,800 kN
e = 4.45 m from center of wind turbine structure

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3.2.2 Wind Turbine Foundation Effective Area
When wind loading is present, the load center is at the
center of the effective foundation area, a distance equal
to the eccentricity from the center of the system. The
effective area is important to determine the maximum
applied pressure to ensure adequate bearing capacity
is available. The effective foundation area for a shallow gravity base octagonal wind turbine foundation is
approximated to an ellipse and then later simplified to
a rectangle with the following equations. It may not be
immediately apparent why the ellipse needs to be approximated to a rectangle, but the rectangle will appear
in design calculations later in the chapter.
The effective area, approximated to an ellipse, can be
calculated using Equation 2.

Aeff = 2[R2 cos-1 ( Re ) - eR2 - e2]

[2]

where:
Aeff = effective foundation area
R = radius of inscribed circle of polygon
e = eccentricity

Figure 7: Diagram of the Octagonal Foundation Footprint,


the Ellipse Approximation, and the Rectangular Approximation

The major axes of the approximated ellipse can be calculated with Equations 3 and 4.

be = 2(R - e)

[3]

le = 2R1-(1- 2Rb )2

[4]

where:
be = width of ellipse
le = length of ellipse

Example 3.2.2 Wind Turbine Foundation Effective Area


For a wind turbine foundation with a diameter of 15 m
and a calculated eccentricity of 4.45 m the effective
loading area is calculated.
The effective area, approximated to an ellipse.
Aeff = 2[R2 cos-1 ( Re ) - eR2 - e2]
4.45m
Aeff = 2[(7.5m)2 cos-1 (7.5m
) - (4.45m)(7.5m)2 - (4.45m)2]

The approximated ellipse is simplified to a rectangle with


the dimensions from Equations 5 and 6.

The major axes of the approximated ellipse.

leff
beff = ___
be
le

[5]

leff = Aeff

[6]

le
be

Aeff = 51.5 m2

where:
beff = width of rectangle
leff = length of rectangle
Aeff = effective foundation area
A diagram of the octagonal foundation footprint, ellipse
approximation, and rectangular approximation is shown
in Figure 7.

be = 2(R - e)
be = 2(7.5m - 4.45m)
be = 6.1 m

le = 2R1-(1- 2Rb )2
6.1m 2
le = 2(7.5m)1-(1- 2(7.5m)
)

le = 12.1 m
The dimensions of the rectangle approximated
from the ellipse.
leff = Aeff

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le
be

Wind Turbine Foundation Design


12.1m
leff = 51.5 m2 (6.1m
)

H1 = 9,640.5 kN

Ieff = 10.1 m

3.3 Wind Turbine Foundation Design Checks


After a preliminary design is created and the pre-design
check calculations have been completed, there are several design checks that must be evaluated to both ensure that the foundation is suitable to support the wind
turbine structure and to ensure that the foundation is not
over designed for cost purposes. There are five main
design checks that must be evaluated: foundation overturning, rotational stiffness, soil bearing capacity, sliding,
and settlement.

leff
beff = ___ be
le

10.1 m 6.1m
beff = _______
12.1 m

beff = 5.09 m

3.2.3 Horizontal Wind Force


Correction for Mechanical
Torque
Before completing the design checks, the horizontal
load needs to be adjusted
due to the presence of a
mechanical torque on the
structure and foundation.
Most modern wind turbines
are designed to orientate
the turbine to face the direction of the incoming wind.
This mechanical action creates a mechanical torque
about the Z-axis of the system. The mechanical torque
can be seen as Mz in Figure
8. The mechanical torque
needs to be accounted for
in the design calculations
by adjusting the horizontal load on the system with
Equation 7.

H1 =

2M z
leff

3.3.1 Foundation Overturning


Foundation overturning is often one of the first design
checks evaluated. This design check is meant to ensure
the destabilizing forces of the wind turbine system, from
an extreme loading case, do not exceed the stabilizing
forces. The destabilizing forces include the horizontal
wind load adjusted with mechanical torque, and any
other mechanical forces the turbine may create. The stabilizing forces include the mass of the turbine structure,
the mass of the concrete foundation, and the overburden soil mass and pressure. Some important geometric
foundation parameters, shown in the Figure 9, will be required for this design check calculation. After these geometric parameters have been identified, several steps
must be followed to complete the design check.

Figure 8: Diagram of Forces


and Resultant Moment
on Wind Turbine System

+ H2 + (

2Mz
leff

[7]

Example 3.2.3 Correction for Mechanical Torque


If a mechanical torque of 27,000 kNm is applied to a system with an already existing horizontal force of 900 kN
and a foundation radius of 15 m, determine the adjusted
horizontal force.

H1 =

2(27,000 kNm)
10.1 m

2Mz
leff

+ H2 + (

2Mz
leff

+ (900kN)2 + (

2(27,000 kNm)
10.1 m

2. Calculate the total volume (Vc) and weight of concrete (Wc) in the foundation.
3. Calculate the soil dead load (WT). The soil dead
load is the weight of the soil that is above the octagonal foundation.

where:
H1 = adjusted horizontal force
Mz = mechanical torque
leff = length of approximated rectangle of
octagonal foundation

H1 =

1. Determine the foundation geometry, soil properties, concrete properties and the extreme factored
turbine loads. The foundation geometry will come
from the preliminary design. The soil properties can
be found in the geotechnical report. The concrete
properties will come from the concrete supplier for
the specific concrete that is to be used. Lastly, the
extreme factored turbine loads can be found in the
manufacturer supplied load document.

4. Calculate the total resisting moment (MR). The total resisting moment is a function of the weight of
the concrete, the weight of the soil, and the vertical
or axial forces of the turbine structure. The combination of these weights and forces are multiplied by the
foundation radius to obtain the total resisting moment.

5. Calculate the total overturning moment for the
extreme conditions (MOE). The total overturning moment is the combination of the existing overturning
moment at the base of the wind turbine tower cou-

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Wind Turbine Foundation Design


Extreme Factored Turbine Loads
Fxy = 163 kips horizontal
Fz = 497 kips vertical
Mxy = 36,587.2 ft kips
Operational Loads
Fxy = 45.0 kips horizontal
Fz = 509 kips vertical
Mxy = 11,300 ft kip

2. Determine the volume and weight of concrete


that will be installed.
Figure 9: Important geometric foundation parameters for
overturning calculation

pled with the horizontal wind force multiplied by the


height of the foundation.

