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Dynamic design considerations for offshore wind turbine jackets supported on multiple foundations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number102631
Number of pages20
JournalMarine Structures
Early online date23 May 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 8 May 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 23 May 2019
DatePublished - 1 Sep 2019


To support large wind turbines in deeper waters (30-60 m) jacket structures are currently being considered. As offshore wind turbines (OWT’s) are effectively a slender tower carrying a heavy rotating mass subjected to cyclic/dynamic loads, dynamic performance plays an important role in the overall design of the system. Dynamic performance dictates at least two limit states: Fatigue Limit State (FLS) and overall deformation in the Serviceability Limit State (SLS). It has been observed through scaled model tests that the first eigen frequency of vibration for OWTs supported on multiple shallow foundations (such as jackets on 3 or 4 suction caissons) corresponds to low frequency rocking modes of vibration. In the absence of adequate damping, if the forcing frequency of the rotor (so called 1P) is in close proximity to the natural frequency of the system, resonance may occur affecting the fatigue design life. A similar phenomenon commonly known as “ground resonance” is widely observed in helicopters (without dampers) where the rotor frequency can be very close to the overall frequency causing the helicopter to a possible collapse. This paper suggests that designers need to optimise the configuration of the jacket and choose the vertical stiffness of the foundation such that rocking modes of vibration are prevented. It is advisable to steer the jacket solution towards sway-bending mode as the first mode of vibration. Analytical solutions are developed to predict the eigen frequencies of jacket supported offshore wind turbines and validated using the finite element method. Effectively, two parameters govern the rocking frequency of a jacket: (a) ratio of super structure stiffness (essentially lateral stiffness of the tower and the jacket) to vertical stiffness of the foundation; (b) aspect ratio (ratio of base dimension to the tower dimension) of the jacket. A practical example considering a jacket supporting a 5MW turbine is considered to demonstrate the calculation procedure which can allow a designer to choose a foundation. It is anticipated that the results will have an impact in choosing foundations for jackets.

    Research areas

  • Offshore Wind Turbines, Jacket Structures, Natural Frequency, Rocking Mode of Vibration, Sway-Bending Mode of Vibration, Multiple Foundations



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    Embargo ends: 23/05/20

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    Licence: CC BY-NC-ND


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