Verification of anchoring in foundations of wind turbine towers

N. Stavridou, E. Efthymiou, C.C. Baniotopoulos

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Tubular steel towers are the most common supporting structure of wind converters. The towers’ foundation covers an important part of the initial cost and its configuration depends heavily on the type of subsoil. Onshore structures are founded on spread footing foundations or pile foundations with the first being the commonest. In these spread footing foundations, the tower is either embedded in the concrete foundation slab or the tower bottom flange is anchored to the concrete by means of pretensioned bolts. This anchoring of the steel tower on the concrete foundation is very rarely analyzed separately and recent failures due to inadequate design have alerted the wind industry towards the solution of the problem. For the purposes of the analytical and numerical approaches, two alternative types of foundation dimensioning are investigated. The tower properties of the two configurations are the same, providing the same loading and material data. The analytical study of the foundation anchoring is performed with the use of the equivalent ring method and the numerical verification of the two foundation solutions is performed with the use of a detailed micro model. The same micro model is used for the calculation of the fatigue life of the tower bottom joint following the damage accumulation method. In both foundation solutions, the total cross sectional area of the anchor bolts is proved to be the decisive factor for the selection of bolt size and number. The size of the tower bottom diameter plays also an important role on the maximum number and size of bolts used. Both analytical and numerical results are in good agreement and valuable outcomes are emerging from the comparative study on the foundation dimensioning of contemporary structures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-729
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2015


  • Wind turbine tower
  • Numerical analysis
  • Anchorage
  • Foundation
  • Structural analysis


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