max
peak lateral deflection
max,avg,DS1
average peak lateral deflection for the first damage state
LIST OF SYMBOLS AND ABBREVIATIONS
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 xviii 
res
residual lateral deflection
top
lateral deflection at top of tower
truestrain; parameter used in slenderness limits
nom
engineering strain
u
ultimate strain at fracture
i
modal damping ratio of mode i
rotation of tower as defined in Section 5.2.1.2
max
maximum rotation of tower as defined in Section 5.2.1.2
plan
angle of tower in plan view (or top view, or xz plane)
curvature
p
curvature at plastic moment: M
p
/EI
average/mean, used in defining fragility curves
truestress; standard deviation used in defining fragility curves
nom
engineering stress
mises
Von Mises stress
i
mode shape of mode i, normalized to mass matrix
i
circular frequency of a mode i
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 1 
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
Wind energy has gained popularity worldwide as many countries aim to increase the production
of clean energy. As Canada follows suit, Canadian design codes are largely adopting international
standards for the design of wind turbine components. However, several gaps are evident due to
Canadas unique environment. One such gap is the assessment of seismic risk pertaining to wind
turbine towers, as the major developments of wind turbines have been in nonseismic areas. The
seismic risk is of particular importance to owners of wind turbine developments, especially wind
turbine farms, since all the towers are identical. This means that a seismic event would affect all the
towers in the same manner if one fails, they all fail. Such a failure would result in severe financial
losses, as well as social implications if wind energy takes over more of the energy production in
Canada.
Thus, the need for research in this area has become evident. Wind turbine towers are different
from other structures because they are characterized by a very tall and slender tubular tower. This
geometry results in a structure that cannot respond in a ductile manner, thus the wind turbine
towers capacity when subjected to dynamic loads must be characterized.
1.1 OVERVIEW OF THESIS
This thesis begins with a review of existing literature on wind turbine towers, specifically
pertaining to seismic provisions and behaviour under seismic loads. International design codes for
wind turbines are presented, along with Canadian design codes for steel structures that may be
applicable to wind turbine towers. Some of the current research on seismic response of wind
turbine towers is also presented, noting that none of the existing research has evaluated the seismic
event that may cause failure of a typical wind turbine tower.
Chapter 3 describes the development and validation of a finite element model and methods
employed. Most of the validation analyses are carried out on a simple tubular member of constant
crosssection. Chapter 4 provides details of the typical wind turbine tower analysed in this thesis
and describes a preliminary analysis of the tower that was carried out using pushover analysis. The
tower was then subjected to incremental dynamic analyses, based on an earthquake suite for the Los
Angeles area in California, USA. These analyses were used to derive a methodology for determining
the seismic hazard of steel wind turbine towers. Damage states of the wind turbine tower were
defined and fragility curves were created for each damage state, indicating the probability that a
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 2 
given intensity measure will cause exceedance of a particular damage state. Thus, a framework was
set up to assess the seismic hazard for wind turbine towers in any location.
The culmination of this project was the incremental dynamic analysis and seismic risk evaluation
at two Canadian locations. One location was in Western Canada, representing the most severe
seismic hazard in the country, and one was in Eastern Canada, representing a milder seismic hazard
but one where several wind farm developments are underway.
1.2 WIND TURBINE TYPE, COMPONENTS, AND TERMINOLOGY
Several types of wind turbines exist, but the most prevalent have a horizontalaxis rotor with
three blades and are supported by a thinwalled steel tower. This type of wind turbine is depicted in
Figure 1.1 and the main components of the wind turbine are labeled.
Figure 1.1: Typical horizontalaxis wind turbine
The rotor is made up of blades that are attached to a hub. Wind turbines are often referred to
by their hub height, which represents the height from the base to the centre of the rotor. The hub
height of the wind turbine tower analysed in this thesis is 80 m, which is a typical height. The
nacelle is behind the hub, and it contains the gearbox, generator, shafts, and other machinery. The
Main Wind Turbine
Components:
Rotor
Nacelle
Tower
Foundation
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 3 
tower is made of a thinwalled tubular steel monopole and the foundation for onshore wind turbines
is typically an octagonal reinforced concrete slab. As previously mentioned, this thesis focuses on
the steel tower of the wind turbine.
