Seismic analysis of a tall metal wind turbine support tower with realistic geometric imperfections

Sadowski, A.J., Camara, A., Malaga-Chuquitaype, C. & Dai, K. (2017). Seismic analysis of a tall metal wind turbine support tower with realistic geometric imperfections. Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, 46(2), pp. 201-219. doi: 10.1002/eqe.2785

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Abstract

The global growth in wind energy suggests that wind farms will increasingly be deployed in seismically active regions, with large arrays of similarly designed structures potentially at risk of simultaneous failure under a major earthquake. Wind turbine support towers are often constructed as thin-walled metal shell structures, well known for their imperfection sensitivity, and are susceptible to sudden buckling failure under compressive axial loading.

This study presents a comprehensive analysis of the seismic response of a 1.5-MW wind turbine steel support tower modelled as a near-cylindrical shell structure with realistic axisymmetric weld depression imperfections. A selection of 20 representative earthquake ground motion records, 10 ‘near-fault’ and 10 ‘far-field’, was applied and the aggregate seismic response explored using lateral drifts and total plastic energy dissipation during the earthquake as structural demand parameters.

The tower was found to exhibit high stiffness, although global collapse may occur soon after the elastic limit is exceeded through the development of a highly unstable plastic hinge under seismic excitations. Realistic imperfections were found to have a significant effect on the intensities of ground accelerations at which damage initiates and on the failure location, but only a small effect on the vibration properties and the response prior to damage. Including vertical accelerations similarly had a limited effect on the elastic response, but potentially shifts the location of the plastic hinge to a more slender and, therefore, weaker part of the tower. The aggregate response was found to be significantly more damaging under near-fault earthquakes with pulse-like effects and large vertical accelerations than far-field earthquakes without these aspects.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Sadowski, A.J., Camara, A., Malaga-Chuquitaype, C. & Dai, K. (2017). Seismic analysis of a tall metal wind turbine support tower with realistic geometric imperfections. Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, 46(2), pp. 201-219, which has been published in final form at https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/eqe.2785. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords: thin metal shell structure; imperfection sensitivity; seismic response; multiple stripe analysis; near-fault ground motions; vertical ground acceleration
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Divisions: School of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences > Engineering
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/16726

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