A multi-spring model for monopile analysis in soft clays
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- NGI articles 
Original versionMarine Structures, 72, #102768. DOI: 10.1016/j.marstruc.2020.102768
The offshore wind industry in China has seen a rapid development in recent years and is projected to account for half of global yearly installed capacity in the years to come. Monopiles are a popular foundation solution for supporting offshore wind turbines. However, due to challenging seabed soil conditions, which often feature thick normally consolidated soft clays and harsh environmental loading (i.e. frequent occurrence of typhoons), extremely long monopiles are often designed. The large monopiles are costly to fabricate and install and sometimes kills the viability of the concept in cases where the bedrock is relatively shallow and expensive piling in rock is otherwise required. However, the state-of-practice for designing these monopiles in clays is typically by using the API p-y springs, which are widely known to underestimate soil-pile interaction stiffness and capacity for large diameter monopiles. Improvement to the design method can therefore have significant economic implications to the industry. The paper presents an effort toward this direction. A multi-spring beam-column model suitable for monopile design in soil conditions in China is proposed. The model features three soil spring components, namely the lateral p-y spring, the pile tip base shear s-y spring and rotational m-θ springs along the pile shaft. The validity of the model is verified by a comprehensive suite finite element parametric analyses. Guidance for incorporating the cyclic loading effect into design is also provided. The model proposed in this paper has large potentials for application in design practice.