Effect of internal stiffening rings and wall thickness on the structural response of steel wind turbine towers

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  • Shanghai Jiao Tong Univ


In this paper, the structural response of steel tubular wind turbine towers with various design configurations is analysed using FEM modelling. Towers of various heights between 50 and 250 m are considered and investigated with three different design options as follows: (i) thick walled tower with internal horizontal stiffening rings, (ii) thick walled tower without stiffening rings and (iii) thin walled tower with stiffening rings. Based on this analysis, weight reduction ratios are examined in relation to the horizontal sway and von Mises stress increase ratios in order to identify a more efficient design approach between reducing the wall thickness and adopting internal stiffeners. All studied design solutions satisfy the strength and serviceability requirements as specified by the design codes of practice. In the final part of paper, the dynamic characteristics of these three types of towers have been examined to obtain the natural frequencies and mode shapes. The studied model ignored the mass of nacelle-rotor system and the wind turbines, namely, only the isolated tower was included. Furthermore, the recommendations to avoid resonance for each height case are proposed.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-161
Number of pages14
JournalEngineering Structures
Early online date10 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2014


  • Wind turbine tower, Wind loading, Shell structures, Finite Element Analysis, Stiffening rings, Dynamic Analysis