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 4 
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS
Several standards for the design and safety requirements of wind turbines exist. The most
significant ones are discussed in this section, and particular attention is given to any seismic design
or analysis provisions.
2.1.1 INTERNATIONAL ELECTROTECHNICAL COMMISSION (IEC)
The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is the leading organization that compiles
international standards for electrical technologies. The IEC documents act as a basis for national
standardization and also as a reference for international contracts. Founded in 1906, the IEC did
not become involved in the wind turbine industry until 1988, when a technical committee, TC 88,
was formed to compile guidelines for wind turbines. This technical committee has developed the
IEC 61400 series, which is comprised of 10 guidelines that cover various topics related to wind
turbine generators. The bulk of the design process for onshore wind turbines is addressed by Part 1,
Design Requirements.
Furthermore, the IEC specifies project and type certification schemes for wind turbines in the
IEC WT 01 document IEC System for Conformity Testing and Certification of Wind Turbines,
Rules and Procedures. This document refers to all of the IEC 61400 series technical standards,
while also referring to several standards from the International Organization for Standardization
(ISO) (IEC, 2001).
IEC614001, Wind Turbines Part 1: Design Requirements
This part of IEC61400 specifies minimum design requirements to assure the engineering
integrity of wind turbines (IEC, 2005). Wind turbine classes are defined based on the reference
wind speed and the turbulence intensity that the wind turbine is expected to experience. The primary
consideration is wind loading, for which several wind conditions are described. Other
environmental conditions are also specified, wherein earthquakes are considered as one of the
extreme other environmental conditions (IEC, 2005). The standard wind turbine classes have no
minimum earthquake requirements, but assessment of earthquake conditions is outlined in Clause
11.6. Seismic analysis may be required depending on sitespecific conditions, and earthquake
assessment is not required in locations that are excluded by the local seismic codes due to weak
seismic action. In locations where seismicity may be critical, the seismic loading must be combined
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
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 5 
with a specified operational loading that occurs frequently during the turbines lifetime and that is
considered to be significant enough (IEC, 2005).
IEC 61400 specifies that the seismic loading be based on the ground acceleration for a 475year
recurrence period and that response spectrum requirements be defined by the local building codes.
The evaluation of the seismic loads may be carried out either in the frequencydomain or in the
timedomain. Furthermore, a simplified conservative approach to calculate the seismic loads is
provided in Annex C, but this approach is only recommended if the tower is the only part of the
wind turbine that will experience significant loading due to seismic action (IEC, 2005).
2.1.2 GERMANISCHER LLOYD (GL)
Germanischer Lloyd (GL) is a certification organization based in Germany. They use their own
guidelines, as discussed below, in addition to the IEC standards and the German Institute for
Standardization (DIN) standards to certify wind turbines and their components. Their services are
offered worldwide.
GL Wind 2003, IV Part 1, Guideline for the Certification of Wind Turbine Towers
This guideline is used in the design and certification of wind turbines. It is largely similar to
IEC614001, but it also describes the design process for each component of the wind turbine
separately. This guideline outlines the national requirements of several countries: Germany,
Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and India (GL, 2003).
The earthquake requirements in this guideline are very similar to those of IEC 614001.
Earthquakes are included in the list of design load cases, with a few minimum load cases specified.
If there are no local regulations regarding earthquake analysis, designers are referred to Eurocode 8
or the earthquake chapter in the American Petroleum Institute (API) recommended practice
document RP 2A (GL, 2003). Similarly to IEC 614001, the analysis may be either carried out in the
frequencydomain or the timedomain. The minimum number of modes that must be considered is
three. For analysis carried out in the timedomain, a minimum number of six simulations must be
performed per load case.
