Assessment of Hydrodynamic Loads on an Offshore Monopile Structure Considering Hydroelasticity Effects

Regular and irregular waves were numerically generated in a wave canal to investigate hydrodynamic loads acting on a wind turbine monopile and to predict its structural response. The monopile was implemented in the canal and modeled as a flexible structure, with the turbine blades and rotors considered as a point mass situated at the top of the monopile. Fluid–structure interaction (FSI) simulations were performed by coupling a structure solver based on a finite element method (FEM) with an unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (URANS) equations solver of the finite volume method (FVM). The FSI simulations considered the two-way interaction between the deformable structure and the fluid flow. The URANS equations solver was coupled with the volume of fluid (VoF) method to account for the two-phase flow. In regular waves, numerically predicted total load coefficients occurring at the monopile’s first eigenfrequency compared favorably to experimental measurements. A deviation between calculations and measurements was observed for the total loads in irregular waves. This deviation occurred due to the smaller wave energy density of the numerically predicted irregular wave. Hydroelasticity effects increased wave-induced forces by about 6% and wave induced bending moments by about 16% in regular waves. A relatively strong whipping event was observed, which characterized the hydroelasticity response bending moment of the monopile in irregular long-crested waves. This whipping event also had a significant influence on the loads on the monopile. These investigations demonstrated the favorable use of FSI simulations to predict hydroelasticity effects on a monopile.


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