6. Determine the factor of safety against overturning.
This is the ratio of the total resisting moment to the
extreme condition overturning moment. A factor of
safety of 1.5 or greater is commonly accepted for
foundation overturning.
Note: If the water table is above base of foundation, total
resisting moment (MR) needs to be adjusted with a buoyancy calculation.
Example 3.3.1 Design Check Wind Turbine Foundation Overturning
1. Determine foundation geometry, soil properties from
the geotechnical report, the properties of the concrete
that is to be used, and the extreme factored turbine
loads from the manufacturer supplied load document.

Octagonal2 Foundation Area


Ao = 8R1 tan(/8)
Ao = 8(25ft)2tan(/8) = 2071.1 ft2
Volume of Flat Octagon
Vo = (hb+hc ) Ao
Vo = (1.83ft+3.75ft) 2071.1 ft2 = 11,557 ft3
Deduction of Wedges
Rectangular wedges (4) total
VWR = hc (R1- B2) B
VWR = (3.75ft)[25ft - ((20.7ft)2)](20.7ft) = 568.7 ft3 EA

Triangular wedges (4) total
VWT = 1/3 Bhc (R1- (B2) 2)
VWT = 1/3 (20.7ft)(3.75ft)(25ft - (20.7ft2)2)
VWT = 134.0 ft3 EA
Total Wedge Volume
VW = 4 (VWR + VWT)
VW = 4 (568.7 ft3 + 134.0 ft3) = 2810.8 ft3
Pedestal Area
AP = (R2)2
AP = (8.5ft)2 = 227.0 ft2

Foundation Geometry
hp = 4.0 ft
hc = 3.75 ft
hb = 1.83 ft
hg = 3.5 ft
R = 27.1 ft
R1 = 25 ft
R2 = 8.5 ft
X1 = 13.0 ft
B = 20.7 ft

Pedestal Volume
VP = AP hP
VP = 227.0 ft2 4.0 ft = 907.9 ft3
Total Concrete Volume
Vc = Vo - VW + VP
Vc = 11,557 ft3 - 2810.8 ft3 + 907.9 ft3 = 9,659.8 ft3
or 357.8 YD3

Concrete Properties
Weight = 150 lb/ft3
f'c = 5000 psi
Taper rate = 0.256

Weight of Concrete
Wc = Vc 150 lb/ft3
Wc = 9,659.8 ft3 150 lbsft3 = 1,449.0 kips

Soil Properties
Weight = 120 lb/ft3
Allowable Bearing = 5440 psf
Extreme Allowable Bearing = 6400 psf
Friction Coefficient, = 0.35
Water table height = 20 ft

3. Determine the soil dead load.


Change in soil height, g. Soil grade at " per foot.
g = in 1 ft/12 in (R1 - R2)
g = in 1 ft/12 in (25.0ft - 8.5 ft) = 0.344 ft

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Wind Turbine Foundation Design

Average height of soil above flat octagon, hg_ave


hg_ave = [hg + (hg - g)]/2
hg_ave = [3.5ft + (3.5ft-0.344ft)]/2 = 3.33 ft
Soil Area without Pier
As = Ao - AP
As = 2071.1 ft2 - 227.0 ft2 = 1,844.1 ft2
Soil Weight Above Flat Octagon, Ws
Ws = As hg_ave s
Ws = 1,844.1 ft2 3.33 ft 120 lb/ft3 = 736.5 kips
Wedge Soil Weight, Wws
Wws = VW s
Wws = 2810.8 ft3 120 lb/ft3 = 337.3 kips
Total Soil Weight, WT
WT = Wws + Ws
WT = 337.3 kips + 736.5 kips = 1073.8 kips
4. Determine the total resisting moment, MR.
MR = (Wc + WT + FZ) R1
MR = (1,449.0 kips + 1073.8 kips + 497.0 kips) 25.0 ft
MR = 75,495 ft kips
5. Calculate the total overturning moment for the extreme conditions, MOE.
MOE = Mxy + Fxy(hb + hc + hp)
MOE = 36,587.2 ft kips + 163 kips (1.83 ft + 3.75 ft + 4.0ft)
MOE = 38,148.7 ft kips
MOO = Mxy + Fxy (hb + hc + hp)
MOO = 11,300ft kips + 45.0 kips (1.83 ft + 3.75 ft + 4.0 ft)
MOO = 11,731.1 ft kips
6. Determine the factor of safety against overturning.
FS = MR / MOE
FS = (75,495 ft kips) / (38,148.7 ft kips) = 1.98
1.98 > 1.5
Foundation Design Passes Overturning Check
Summary of steps to check foundation overturning:
1. Determine geometry, properties, and extreme
loads of the system
2. Determine the volume and weight of concrete
that will be installed
3. Determine Soil Dead Load
4. Determine the total resisting moment, MR

5. Determine the total overturning moment, MOE


6. Determine the factor of safety against
overturning

Buoyancy Calculation
Two changes take place when the water table is above
the base of the foundation. First, an uplift force from the
water pressure occurs at the base of the foundation.
Second, if the water table is above the upper edge of the
foundation base, the soil above the foundation, below
the water table, becomes saturated.
The uplift force due to the water pressure can be calculated with Equation 8.

FH2O = w hw Afoundation

[8]

where:
FH O = uplift force due to water pressure
2
w = unit weight of water
hw = height of water above foundation base
Afoundation = area of foundation footprint
The moment the uplift force creates about the edge of
the foundation must be subtracted from the total resisting moment (MR) previously calculated.
In the scenario that the water table is above the upper
edge of the foundation base, the weight of the overlying
soil must be recalculated using the saturated unit weight.
3.3.2 Rotational Stiffness
There are several types of foundation stiffness checks.
However, rotational stiffness is almost always the design
controlling stiffness parameter, and is often the overall
design controlling parameter. Vertical, horizontal, and
torsional stiffness rarely control the design. The turbine
manufacture provides a nominal minimum value of rotational stiffness that is required in the foundation design.
Foundation rotational stiffness is defined as the ratio of
the applied moment to the foundations angular rotation
in radians as shown below.
k M/
where:
k = rotational stiffness
M = applied moment
= rotation in radians
For a rigid circular foundation resting on an elastic halfspace and subjected to rocking motion, Richart et al.
(1978) provides Equation 9 for rotational stiffness.

