Investigation of convective patterns in soil foundations of offshore windfarms


The objective of this project is to establish long term cooperation between the Center of Geotechnical Research and BAM (Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, Germany) in the simulation of the response to cyclic loading of soil foundations of wind farms. 


Dr Fernando Alonso-Marroquin

Research Location

Civil Engineering

Program Type



Lateral loads produced by the wind and waves are transferred by the wind turbines to their foundation, and hence they affect their stability and service life. Discrete element simulations of cyclic loading will be compared to experiments of piles under cyclic lateral load on saturated beds of granular material. The key objectives of this collaboration are: (1) Use the in-house Discrete Element Model (DEM) of Morphological Dynamics  to simulate the cyclic loading response of a foundation of the structure, according to the small scale physical model of a monopile wind turbine developed in BAM.  (2) Investigate the underlying mechanics of the convective movement in the sand in the foundation around the supporting structure of wind farms. (3) Validate the DEM model by reproducing the pressure - displacement relation of the foundation of the physical model. (4) Establish the basis for large scale simulation of soil-structure interaction taking into account pore pressure effects.   The partners are involved with industry via Piling Contractors in Australia and the RAVE research initiative from the German Ministry of Environment to reduce the costs of installation offshore wind energy turbines.

Additional Information

The PhD candidate is expected to have demonstrated skills in numerical modeling and software programming, strong background in physics and mathematics, and express motivation in multi-physics approaches and rigorous validation of numerical simulations with experimental data.

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Wind energy, cyclic loading, discrete element models, soil-pile interaction

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1094

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