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Title: Fatigue and fracture mechanics of offshore wind turbine support structures
Author: Lozano Minguez, Estivaliz
ISNI:       0000 0004 5920 4235
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2015
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Wind power, especially offshore, is considered to be one of the most promising sources of ‘clean’ energy towards meeting the EU targets for 2020 and 2050. However, its popularity has always fluctuated with the price of fossil fuels since nowadays wind electricity production cannot compete with nuclear or coal electricity production. Support structures are thought to be one of the main drivers for reducing costs in order to make the wind industry more economically efficient. Foundations and towers should be fit for purpose, extending their effective service life but avoiding costs of oversizing. An exhaustive review of the background and state of the art of the Fatigue-Life assessment approaches has been carried out, combining analysis of the gathered experimental data and the development of Finite Element models based on contemporary 3D solid models with diverse Regression Analyses, in order to identify their weakness and evaluate their accuracy. This research shows that the guides and practices currently employed in the design and during the operation of the offshore wind turbine support structures are obsolete and not useful for optimisation, which generally leads to conservationism and an unnecessary increase in costs. The basis for a comprehensive update of the Girth Weld and Tubular Joint S-N curves and the Stress Concentration Factors of Tubular Joints has been set out. Furthermore, a reliable methodology for deriving the Stress Intensity Factor at the deepest point of a semi-elliptical surface saddle crack in a tubular welded T-joint has been proposed.
Supervisor: Brennan, Feargal ; Kolios, Athanasios Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Tubular joint ; Offshore wind support ; Stress concentration factor ; Stress intensity factor ; S-N curve ; Semi-elliptical crack ; Tubular joint weld profile