k = 8GR3 / 3(1-v) = M/

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[9]

Wind Turbine Foundation Design


Modulus reduction = G / Gmax

where:
G = shear modulus
R = foundation radius
v = Poisson's ratio
It is important to note there are two key soil parameters
needed for a stiffness check, Poissons ratio (v), and
shear modulus (G). Poissons ratio is usually estimated
based on the type of soil and details in the geotechnical report. Figure 10 from Tinjum and Christensen, 2010
shows commonly used values for Poissons ratio. In unsaturated soils, Poissons ratio can be determined from
equation:
v = [0.5(Vp Vs) -1] / [(Vp Vs) - 1]
where
Vp = compression wave velocity
Vs = shear wave velocity
v = poisson's ratio
There are empirical correlations in
DNV Riso, 2002 from
which you can obtain shear modulus
(G) values. However,
in current US based
practice the shear
modulus is often determined from testing such as cone Figure 10: Commonly used values for
penetrometer testing
Poisson's Ration by soil type from
(CPT), seismic testTinjum and Christensen, 2010
ing, or surface geophysical testing. Through these test, the shear wave velocity (Vs) can be obtained. Once the shear wave velocity
is obtained, the maximum shear modulus (Gmax) can be
calculated with the following equation.

Gmax = Vs2 = E / [2(1 + v)]

where:
G = reduced shear modulus
Gmax = nonreduced modulus
Figure 12 shows the
variation of modulus
reduction factors for
normally
consolidated soil based on
plasticity index (PI)
and granular soil as
a function of cyclic
shear strain (after
Sykora et al. 1992
and Vucetic and Dobry, 1991).
It is recommended
Figure 11: Common values for shear
by DNV Riso, 2002
wave velocity (Vs) are shown in Figure
to assume a cyclic 3.6 from Tinjum and Christensen, 2010
shear strain value of
0.1% for wind turbine foundation stiffness calculations.
DNV Riso, 2002 also gives recommended cyclic shear
strain values for rotating machines, wind and ocean
waves, and earthquakes. These ranges can be seen
shaded on Figure 12.
The reduced shear modulus obtained from Figure 12 is
to be used in the rotational stiffness calculation.

[10]

where:
= soil density
Vs = shear wave velocity
E = modulus of elasticity
Common values for shear wave velocity (Vs) are shown in
Figure 11 from Tinjum and Christensen, 2010.
Because soil behaves with a non-linear response to
stress, the shear modulus obtained from the previous
equation needs to be reduced by a reduction factor. The
modulus reduction factor is a function of cyclic shear
strain (c), and can be defined as the ratio of the reduced
shear modulus to the unreduced maximum shear modulus as shown below.

Figure 12: Variation of modulus reduction factors for


normally consolidated soil based on plasticity index,
PI and granular soil as a function of cyclic shear strain
(after Sykora et al. 1992 and Vucetic and Dobry, 1991)

The equations to evaluate foundation stiffness for an


embedded foundation on a medium above bedrock are
shown in Figure 13 from DNV Riso, 2002. These equations are modified in DNV Riso, 2002 for other geotechnical conditions including foundation, which are not
embedded, placed on soil over bedrock or a two layer
infinite half-space. The equation to calculate rotational
stiffness for an embedded foundation on soil over bedrock is shown below.

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Example 3.3.2 Design Check Rotational Stiffness
A wind turbine is to be constructed where the soil profile
is a very uniform, poorly graded sand where the bedrock
is generally at depths of 200 ft and deeper. The subsurface profile for this location is shown in Figure 14.

Figure 13: Equations to evaluate foundation stiffness for an


embedded foundation on a medium above bedrock
from DNV/Riso 2002

Embedded Foundation with Soil Over Bedrock


k = (8GR3 / 3(1 - v))(1 + R/6H)(1 + 2D/R)(1 + 0.7 D/H) [11]
where:
H = depth to bedrock
d = depth of embedment
R = foundation radius
range of validity: DR < 2 and DH <
If the bedrock is located 200 feet or deeper below the
surface the (1 + R/6H) and (1 + 0.7 D/H) terms can be ignored in the above equation.
Maximum Foundation Inclination
The maximum inclination that the foundation will encounter can be determined once the rotational stiffness of the
system is determined. From the definition of rotational
stiffness along with the maximum applied moment, the
rotation in radians can be determined by rearranging the
definition of rotational stiffness as seen below.

= M / k

[12]

where:
k = rotational stiffness
M = applied moment
= rotation in radians
Using geometry the maximum deflection of the edge of
the foundation can be determined.

Figure 14: Subsurface profile for example problem 3.3.2

The turbine load document includes the following design


loads:
M = 45,000 ft-kips

K(min) = 33 GNm/rad
For a preliminary design of a foundation equivalent diameter of 48.0 ft and an embedment depth of 8.0 ft, answer the following:
a. What is the available rotational stiffness?
b. Does the rotational stiffness meet the minimum
requirements provided by the manufacturer?
c. What is the maximum displacement at the out
edge of the foundation?
1. Select appropriate approach. For this scenario of a
circular footing embedded in stratum over bedrock, the

11 Wind Energy Site Design and Construction James M. Tinjum


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Equation 11 from Figure 13 should be used.
k = (8GR3 / 3(1 - v))(1 + R/6H)(1 + 2D/R)(1 + 0.7 D/H)
where:
G = reduced shear modulus
R = foundation radius
v = Poisson's Raio
H = depth to bedrock
D = embedment depth
Because the bedrock is located at 200 feet or deeper
below the surface the (1 + R/6H) and (1 + 0.7 D/H) terms
can be ignored.
2. Estimate Poissons ratio based off of the soil description and soil profile.

Figure 15: Determination of correct modulus reduction factor


from given soil information for example 3.3.2

For a poorly graded sand a Poissons ratio of v = 0.35 is


a reasonable approximation.

H = 200 ft
D = 8.0 ft

3. Determine a shear wave velocity, Vs from the soil profile.


The effective zone for a foundation maybe considered to
be the foundation diameter divided by two. Thus, only
the first 24 ft. of the soil profile below the base should
be evaluated for shear wave velocity. A conservative estimate of shear wave velocity, Vs = 150 m/s or 492 ft/s,
should be used.

