Wireless concrete strength monitoring of wind turbine foundations

Perry, Marcus and Fusiek, Grzegorz and Niewczas, Pawel and Rubert, Tim and McAlorum, Jack (2017) Wireless concrete strength monitoring of wind turbine foundations. Sensors, 17 (12). ISSN 1424-8220

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    Abstract

    Wind turbine foundations are typically cast in place, leaving the concrete to mature under environmental conditions that vary in time and space. As a result, there is uncertainty around the concrete’s initial performance, and this can encourage both costly over-design and inaccurate prognoses of structural health. Here, we demonstrate the field application of a dense, wireless thermocouple network to monitor the strength development of an onshore, reinforced-concrete wind turbine foundation. Up-to-date methods in fly ash concrete strength and maturity modelling are used to estimate the distribution and evolution of foundation strength over 29 days of curing. Strength estimates are verified by core samples, extracted from the foundation base. In addition, an artificial neural network, trained using temperature data, is exploited to estimate distributed concrete strengths using only sparse thermocouple data. Our techniques provide a practical alternative to computational models, and could assist site operators in making more informed decisions about foundation design, construction, operation and maintenance.