A comparison of structural performance enhancement of horizontally and vertically stiffened tubular steel wind turbine towers

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Stiffeners can be utilised to enhance the strength of thin-walled wind turbine towers in engineering practise, thus, structural performance of wind turbine towers by means of different stiffening schemes should be compared to explore the optimal structural enhancement method. In this paper two alternative stiffening methods, employing horizontal or vertical stiffeners, for steel tubular wind turbine towers have been studied. In particular, two groups of three wind turbine towers of 50m, 150m and 250m in height, stiffened by horizontal rings and vertical strips respectively, were analysed by using FEM software of ABAQUS. For each height level tower, the mass of the stiffening rings is equal to that of vertical stiffeners each other. The maximum von Mises stresses and horizontal sways of these towers with vertical stiffeners is compared with the corresponding ring-stiffened towers. A linear buckling analysis is conducted to study the buckling modes and critical buckling loads of the three height levels of tower. The buckling modes and eigenvalues of the 50m, 150m and 250m vertically stiffened towers were also compared with those of the horizontally stiffened towers. The numbers and central angles of the vertical stiffeners are considered as design variables to study the effect of vertical stiffeners on the structural performance of wind turbine towers. Following an extensive parametric study, these strengthening techniques were compared with each other and it is obtained that the use of vertical stiffeners is a more efficient
approach to enhance the stability and strength of intermediate and high towers than the use of horizontal rings.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalStructural Engineering and Mechanics
Issue number5
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Mar 2020