The fatigue life of offshore wind turbines strongly depends on the dynamic behaviour of the structures including the underlying soil. To diminish dynamic amplification and avoid resonance, the eigenfrequency related to the lowest eigenmode of the wind turbine should not coalesce with excitation frequencies related to strong wind, wave and ice loading. Typically, lateral response of monopile foundations is analysed using a beam on a nonlinear Winkler foundation model with soil-pile interaction recommended by the design regulations. However, as it will be shown in this paper, the guideline approaches consequently underestimate the eigenfrequency compared to full-scale measurements. This discrepancy leads the authors to investigate the influence of pore water pressure by utilising a numerical approach and consider the soil medium as a two-phase system consisting of a solid skeleton and a single pore fluid. In the paper, free vibration tests are analysed to evaluate the eigenfrequencies of offshore monopile wind turbine foundations. Since the stiffness of foundation and subsoil strongly affects the modal parameters, the stiffness of saturated soil due to pore water flow generated by cyclic motion of monopiles is investigated using the concept of a Kelvin model. It is found that the permeability of the subsoil has strong influence on the stiffness of the wind turbine that may to some extent explain deviations between experimental and computational eigenfrequencies.
Computers and Geotechnics, 2014, Vol 61, Issue September 2014, p. 116-126