2.1.3 DET NORSKE VERITAS (DNV)
Det Norske Veritas (DNV) is an independent foundation that was established in Norway, but is
now considered an international body. DNV works with the IEC and other European standards
organizations to provide project certification, type certification, and risk management for the wind
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 6 
turbine industry. These certification services are based on IEC WT 01. Aside from its involvement
with the IEC, the DNV develops its own standards, which are used to provide a link between
standards for wind turbines, standards for offshore structures, and several other building codes.
Several documents have been published by the DNV. The one that is most comprehensive for
onshore wind turbines is a guideline written by the DNV and Ris National Laboratory in Denmark,
Guidelines for Design of Wind Turbines (DNV and Ris, 2002). The DNV also publishes
standards, recommended practice documents, and classification notes. The DNV documents that
may be helpful in wind turbine tower design include:
DNVOSJ101, Design of Offshore Wind Turbine Structures
DNVOSJ102, Design and Manufacture of Wind Turbine Blades
DNVOSC101, Design of Offshore Wind Turbine Structures, General (LFRD Method)
DNVOSC201, Structural Design of Offshore Units (WSD Method)
DNVRPC201, Bucking Strength of Plated Structures
DNVRPC202, Bucking Strength of Shells
DNVRPC203, Fatigue Design of Offshore Steel Structures
DNV/Ris, Guidelines for Design of Wind Turbines
These guidelines were created through the cooperation of DNV and Ris National Laboratory
to provide a unified basis for the design of wind turbines. The book provides fairly detailed
guidance on all technical items that need to be covered. It is mostly based on meeting the
requirements of the IEC, and also some Danish, Dutch, and German codes (DNV and Ris, 2002).
The earthquake requirements discussed in these guidelines are very similar to those from the
IEC. Pseudo response spectra are suggested as the method of determining the earthquake loads.
Although accelerations in one vertical and two horizontal directions generally need to be analysed,
the guideline suggests some simplifying assumptions. Since the vertical acceleration is not expected
to create much of a dynamic response, the tower may be analysed using the load created by the
maximum vertical acceleration to determine if buckling will be critical. Furthermore, the two
horizontal directions can be simplified to one horizontal direction, because the dynamic system is
fairly symmetrical. A simple model of the wind turbine is suggested as a vertical rod with a
concentrated mass on top. The mass consists of the nacelle and rotor mass and of the tower
mass (DNV and Ris, 2002). This simplified analysis could be used as a preliminary analysis for
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
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 7 
designers to determine if earthquake loading might be critical and thus if a more detailed analysis is
necessary.
2.1.4 OTHER EUROPEAN STANDARDS
Other European standards have been fairly harmonized with the IEC codes and thus further
discussion of these is unnecessary.
2.2 CANADIAN STANDARDS
As the number of wind turbines being constructed in Canada increases, there has been much
discussion regarding which codes are applicable to the design of Canadian wind turbine towers.
Hatch Acres (2006) carried out a code review and gap analysis for wind turbines, assessing several
aspects of design of international and Canadian codes. The seismic provisions of relevant Canadian
design codes are discussed in this section.
2.2.1 CAN/CSAC614001:08, WIND TURBINES PART 1: DESIGN REQUIREMENTS
This standard is almost identical to the IEC standard of the same name, with a few Canadian
deviations. It was adopted by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) in March 2008.
Furthermore, it replaces the 1987 standard, CAN/CSAF416:87, Wind Energy Conversion Systems
(WECS) Safety, Design, and Operation Criteria.
Canadian Modifications to IEC614001
The CSAC614001 has introduced a few changes to make the IEC614001 suitable for Canada.
The main changes are due to the external conditions that the wind turbine will experience. More
severe icing and temperature conditions are acknowledged. The CSA has added several notes to the
earthquakerelated clauses of the IEC, instructing designers how to obtain seismic loads, design
spectral accelerations, and seismic design data (CSA, 2008). Additionally, the National Building
Code of Canada (NBCC) is referenced in several instances, one of which is for the determination of
the seismic loads.