K = [8(259.4 ksf)(24.0 ft)3 / (3(1 - 0.35)] (1 + 2(8.0 ft)/(24.0 ft))


K = 24,519,286 kip ft rad or 33.24 GN mrad
7. Does the available rotational stiffness meet the design
requirements?
33.24 GN mrad > 33 GN mrad
Design Passes Rotational Stiffness Check

4. Calculate the maximum shear modulus, Gmax though


the correlation with shear velocity and soil density.

8. Determine the maximum displacement of the outer


edge of the foundation.

Moist/Wet Loose Poorly Grade Sand (SP) has a unit


weight of approximately 115 pcf.

K M /

Gmax = Vs

Gmax = [(115 pcf) / (32.2 fts2 )] (492 ft/s)2 = 864.5 ksf


5. Determine the correct modulus reduction factor from
the given soil information and reduce the shear modulus.
This is shown in Figure 15.
G Gmax = 0.3
G = Gmax G Gmax
G = 864.5 ksf 0.3 = 259.4 ksf
6. Enter all the known parameters into the stiffness equation and calculate the available rotational stiffness.
G = 259.4 ksf
R = 24.0 ft
v = 0.35

where:
K = rotational stiffness
M = applied moment
= rotation in radians
= M / K
= (45,000 ft kips) / (24,519,286 kip ftrad)
= 0.001835 radians
Once the maximum rotation is known, the maximum vertical displacement of the out edge of the foundation can
be determined.
vert disp = R sin
vert disp = 24 ft sin (0.001835 rad) = 0.044 ft or 0.528 in
Summary of steps to check foundation stiffness:
1. Select appropriate approach.
2. Estimate Poissons ratio based off of the soil description and soil profile.

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3. Determine a shear wave velocity, Vs from the soil
profile.
4. Calculate the maximum shear modulus, Gmax
though the correlation with shear velocity and soil
density.
5. Determine the correct modulus reduction factor
from the given soil information and reduce the shear
modulus.
6. Enter all the known parameters into the stiffness
equation and calculate the available rotational stiffness.
7. Check if the available rotational stiffness meets
the design requirements.
8. Determine the maximum displacement of the outer edge of the foundation.
3.3.3 Bearing Capacity
When calculating a soils ultimate bearing capacity the
engineer must determine whether the soil condition will
be drained or undrained. Because it cannot often be assumed that a soil will remain in the drained condition for
the life of the wind turbine or wind turbine foundation,
the more conservative undrained bearing capacity calculation is most often used in wind turbine foundation
design.
It is noted that in the case of extreme eccentric loading, e > 0.3B, where B is the diameter of the foundation,
an additional bearing capacity calculation needs to be
evaluated. If extreme eccentricity is present, there is a
possibility of failure according to rupture 2 in Figure 16. A
rupture 2 failure indicates failure of the soil under the unloaded part of the foundation as well as the loaded area

(DNV Riso 2002). Although there are additional calculations to evaluate the stability of a system with extreme
eccentricity, other design checks will often show that the
size of the foundation needs to be increased to a point
that extreme eccentricity no longer exist.
Fully Drained Bearing Capacity
Assuming that the wind turbine foundation is not extremely eccentric and the potential failure would occur
along rupture 1 in Figure 16, Equation 13 can be used to
evaluate the drained bearing capacity. Equation 13 is the
general form of the ultimate bearing capacity equation
with a few adjustments for the shape and inclination of a
shallow octagonal wind turbine foundation.
q = ' beff N S i + Nq Sq iq Po + cd Nc Sc ic [13]
where:
q = ultimate foundation bearing capcity
' = effective (submerged) unit weight of soil
beff = width of rectangle
N, Nq, Nc = bearing capacity factors,which depend
on the soil effective friction angle
S, Sq, Sc = shape influence factors
i, iq, ic = inclination influence factors
cd = effective cohesion of supporting soil
The three terms on the right hand side of Equation 13
represent the contribution to soil weight, overburden
pressure, and cohesion. The bearing capacity factors
may be found in charts or tables in text books or manuals or may be computed by a variety of equations or
charts in foundation engineering textbooks or manuals.
In practice, Equation 13 is rarely applied in its complete
form (Tinjum and Christensen, 2010). The more commonly used forms are:
For Granular Soil:

q = ' beff N S i + Nq Sq iq Po

[14]

For Cohesive Soil:

q = cd Nc Sc ic + Po

[15]

The shape and inclination factors, for shallow octagonal wind turbine foundations on fully drained soil, can be
determined with the following equations from DNV Riso
2002.

S = 1 - 0.4 (beff / leff)

[16]

Sq = Sc = 1 + 0.2 (beff / leff)

[17]

iq = ic = [1 - Hd / (Vd + Aeff cd cotd)]2 [18]


Figure 16: Bearing capacity failure planes for normal
(rupture 1) and extreme eccentricity (rupture 2) failure

i = iq2

13 Wind Energy Site Design and Construction James M. Tinjum


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[19]

Wind Turbine Foundation Design


Undrained Bearing Capacity
Again assuming the foundation is not experiencing extremely eccentric loading, and potential failure would
occur along rupture 1 of Figure 16, Equation 20 can be
used to determine the ultimate bearing capacity for a
shallow octagonal wind turbine foundation on undrained
soil conditions.

q = s NcScic0 + P0

[20]

where:
q = ultimate foundation bearing capcity
s = undrained shear strength
Nc = shear strength bearing capacity factor, Nc = + 2
Sc = shape factor
ic0 = inclination factor
P0 = effective overburden stress
The shape and inclination factors, for shallow octagonal wind turbine foundations on undrained soil, can be
determined with the following equations from DNV Riso
2002.

