Techno Press

Steel and Composite Structures   Volume 19, Number 5, November 2015, pages 1115-1144
Investigation of stiffening scheme effectiveness towards buckling stability enhancement in tubular steel wind turbine towers
Nafsika Stavridou, Evangelos Efthymiou, Simos Gerasimidis and Charalampos C. Baniotopoulos

Abstract     [Full Text]
    Current climate conditions along with advances in technology make further design and verification methods for structural strength and reliability of wind turbine towers imperative. Along with the growing interest for "green" energy, the wind energy sector has been developed tremendously the past decades. To this end, the improvement of wind turbine towers in terms of structural detailing and performance result in more efficient, durable and robust structures that facilitate their wider application, thus leading to energy harvesting increase. The wind tower industry is set to expand to greater heights than before and tapered steel towers with a circular cross-section are widely used as more capable of carrying heavier loads. The present study focuses on the improvement of the structural response of steel wind turbine towers, by means of internal stiffening. A thorough investigation of the contribution of stiffening rings to the overall structural behavior of the tower is being carried out. These stiffening rings are placed along the tower height to reduce local buckling phenomena, thus increasing the buckling strength of steel wind energy towers and leading the structure to a behavior closer to the one provided by the beam theory. Additionally to ring stiffeners, vertical stiffening schemes are studied to eliminate the presence of short wavelength buckles due to bending. For the purposes of this research, finite element analysis is applied in order to describe and predict in an accurate way the structural response of a model tower stiffened by internal stiffeners. Moreover, a parametric study is being performed in order to investigate the effect of the stiffeners' number to the functionality of the aforementioned stiffening systems and the improved structural behavior of the overall wind converter.
Key Words
    wind turbine tower; stiffening ring; numerical analysis; shell elements; stringer stiffeners
(1) Nafsika Stavridou, Evangelos Efthymiou, Simos Gerasimidis, Charalampos C. Baniotopoulos:
Department of Civil Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece;
(2) Simos Gerasimidis:
Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Columbia University, 500 West 120th Street, NY 10027, New York, USA;
(3) Charalampos C. Baniotopoulos:
School of Civil Engineering, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston Birmingham, B152TT, United Kingdom.

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