The CSA acknowledges that the NBCC does not address earthquake forces acting vertically, and
identifies this as a problem because wind turbines may have vibration modes with significant mass
participation factors in the vertical directions. However, the vertical component of a seismic event
is most likely not significant, but is investigated and discussed in Section 5.3.4. Furthermore, there is
a discrepancy between the recurrence period of the seismic event to be used in design. The
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
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 8 
IEC614001, and thus the new CSAC614001, suggests a 475year recurrence period, whereas the
NBCC requires a 2500year return period.
2.2.2 CAN/CSA S3701, ANTENNAS, TOWERS, AND ANTENNASUPPORTING
STRUCTURES
This standard applies to structural antennas and towers. It does have a few requirements
regarding the effects of earthquakes and the dynamic effects of wind, but this codes applicability to
this thesis is mostly related to determining the resistance of the tower (CSA, 2001).
2.2.3 CAN/CSA S47304, STEEL (FIXED OFFSHORE) STRUCTURES
This is a standard that specifies the requirements for the design and fabrication of fixed steel
offshore structures, but is in the process of being replaced by an adopted ISO standard (CSA,
2009a). It acknowledges that supplementary requirements may be necessary for unusual structures,
which would be the case for wind turbine towers. It is more applicable to offshore wind turbines,
although some design information is applicable to onshore wind turbine towers as well, such as the
resistance of large, fabricated slender crosssection tubes under compression and bending (CSA,
2004). It also provides significant information about fatigue details relating to tubular joints and
various connection details.
2.2.4 CAN/CSA S1609, DESIGN OF STEEL STRUCTURES
This standard provides rules and requirements for the design, fabrication, and erection of steel
structures based on limit states design. It specifically defines steel structures as structural
members and frames, and it is apparent that it is principally intended for buildings (CSA, 2009b).
Although this standard is frequently referenced by other CSA Structural Standards, it is not very
useful for the design and analysis of wind turbine structures. The one area where it may be useful is
for fatigue design, as it provides information regarding several fatigue details that are present in wind
turbine towers.
2.3 BOOK PUBLICATIONS
In recent years, several books about wind turbines have been published, most of which are very
detailed and valuable to designers of wind turbines. However, most also have little or no mention of
the effects of earthquakes on wind turbines. A few books of note are listed here:
Wind Energy Handbook (2001), by T. Burton, D. Sharpe, N. Jenkins, E. Bossanyi
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 9 
Wind Energy Explained Theory, Design and Application (2002), by .J.F. Manwell, J.G.
McGowan, A.L. Rogers
Wind Turbines: Fundamentals, Technologies, Application, Economics (2006), by Erich Hau
Aerodynamics of Wind Turbines (2000), by M.O.L. Hansen
2.4 CURRENT RESEARCH ON WIND TURBINE TOWERS
The majority of recent publications on wind turbine towers originates from universities and
research centres, with few contributions from the private sector. Some of this research that is
related to seismic behaviour of wind turbines is presented in this section.
2.4.1 COMPARISON OF SEISMIC ANALYSIS METHODS: FREQUENCYDOMAIN VS.
TIMEDOMAIN
Frequencydomain methods are typically favoured in design due to their ease of implementation.
Timedomain analyses have a higher computational demand and are often used in analysis of
structures, rather than in their design. Timedomain analyses are increasingly being used in the wind
turbine industry.
Currently, several wind turbine simulation software packages exist. The purpose of such
software is to analyse wind turbines under several loading cases to determine the design loads. They
range from basic to very sophisticated and are generally proprietary to companies, which carry out
the analyses and only provide the results. The more sophisticated packages can create a full
aeroelastic model of the wind turbine, including the blades, and subject it to turbulent wind loading.
The newest addition to most of these packages is wave and current loading, as offshore turbines are
becoming commonplace (van Wingerde et al., 2006; Lddecke et al., 2008). A few companies also
recognize the need to incorporate earthquake loading into these software packages, as more wind
turbines are being erected on seismically active sites. Garrad Hassan in the UK is one such
company. Their software, GH Bladed, can apply an accelerogram (real or synthesized) to a model
along with other normal loading (Witcher, 2005). The ground motion is applied in any direction and
a secondary ground motion may be applied at 90 to the first. The structural dynamics of the wind
turbine are represented using a limiteddegreeoffreedom modal model, and all forces and moments
at specified locations are output, as well as torques at critical locations (Witcher, 2005).
