Effect of Stress Level on Response of Model Monopile to Cyclic Lateral Loading in Sand

I. A. Richards, M. F. Bransby, B. W. Byrne, C. Gaudin, G. T. Houlsby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Monopile foundations supporting offshore wind turbines are exposed to cyclic lateral loading, which can cause accumulated pile displacement or rotation and evolution of the dynamic response. To inform the development of improved design methods, the monopile's response to cyclic lateral loading has been explored through small-scale physical modeling at 1g and in the centrifuge, as well as at large-scale in the field. There are advantages and disadvantages to each physical modeling technique, and the response may be most efficiently explored through a combination of modeling techniques. However, stress levels vary significantly between these techniques, and only centrifuge testing can simulate full-scale stress levels. This paper explores the effect of stress level on the response of a monopile foundation in dry sand to monotonic, unidirectional cyclic and multidirectional cyclic lateral loading with small-scale tests at 1g and in the centrifuge at 9g and 80g. With an identical setup at each g-level, stress-level effects were isolated. Qualitatively, the responses are similar across the stress levels, but some important quantitative differences are revealed. In particular, the rate of accumulation of pile displacement and the rate of change of secant stiffness under cyclic loading are found to reduce with increasing stress level. The results highlight the need to simulate full-scale stress levels to thoroughly understand foundation behavior, but also demonstrate the qualitative insight that can be gained through 1g physical modeling. The data and trends presented in this paper provide input for the modeling of monopile responses at different stress levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04021002
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


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