Sc = 1 + 0.2 (beff / leff)

[21]

ic = 0.5 + 0.5(1 - H / AeffS)

[22]

Upon making the appropriate substitutions into the bearing capacity equation it transforms into the following.
[23]
q = sNc(1 + 0.2 beff / leff)(0.5 + 0.5[1- (H /(AeffS)] + P0)

1. Determine the bearing capacity factor, the shape factor, the inclination factor, and the effective overburden
pressure.
Bearing Capacity Factor, Nc = + 2
Shape Factor, Sc
Sc = 1 + 0.2 (beff / leff) = 1 + 0.2 [(6.45 m) / (12.8 m)] = 1.1
leff = 82.0 m [(12.1 m) / (6.1 m)] = 12.8 m
beff = [(12.8 m) / (12.1 m)] 6.1 m = 6.45 m
Inclination Factor, ic
ic = 0.5 + 0.5 (1-H'/AeffS)
ic = 0.5 + 0.5 1-(9,640.5 kN) / [(51.5 m2)(240 kPa)]
ic = 0.73

2. Determine the effective overburden pressure.
P0 = -
where:
= hsoilsoil
= hwaterwater
P0 = (2 m 18.5 kN m3) - (0.5 m 9.8 kN m3) = 32.1 kPa
3. Determine the ultimate bearing capacity of the soil.

Factor of Safety for Bearing Capacity


The ultimate bearing capacity represents the capacity at
which the soil will fail. In wind turbine foundation design,
a factor of safety equal to 2.25 is used to obtain an allowable bearing capacity.

q = sNcScic + P0

q = 240 kPa ( + 2) 1.1 0.73 + 32.1 kPa = 1023.0 kPa

qall = q / FS

Max pressure = max vertical load /Aeff

[24]

where:
qall = allowable bearing capacity
q = ultimate bearing capacity
FS = factor of safety for bearing capacity, 2.25
Example 3.3.3 Design Check
Undrained Bearing Capacity
Determine the ultimate and allowable bearing capacity
for a site with an average undrained shear strength, s =
240 kPa, a soil unit weight of 18.5 kN/m3, a foundation
embedment depth of 2 m, and a water table 0.5 m above
the base of the foundation.
Is the site suitable for construction of a wind turbine with
a maximum vertical load of 18,000 kN (inclusive of foundation weight) and an equivalent dimensions, effective
area, horizontal load, and overturning moment as Example 3.2.1.

4. Determine the maximum overburden pressure.

Max pressure = (18,000 kN) / (51.5 m2) = 349.5 kPa


5. Check if the maximum overburden pressure is greater
than the allowable bearing capacity.
349.5 kPa < 454.7 kPa
Design Passes Bearing Capacity Check
Summary of steps to check foundation bearing capacity:

1. Determine the bearing capacity factor, the shape
factor, the inclination factor, and the effective overburden pressure

2. Determine the effective overburden pressure

3. Determine the ultimate bearing capacity of the soil

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Wind Turbine Foundation Design


4. Determine the allowable bearing capacity of the soil
5. Determine the maximum overburden pressure
6. Check if the maximum overburden pressure is
greater than the allowable bearing capacity
3.3.4 Sliding
Due to the large horizontal wind load that is applied to
the wind turbine and tower, sliding resistance must be
investigated to ensure sliding will not occur. The frictional resisting force (Fs), must be greater than the horizontal
force by a factor of at least 1.5. This is a conservative
calculation because the later earth pressure on the sides
of the embedded foundation greatly reduces any chance
of foundation sliding.
To determine the frictional resisting force, the sum of the
vertical loads is multiplied by the frictional coefficient.
The frictional coefficient can be obtained from Equation 25. The equations to calculate the frictional resisting force and factory of safety against sliding are shown
below as Equation 26 and 27.

= tan

[25]

where:
= frictional coefficient
= interfacial friction angle of disimilar materials

Fs = (Wconcrete + Wsoil + Fz)

[26]

where:
Fs = frictional resisting force
= frictional coefficient
Wc = weight of concrete
Ws = weight of overlying soil
Fz = vertical or axial load

FS against sliding = Fs / FH

[27]

where:
Fs = frictional resisting force
FH = horizontal wind load corrected for mechnical
torque
Example 3.3.4 Design Check Foundation sliding
Using the known parameters from the previous example
problems and an interfacial friction angle of 20 degrees,
determine the factor of safety against sliding.

FRF = 1,087.0 kips


FH = 509 kips
FS against sliding = 1,087.0 kips / 509 kips = 2.14
2.14 > 1.5
Foundation Design Passes Sliding Check
3.3.5 Settlement
In the case of wind turbine foundations, settlement can
occur as a result of compression of the underlying soil.
Given the magnitude of the vertical loads from the wind
turbines and the typical size of the spread footings, the
contact pressure from vertical loads is quite low; typically in the range of 50 to 75 kPa. Most soil profiles that
have adequate bearing capacity and stiffness will settle
less than 2.5 cm (Tinjum and Christensen, 2010).
Foundation Settlement Analysis
There are several methods available to calculate foundation settlement. For cohesive soils, consolidation
settlement is utilized. This type of settlement calculation
relies on laboratory test of undisturbed soil samples to
obtain the compression index (Cc) and recompression
index (CR) of the soil. The classical method of calculating consolidation settlement is described in the following
section of this design chapter. For granular soils, wind
turbine foundation settlement is often calculated using
the Schmermann at al. (1978) procedure or some other
form of elastic analysis. Elastic settlement calculations
relies on a variety of geotechnical parameters including
SPT blow counts (N), CPT tip resistance (qc), strain influence factor, Poissons ratio (v), unconfined compressive
strength (qu), constrained modulus (M), and the modulus
of elasticity (E). The Schmermann method of calculating
granular soil settlement is described later in this section.
Other than the elastic half-space analysis, the methods
are incremental, allowing the compressibility of the soil
layers within the zone of influence of the foundation to
be incorporated into the analysis. The downside of conventional settlement analysis for shallow octagonal wind
turbine foundation design, is that the size of the foundation influences the soil profile to a considerable depth,
and even small strains summed over large depths can
result in what may appear to be unacceptable settlements. Cutting off the computations at depths where
the stress increases is 10 to 20 percent of the overburden pressure generally solves the problem (Tinjum and
Christensen, 2010).