This timedomain method was validated against the frequencydomain, which is more
commonly employed. Witcher concluded that both methods were adequate, but discrepancies arose
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
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 10 
when the system damping was not close to that of the design spectra, which is typically 5%. For
operating wind turbines, the aerodynamic damping is close to 5% (Witcher, 2005), and thus both
methods yield very similar results. For turbines that are not operating, the aerodynamic damping is
much lower. Most building codes do not provide a method to correct the level of damping when
using the frequencydomain method, so the timedomain method provides an advantage over the
frequency method because the correct level of damping can be applied (Witcher, 2005). Therefore,
Witcher (2005) concluded that conducting seismic analysis in the timedomain is acceptable, and in
fact preferred, because the correct aeroelastic interaction can be modelled.
A similar investigation was carried out by Windrad Engineering GmbH and Nordex Energy
GmbH (Ritschel et al., 2003). The method of modal approximation was compared with a time
domain approach using the simulation program Flex5. The main reason for investigating this
comparison is because they believe modal approximation is not an adequate method for obtaining
design loads, especially the rotor and nacelle loads, as modal approximation ignores any action above
the tower top (Ritschel et al., 2003). Thus, any system modes which might take into account the
interaction of the tower and the blades are not considered. The results of this investigation suggest
that the modal approach is very conservative for the lower part of the tower (Ritschel et al., 2003).
Regarding the machine loads on the nacelle and the rotor, the timedomain method predicts high
vertical forces, which are not predicted by the modal approximation method because the vertical
component is ignored (Ritschel et al., 2003).
Both the timedomain method and the frequencydomain method were deemed to be adequate.
In this thesis, the timedomain method is used as the intent is to obtain information about the
response of the wind turbine tower, rather than to obtain design loads.
2.4.2 SHELL BUCKLING
Local bucking in the shell of the wind turbine tower using static, buckling, and seismic analyses
was investigated by Bazeos et al. (2002). They also assessed the influence of the door opening on
the overall behaviour of the tower. Furthermore, the effects of soilstructure interaction were also
investigated and are discussed in the next section.
Bazeos et al. (2002) found that the static analysis yielded positive results. The wind turbine was
subjected to pseudoaerodynamic loads corresponding to survival conditions along with gravity load,
and the maximum stresses were found to be well below yield (Bazeos et al., 2002). The static
analysis also showed acceptable stress values throughout the tower and a maximum horizontal
deflection less than 1% of the total height, which is acceptable. The buckling analysis predicted local
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
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 11 
buckling would occur at 1.33 times the static load (Bazeos et al., 2002). Lastly, seismic analyses were
carried out and the first mode was found to dominate the response to the seismic excitation, as was
expected. The maximum stresses were found to be very low for this analysis as well. Thus, Bazeos
et al. (2002) concluded that seismic analysis does not produce a critical response for this type of
structure. However, the magnitude of the design earthquake was not specified, making it difficult to
assess the results of these studies.
Shell buckling was also investigated by Lavassas et al. (2003), where the design of a prototype
steel wind turbine tower was evaluated. Shell buckling was not assessed under seismic loading. It
was concluded that assessment of shell buckling according to design codes is somewhat ambiguous.
Additionally, a simplified linear model was deemed insufficient because the stress concentrations at
the base of the tower are ignored.
2.4.3 DYNAMIC SOILSTRUCTURE INTERACTION EFFECTS
Researchers have identified the importance of analyzing the soilstructure interaction (SSI) when
assessing the seismic resistance of wind turbines. Although the wind turbine tower was identified as
the most important structural component when analyzing dynamic response (Zhao and Maisser,
2006), the interaction between the structure, the foundation, and the soil around was also considered
to be very significant (Bazeos et al., 2002; Zhao and Maisser, 2006).
