A review of challenges and opportunities associated with bolted flange connections in the offshore wind industry

Ali Mehmanparast, Saeid Lotfian, Sukumara Pillai Vipin

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Abstract

The use of bolted flange connections in the offshore wind industry has steeply risen in the last few years. This trend is because of failings observed in other modes of joints such as grouted joints, coupled with enormous economic losses associated with such failures. As many aspects of bolted flange connections for the offshore wind industry are yet to be understood in full, the current study undertakes a comprehensive review of the lessons learned about bolted connections from a range of industries such as nuclear, aerospace, and onshore wind for application in offshore wind industry. Subsequently, the collected information could be used to effectively address and investigate ways to improve bolted flange connections in the offshore wind industry. As monopiles constitute an overwhelming majority of foundation types used in the current offshore wind market, this work focusses on large diameter flanges in the primary load path of a wind turbine foundation, such as those typically found at the base of turbine towers, or at monopile to transition piece connections. Finally, a summary of issues associated with flanges as well as bolted connections is provided, and insights are recommended on the direction to be followed to address these concerns.

Original languageEnglish
Article number732
Number of pages19
JournalMetals
Volume10
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • bolted joints
  • failure mechanisms
  • offshore wind turbines
  • preload
  • short-term relaxation

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