= tan
= tan20 = 0.36
Frictional Resisting Force, FRF = (Wconcrete + Wsoil + FZ)
FRF = 0.36 (1,449.0 kips + 1,073.8 kips + 497 kips)

On most wind energy projects, the elastic properties of


the soil are measured at small strain, either by CPT or
surface methods. By properly reducing the small strain
values obtained by the field measurements, settlements
could be computed using elastic methods. A reduction
of the small strain values on the order of 6 percent is

15 Wind Energy Site Design and Construction James M. Tinjum


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Wind Turbine Foundation Design


recommended for use in settlement calculations (Tinjum
and Christensen, 2010).
The Classical Method Lab Testing (Conduto, 2010)
The classical method of foundation settlement analysis
uses Terzaghis theory of consolidation and the compression index (Cc) and recompression index (Cr) data
from laboratory testing. In this method it is assumed that
all settlement is one-dimensional and all of the strain is
vertical. This method divides the soil beneath the footing into layers, computes the settlement of each layer,
and then sums the settlement of the all layers for the
total foundation settlement. To obtain a high degree of
accuracy, the soil layers closest to the surface are the
thinnest and progressively get thicker as they get farther
from the surface. To obtain the highest degree of accuracy, thin layers throughout the computation are used. Using computer analysis greatly simplifies the settlement
computation for numerous thin layers.
When computing settlement for a spread footing, such
as a shallow octagonal gravity base wind turbine foundation, the octagonal foundation is simplified to a circle
for calculation. Furthermore, a rigidity factor (r), must be
added into the consolidation settlement equations. The
rigidity factor used for octagonal gravity base foundations is equal to 0.85 implying a perfectly rigid spread
footing. The settlement equations for normally consolidated and overconsolidated soil with the rigidity factor
are shown as Equations 28 through 30.
Settlement equations for normally consolidated soils
('z0 'c)

c = r [Cc / (1 + e0)] Hlog [('zf) / ('z0)] [28]


For overconsolidated soil Case I ('zf < 'c)

c = r [Cr / (1 + e0)] Hlog [('zf) / ('z0)] [29]


For overconsolidated soil Case II ('z0 < 'c < 'zf)

Cr
'zf
'zf
Cc
___
____
___
c = r ____
1 + e0 Hlog ( 'z0 ) + 1 + e0 Hlog ( 'z0 ) [30]

where:
c = ultimate consolidation settlement
r = rigidity factor (0.85 for octagonal gravity
base foundations)
Cc = compression index
Cr = recompression index
e0 = initial void ratio
H = thicknes of soil layer
'z0 = initial vertical effective stress at midpoint
of soil layer
'zf = final vertical effective stress at midpoint
of soil layer
'c = preconsolidation stress at midpoint of soil layer

The compression index, recompression index, and preconsolidation stress should be provided with the soil
data in the geotechnical report and preliminary foundation design. The initial and final vertical effective stresses
can be calculated using the Equations 31 and 32.
If the compression index, recompression index, and the
preconsolidation stress are not provided in the geotechnical report, they can be acquired from the geotechnical
lab testing information and procedures described in detail in geotechnical engineering manuals and textbooks.
Initial Vertical Effective Stress

'z0 = H -

[31]

where:
= unit weight of soil stratum
H = thickness of soil stratum
= pore water pressure
Final Vertical Effective Stress

'zf = 'z0+ z

[32]

where:
'z0 = initial vertical effective stress at midpoint
of soil layer
z = induced vertical stess due to load from
foundation
Induced Vertical Effective Stress

z = I (q - 'zD)

[33]

where:
z = induced vertical stess
I = stress influence factor
q = bearing pressure along bottom of foundation
'zD = vertical effective stress at a depth D below
the ground surface
Induced Vertical Stress
The induced vertical stress for shallow foundations can
be determined several ways, either by the Boussinesq
method, the Westergaard method, or by the simplified
method which produces induced vertical stress values
within 5 percent of the Boussinesq values. Both the
Boussinesq and simplified method for determining induced vertical stress are covered in this chapter.
Boussinesq Method for Determining
Induced Vertical Stress
The bearing pressure along the bottom of the foundation
(q), reflects the vertical stress from the structure on the
foundation and the weight of the foundation. The vertical
effective stress ('zD), represents the reduction in vertical
stress from the soil removed for excavation and installation of the foundation. In the case of with turbine foun-

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Wind Turbine Foundation Design


dation design, 'zD would be determined for a depth (D),
equivalent to the embedment depth of the foundation.
The induced vertical stress (z), represents the net result of the two effects.
Immediately below the foundation, the stress influence
factor (I), is equal to 1. However, as depth beneath the
foundation increases, the vertical stress is distributed
over an increasingly large area. Because of this, the induced vertical stress (z) and stress influence factor (I)
decrease with depth.
In 1885, Joseph Valentin Boussinesq a French physicist
and mathematician developed a classic solution for the
induced vertical stress in an elastic material due to an
applied load. This classic solution was later integrated by
Nathan Mortimore Newmark in 1935 to produce equations for the stress influence factor beneath a foundation
as a function of the foundations geometry and depth to
the point of interest. These equations have been used to
create stress bulb charts to determine the stress influence factor and can be seen in Figure 17.
Simplified Method for
Determining Induced Vertical Stress
The Boussinesq equations used to create the stress bulb
charts shown in Figure 17 are tedious to solve by hand.
Because of this, the simplified method for determining
induced vertical stress has been created for use when a
quick answer is needed or when a computer is not available. For shallow octagonal wind turbine foundations
approximated to a circle, Equation 34 adapted from
Poulos and Davis 1974, offers a simplified approach to
the induced vertical stress calculation.

For circular foundations (adapted from Poulos and[34]


Davis 1974)

[ (

1
z = 1- _________
2
B
______
1+

2zf

1.5

(q -'zD )

where:
'zD = vertical effective stress at a depth D below
the ground surface
zf = vertical distance from the bottom of the
foundation to the point of interest
q = bearing pressure
B = diameter of foundation
Using the above equations, the total foundation settlement can be determined using the classical method and
Equations 28, 29, or 30. The total foundation settlement
can be compared to the allowable settlement and the
design can be checked for settlement.
Example 3.3.4 Design Check
Foundation Settlement Classical Method
The allowable settlement for the shallow octagonal
spread wind turbine foundation described in Example
3.3.1 is 1 inch. Using the classical method and a simplified soil layer division, compute the settlement of the
foundation and determine if it satisfies the allowable
settlement requirement. Information from geotechnical
report and preliminary design:
Embedment depth = 9 ft
Soil is Overconsolidated - Case I
= 115 pcf-Silty Clay
Depth to water table = 20 ft
'c (psf) = 5,000 psf
Cc / (1 + e0) = 0.11; Cr / (1 + e0) = 0.015

Figure 17: Stress bulbs based on Newarks solution of


Boussinesqs equation for square and continuous footings

17 Wind Energy Site Design and Construction James M. Tinjum


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Wind Turbine Foundation Design


Solution
Fz = 497 kips

(qc) data, the equivalent modulus of elasticity (Es) of the


soil, and the strain influence factor (I). The analysis can
be adapted to use other in-situ geotechnical parameters
other than CPT data including standard penetration test
(SPT), dilatometer test (DMT), and pressuremeter test
(PMT) data.