Timehistory analysis was used for the seismic analysis to analyse the soilstructure interaction
effects, as it is applicable to both elastic linear and nonlinear analysis. A weak earthquake was used
in the analysis by Zhao and Maisser (2006). The wind speeds, also as a timehistory, were used to
determine the thrust and the torque on the tower top. For these loads, Zhao and Maisser (2006)
found that the peak tower displacement was dominated by the wind forces. The inclusion of SSI
resulted in reduced fundamental frequencies of the wind turbine. Thus, it was concluded that soil
structure interaction has a large influence on the dynamic characteristics of the wind turbine tower,
particularly in areas with flexible soil, and that this interaction should be included in dynamic analysis
of wind turbines (Zhao and Maisser, 2006). This conclusion was also reached by Bazeos et al.
(2002).
Design codes generally specify response spectra depending on the soil characteristics. Thus it
may not be necessary to include SSI effects if seismic analysis is carried out in the frequencydomain.
For timedomain analyses, the soilstructure interaction should be assessed if the wind turbine
structure is erected on flexible soil.
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 12 
2.5 SUMMARY
The existing codes offer some guidelines for seismic analysis of wind turbine towers, but
generally more guidance is needed, especially for areas of high seismicity. Some private companies
have identified this need and are incorporating seismic analysis in their wind turbine analysis
software. However, most existing research is concerned with verifying that a given wind turbine can
sustain low or moderate seismic loadings without assessing the limits of the wind turbine towers
seismic capabilities. Therefore, this thesis will focus on characterizing these limits for Canadian
locations by employing the finite element method (FEM).
The following chapter describes an essential part of any project that employs FEM: the
development and validation of the finite element model.
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 13 
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND
VALIDATION
Numerical models are useful for predicting the behaviour of complex structures or structures
with unusual loading, for which analytical methods are difficult to employ, and can be used to assess
the seismic capabilities of such structures. However, any numerical model must first be deemed
reliable. Material models, element formulations, and failure mechanisms must be verified and shown
to represent realistic behaviours.
Numerical models can be validated using a variety of methods. If experimental results are
available, those results are often used to calibrate the model. Otherwise, the validation must rely on
comparison with values calculated from various theoretical formulations. It must also be shown that
the postpeak behaviour is consistent with experimental results and that the expected failure
mechanism can be captured.
When dealing with wind turbines, very few experimental tests have been performed on the
supporting structure. The validation of any numerical study must hence be segmented, yet must
demonstrate accuracy and reliability.
3.1 GEOMETRY OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS
Tubular steel wind turbine towers are typically very tall and slender. The particular tower that is
discussed and analysed in detail in this thesis is 78 m tall, with a centreline diameter, D
m
, of
3650 mm for almost the entire bottom half of the tower. The diameter then tapers down to
2800 mm at the top. The thickness of the tower varies along the height, from 35 mm at the base to
10 mm at the top. Details of the Vestas wind turbine tower are provided in Chapter 4.
For several of the validation analyses, the model was of a simpler member having a constant
diameter and thickness, so that the theoretical closedform solution for each analysis could be
calculated and compared to the finite element analysis (FEA) result.
3.2 FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS PROGRAM
For this thesis, ANSYS was chosen to carry out the numerical analyses, as it offers the non
linear capabilities that are deemed necessary to capture all the aspects of the response of the wind
turbine tower that is being studied.
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 14 
3.3 MATERIAL PROPERTIES
Typical steel wind turbine towers are made from flat steel plates which are rolled into cylindrical
or conical pieces, and then welded longitudinally (Danish Wind Industry Association, 2003). The
cylindrical or conical pieces are then welded together circumferentially into sections of 20 to 30 m in
height, generally a length that is easily transportable. Each of these sections has flanges at the ends,
and the sections are bolted together on site as the tower is erected. Due to this fabrication process,
the material properties of the tower are similar to coldformed tubular members. The stressstrain
curve of the material shows a low proportional limit, followed by gradual yielding, no clear yield
plateau, and significant strain hardening.
