On the performance of monopile weldments under service loading conditions and fatigue damage prediction

Biswal, Romali and Al Mamun, Abdullah and Mehmanparast, Ali (2021) On the performance of monopile weldments under service loading conditions and fatigue damage prediction. Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, 44 (6). pp. 1469-1483. ISSN 8756-758X (https://doi.org/10.1111/ffe.13442)

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Thick weldments used in offshore structures frequently act as fatigue crack initiation sites due to stress concentration at weld toe as well as weld residual stress fields. This paper investigates the cyclic deformation behavior of S355 G10+M steel, which is predominantly used in offshore wind applications. Owing to the vast size difference of monopile structure and weld cross-section, a global–local finite element (FE) method was used, and the weld geometry was adopted from circumferential weld joints used in offshore wind turbine monopile foundations. Realistic service loads collected using supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and wave buoy techniques were used in the FE model. A nonlinear isotropic–kinematic hardening model was calibrated using the strain controlled cyclic deformation results obtained from base metal (BM) as well as cross-weld specimen tests. The tests revealed that the S355 G10+M BM and weld metal (WM) undergo continuous cyclic stress relaxation. Fatigue damage over a period of 20 years of operation was predicted using the local stress at the root of the weldments as the life limiting criterion. This study helps in quantifying the level of conservatism in the current monopile design approaches and has implications towards making wind energy more economic.