Weight of Concrete
Wc = Vc 150 lb/ft3
Wc = 9,659.8 ft3 150 lbsft3 = 1,449.0 kips

The Schmertmann method uses an equivalent modulus


of elasticity (Es) for settlement calculation. Because the
equivalent modulus of elasticity is a linear function, it
simplifies the settlement computation when compared
to the classical method that uses the compression index
(Cc) and recompression index (CR), which are logarithmic
parameters.

Total Soil Weight, WT


WT = Wws + Ws
WT = 337.3 kips + 736.5 kips = 1073.8 kips
q = [(Fz + Wsoil + Wc) / A]
q = [(497 kips + 1,073.8 kips + 1,449.0 kips)] / (25 ft)2
q = 1,539.0 psf
'zD = D = 115 pcf 9 ft = 1,035.0 psf
'zf = 'z0 + z
'z0 = H -

[ (

1
z = 1- _________
2
______
B
1+

2zf

1.5

(q -'zD)

r
zf
___
Total Settlment c = r ____
1 + e0 Hlog ( 'z0 )

'

Layer
No.

H
(ft)

zf
(ft)

'zo
(psf)

'z
(psf)

'zf
(psf)

'c
(psf)

Case

Soil behaves with a non-linear response to stress. Because the response is non-linear (stress is not proportional to strain), the modulus of elasticity cannot be used
in computation; the equivalent modulus of elasticity
must be used. The Equivalent modulus of elasticity represents a modulus that is equivalent to an unconfined
linear material such that the computed settlement will be
the same as the actual soil settlement. The equivalent
modulus of elasticity (Es) represents the lateral stain in
the soil and thus is larger than the modulus of elasticity
(E), but smaller than the confined modulus (M).
Determining Equivalent Modulus of Elasticity (Es)
from CPT Tip Resistance
Cone penetrometer tests (CPT) provide continuous tip
resistance data for the entire depth of the CPT analysis.
Empirical correlations between the equivalent modulus
of elasticity (Es) and the cone tip resistance (qc) have
been developed. A range of recommended design values of Es / qc are shown in Figure
18 adapted from Schmertmann, et
Cc
Cr
c
al. (1978) and Robertson and Com1 + e0 1 + e0
(in)
panella (1989). When applying CPT
0.11 0.015 0.25
data to the Schmertmann method,
0.11 0.015 0.32
do not apply an overburden correc0.11 0.015 0.26
tion to the cone tip resistance (qc).

2.5

1322.5

1206.317

2528.817

NA

OC-I

10

10

2185

1108.938

3293.938

NA

OC-I

15

22.5

2904.9

726.7606

3631.661

NA

OC-I

20

40

3825.4

361.8914

4187.291

NA

OC-I

0.11

0.015

0.14

25

62.5

5008.9

174.6722

5183.572

NA

OC-I

0.11

0.015

0.07

Because the soil is overconsolidated case 1, there is no


need to compute 'c or Cc / (1 + e0).

Strain Influence Factor


In shallow spread footings, the
Total
0.89
greatest vertical strains do not occur immediately below the footing.
As determined by Schmertmann, the greatest strain
occurs at a depth equal to B, where B is the width

c allowable
The settlement criterion has been satisfied
The Schmertmann Method
Field Testing (Conduto, 2010)
The Schmertmann method is one of the more common
methods for calculating foundation settlement in granular soils. The method is based on a physical model that
is calibrated using empirical data. This method of settlement analysis relies primarily on CPT cone resistance

Figure 18: Es Values from CPT Results


[Adapted from Schmertmann, et al. (1978)
and Robertson and Campanella (1989)]

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Wind Turbine Foundation Design


or diameter of the footing. This distribution of strain is
described by the strain influence factor (I). For shallow
octagonal wind turbine foundations, the distribution of
the strain influence factor is shown as two straight lines
in Figure 19. The peak value of the strain influence factor
(Ip) can be calculated with Equation 35.

Ip = 0.5 + 0.1 [(q - 'zD) / ('zp )]

[35]

where:
Ip = peak strain influence factor
q = bearing pressure
'zD = vertical effective stress at a depth D below
the ground surface
'zp = initial vertical effective stress at depth of
peak strain influence factor

The Schmertmann settlement analysis method accounts


for empirical corrections for the depth of embedment,
secondary creep in the soil, and the shape of the foundation footing. These corrections are implemented through
the factors C1, C2, and C3. The equations for the empirical corrections are shown as Equations 38 and 39.
Depth Factor C1 = (1 - 0.5)[('zD) / (q - 'zD)] [38]
Secondary Creep Factor C2 = 1 + 0.2 log(t / 0.1) [39]
Shape Factor C3 = 1 for square and circular foundations
where:
q = bearing pressure
'zD = vertical effective stress at a depth D below
the ground surface
t = time since application of load in years, t 0.1 yr
The above equations are applicable for all consistent
units with the exception that time must remain in years.
If the time since load application is unknown use t = 50
years, C2 = 1.54.
All of the previous information can be combined into
Equation 40 to determine the elastic settlement of a
shallow octagonal wind turbine foundation.