The material properties used for the analyses in this thesis come from the average of several
coupon tests of coldformed circular HSS sections performed by Voth (2010). No material data
from an actual wind turbine tower was available. In the ANSYS analyses herein, the truestress ()
vs. truestrain () curve has been employed. This was obtained by modifying the engineering stress
strain curve (
nom
,
nom
), as obtained from a tensile coupon test, in the following manner:
) 1 ln(
nom
+ = (Equation 3.1)
) 1 (
nom nom
+ = (Equation 3.2)
These equations are only valid until necking of the coupon test occurs. After that point, the
stress distribution is no longer a simple uniaxial case, but a complex triaxial case (Aronofsky, 1951).
The method used by Voth (2010) to determine the postnecking material behaviour was developed
by Matic (1985). It was refined by MartinezSaucedo et al. (2006), who suggested that the Matic
material properties should only be used in the postnecked region of the stressstrain curve. The
finite element (FE) material properties were thus determined through an iterative process, wherein
several FE analyses of a coupon with the Matic material properties were carried out and compared
with the experimental stressstrain behaviour and rupture. The resulting true stresstrue strain curve
is shown in Figure 3.1, as is the experimental stressstrain curve and the onset of necking.
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 15 
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5
Strain (mm/mm)
Stress
(MPa)
True stressstrain curve
Engineering stressstrain curve
Figure 3.1: Engineering and true stressstrain curve from Voth (2010) for coldformed circular HSS
For the subsequent analyses, three sets of material properties were used, shown in Figure 3.2.
The first, gradual yielding, is the aforementioned true stressstrain curve from Voth (2010). The
second, having a yield plateau, was adapted from Voth (2010) by modifications as shown in Figure
3.2. The third curve is bilinear, was obtained from Elchalakani et al. (2002), and was only employed
in a few analyses that were geometrically comparable to an experimental specimen.
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3 0.35 0.4
Strain (mm/mm)
Stress
(MPa)
Gradual Yielding (from Voth, 2010)
StressStrain Curve with Yield Plateau
Bilinear (from Elchalakani et al., 2002)
Figure 3.2: Stressstrain curves used in subsequent analyses
E = 211449 MPa
F
y
= 389 MPa
F
u
= 833 MPa
u
= 1.1
E = 190900 MPa
F
y
= 408 MPa
F
u
= 510 MPa
u
= 0.27
Yield plateau:
0.02 mm/mm
0
100
200
300
400
500
0 0.002 0.004 0.006 0.008
E
1
after necking
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 16 
3.4 CHOICE OF ELEMENTS
The elements selected for this analysis are 8noded shell elements and 20noded solid elements,
which are further described in the following subsections. Furthermore, mass elements and rigid link
elements were employed, and it was verified that these elements exhibit the desired behaviour.
3.4.1 SHELL ELEMENTS
The wall of the tower was represented with 8noded shell elements (SHELL281 in ANSYS), as it
was deemed that this element could likely reflect the behaviour of the tower, essentially a thin
conical shell structure. Due to the large diametertothickness ratio along the tower height, the
tower wall acts fairly independently from the rest of the tower and more like a thin shell, with
potential for local buckling. This element has six degreesoffreedom (DOFs) at each node
translations in the x, y, and z directions, and rotations about the x, y, and z axes. A schematic of the
element and its DOFs is shown in Figure 3.3. The deformation shapes are quadratic, making this
shell element wellsuited to model curved shells (ANSYS, 2007). The outofplane stress varies
linearly through the thickness and the transverse shear stresses are assumed to be constant through
the thickness.
Figure 3.3: Geometry of shell element used to represent tower walls (ANSYS, 2007)
Another element was also investigated (SHELL93 in ANSYS). Its geometry is identical to that
of the chosen shell element, but has fewer capabilities, albeit still adequate for modelling a tubular
tower. However, the SHELL281 element was chosen, as it has nonlinear stabilization properties,
which improves the stability of local buckling during static analyses (ANSYS, 2007). This element
was found to be more stable during transient analyses as well.
3.4.1.1 CLASSICAL PLATE THEORY
The elastic behaviour of thin plates is described by classical plate theory, also known as
Kirchhoffs plate theory. This theory has several assumptions and limitations (Szilard, 2004).