= C1C2C3(q - 'zD) (IH / Es)


Figure 19: Distribution of strain influence factor with depth under
square and continuous footings (Adapted from Schmertmann (1978)

Compute 'zp at depth of D + B2 for square and circular


foundations.
The exact value of I, for square and circular foundations,
at any given depth can be determined using Equations
36 and 37. When dividing the soil strata into layers, be
sure to divide it in a manner that the depth from the bottom of the foundation to the midpoints of the layers work
for the below zf conditions and equations.
For zf = 0 to 2:
B

I = 0.1 + [(zf / B)(2Ip - 0.2)]

where:
C1 = depth factor
C2 = secondary creep factor
C3 = shape factor
q = bearing pressure
'zD = vertical effective stress at a depth D below
the ground surface
I = strain influence factor
H = thickness of soil layer
Es = equivalent modulus of elasticity
Summary of Steps for Schmertmann Method of Settlement Analysis:
1. Obtain required in-situ test data that defines the
subsurface conditions

[36]

2. Divide the depth of influence, 2B for square and


circular footings, into zone layers and assign an
equivalent modulus of elasticity (Es) to each layer

[37]

3. Calculate the peak strain influence factor (Ip)

For zf = B2 to 2B:

I = 0.667 Ip [2 - (zf / B)]

[40]

where:
zf = depth from bottom of foundation to midpoint
of layer
I = strain influence factor
Ip = peak influence factor

4. Calculate the strain influence factor (I), at the midpoint of each layer
5. Calculate the correction factors, C1, C2, and C3
6. Calculate the settlement

19 Wind Energy Site Design and Construction James M. Tinjum


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Wind Turbine Foundation Design


Example 3.3.5 Design Check
Foundation Settlement Schmertmann Method
The allowable settlement for the shallow octagonal
spread wind turbine foundation described in Example
3.3.1 is 1 inch. Using the classical method and a simplified soil layer division, compute the settlement of the
foundation and determine if it satisfies the allowable settlement requirement.
Information from geotechnical report and preliminary design: the results of a CPT sounding performed at the location where a wind turbine is to be installed are shown
in Figure 20. The soils at this site are young, normally
consolidated sands with some interbedded silts.
Embedment depth = 9 ft
Soil is Overconsolidated - Case I
= 115 pcf - Silty Clay
Depth to water table = 20 ft
'c (psf) = 5,000 psf
Cc / (1 + e0) = 0.11
Cr / (1 + e0) = 0.015

Solution
Fz = 497.1 kips
Weight of Concrete
Wc = Vc 150 lb/ft3
Wc = 9,659.8 ft3 150 lbsft3 =1,449.0 kips
Total Soil Weight, WT
WT = Wws + Ws
WT = 337.3 kips + 736.5 kips = 1073.8 kips
q = (Fz + Wsoil + Wc) / A
q = (497 kips + 1,073.8 kips + 1,449.0 kips) / (25 ft)2
q = 1,538.0 psf
Using Es = 2.5 qc from Figure 18
Depth of influence = D + 2B = 9.0 ft + 2(41.4) = 91.8 ft
'zD = D = 115 pcf 9 ft = 1,035.0 psf
Compute 'zp at depth of D + B2 for square and circular
foundations.
'zp = (D + B2) - w (Hw)
'zp = 115 pcf (9 ft + 20.7 ft) - 62.4pcf (9 ft + 20.7 ft - 20ft)
'zp = 2,810.2 psf
Ip = 0.5 + 0.1[(q - 'zD) / 'zp]
Ip = 0.5 + 0.1 [(1,538.0 - 1,035.0) / 2,810.2 psf]
Ip = 0.57
For zf = 0 to B2:
I = 0.1 + [(zf / B)(2 Ip - 0.2)]
For zf = B2 to 2B:
I = 0.667 Ip [2 - (zf / B)]

Figure 20: Results from CPT sounding at wind turbine proposed


installation location for Example 3.35 Design Check Foundation Settlement Schmertmann Method

20 Wind Energy Site Design and Construction James M. Tinjum


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Wind Turbine Foundation Design


Depth Factor C1
C1 = 1 - 0.5[('zD) / (q - 'zD)]
C1 = 1 - 0.5[(1,035.0 psf) / (2,243.4 psf - 1,035.0 psf)] = 0.572
Secondary Creep Factor C2
C2 = 1 + 0.2 log(t / 0.1) = 1 + 0.2 log(50 / 0.1) = 1.54

Shape Factor C3 = 1 for square and circular foundations
= C1C2C3 (q - 'zD) (IH / Es)
= (0.572)(1.54)(1)(2,243.4 psf - 1,035.0 psf)(5.35E-03)

= 0.00404 feet = 0.58 inches


c allowable
The settlement criterion has been satisfied

The Simplified Schmertmann Method


If limited subsurface data is available or if the CPT results show a relatively uniform cone tip resistance (qc),
a constant equivalent modulus of elasticity (Es) can be
used to simplify the Schmertmann method of settlement
analysis. Equation 41 shows the simplified method of
Schmertmann settlement analysis.

= [(C1C2C3(q - 'zD)(Ip + 0.025)B] / Es [41]

where:
C1 = depth factor
C2 = secondary creep factor
C3 = shape factor
q = bearing pressure
'zD = vertical effective stress at a depth D below
the ground surface
Ip = peak influence factor
H = thickness of soil layer
Es = equivalent modulus of elasticity
Layer
No.

Depth
(ft)

zf
(ft)

qc
(psi)

Es
(psi)

Es
(psf)

H
(ft)

I H
Es

0 to 9

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

9 to 20

5.5

12.5

1800

0.224879

11

0.37E-03

20 to 40

21

14

35

5040

0.576812

20

2.29E-03

40 to 47

34.5

16

40

5760

0.443555

5.39E-04

47 to 52

40.5

22

55

7920

0.388455

2.45E-04

52 to 60

47

30

75

10800

0.328763

2.44E-04

60 to 79

60.5

18

45

6480

0.204788

19

6.00E-04

70 to 87

74

35

87.5

12600

0.080813

5.13E-05

87 to 92

80.5

40

100

14400

0.021122

7.33E-06

Sum

5.35E-03

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Wind Turbine Foundation Design

References
Conduto, D.P. Foundation Design Principles and Practices, 2nd Edition. Prentice Hall. 2010.
Det Norske Veritas. Guidelines for Design of Wind Turbinse. Ris National Laboratory, Copenhagen. 2002.
International Electrotechnical Commission. Wind Turbines-Part I: Design Requirements. International Standard 61400-1, 3rd Edition. 2005.
Morgan, K. and Ntambakwa, E. Wind Turbine Foundation Behavior and Design Considerations. AWEA
WINDPOWER Conference. Garrad Hssan America, Inc. June 2008.
Tinjum, J.M. and Chrsitensen, R.W. Site Geotechnical Characterization, Civil Design, and Construction
Considerations for Wind Energy Systems. 2010.

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