I
M
P
O
L
K
N
J
Z
Y
X
z
o
y
o
x
o
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 17 
Several of the assumptions are analogous to the properties of the shell element previously described.
Classical plate theory is a smalldeflection theory, so the transverse deflections are assumed to be
small. The deflection limit is considered to be 1/10
th
of the thickness. When the deflection exceeds
this limit, some of the assumptions are violated and the theory is no longer as reliable the
behaviour of the plate begins to be governed by membrane action, rather than plate bending action.
A simple numerical analysis showed good agreement of the shell element with the classical plate
theory. The displacements obtained from the FE analyses were slightly higher than those predicted
by classical plate theory. The difference between the FEA and classical plate theory became more
evident when material nonlinearities were included in the analysis. However, once the difference
was significant, the classical plate theory was past its smalldeflection limit, which is expected
because the theory does not account for any nonlinearity.
3.4.2 SOLID ELEMENTS
The wind turbine tower has flanges at the base of the tower and at several locations along the
height of the tower, as well as at the top. These allow the tower to be more easily erected and also
stiffen the tower. The flanges were modelled using a 3dimensional solid element that has 20 nodes
(SOLID95 in ANSYS). The geometry of this element is shown in Figure 3.4. This solid element
was chosen for two reasons: it is well suited to model curved boundaries, as it has a midside node;
and it is directly compatible with the shell element that was chosen. One face of the solid element
has the same nodes and node placement as the shell element, resulting in easy and clean meshing of
the flanges. Due to the connectivity to the shell wall, each flange only has one element through the
thickness, which is also a typical feature of 20noded solid element modelling.
Figure 3.4: Geometry of 20noded solid element used to represent flanges (ANSYS, 2007)
M
Y
Q
J
R
K
A
O
W
P
X
U
B
N
V
S
Z
T
L
I
Z
Y
X
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION
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 18 
3.4.2.1 ELASTIC BEAM THEORY
As the main effect of the flanges is to stiffen the shell and thus prevent it from moving in the
circumferential direction, a beam analysis was carried out to evaluate the solid elements flexural
capabilities. The dimensions of the beam were similar to the width and depth of the flanges on a
wind turbine tower, and the length was about 1/6
th
of the circumference of a tower having a 3 m
diameter. It was found that even a very coarse mesh captured the Von Mises stress distribution well.
Thus, one element through the thickness of the flange and two elements through the width were
deemed adequate and were used in the modelling of the flanges.
3.4.3 SOLIDSHELL INTERACTION
There is one discrepancy between the shell and solid elements which arises from the rotational
degree of freedom that does not exist in the solid element. To ensure full connectivity between the
shell and the solid, an overlap of the two elements was used, as shown in Figure 3.5. The increased
mass due to this overlap is not significant, as the wall is quite thin.
(a) (b) (c)
Figure 3.5: Geometry of wind turbine tower ring flanges
(a) dimensions
(b) node locations
(c) area of overlap
3.5 CONNECTION MODELLING
As discussed in the previous section, the tower is made up of sections that are bolted together
using flanges. The flanges of the Vestas wind turbine tower are shown in Figure 3.6. The flanges
are stocky and stiff, so prying of the connection is not likely to occur. The bolted connections are
thus not modelled. However, the flanges are modelled to simulate the stiffness they lend to the
tower, but are assumed to be fully connected and monolithic. The bolt holes are not modelled, as
the bolt material almost entirely fills the bolt hole. The stiffening effect of these flanges is discussed
further in 3.6.2.2. The maximum stresses at the flange connection during seismic analysis are later
verified to ensure that the assumptions stated here are not violated (Section 5.3.6).
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION
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 19 
Figure 3.6: Bolted flange connections of wind turbine tower (Vestas, 2006)
3.6 TUBULAR MEMBERS UNDER BENDING
Flexural member crosssections are classified by many codes based on their crosssectional
slenderness, which governs a sections ability to carry moment. If elements of the crosssection that
are in compression are too slender, the flexural member may not reach its global flexural capacity,
but may instead buckle locally. Many codes describe the slenderness of tubular elements in flexural
compression in terms of classes, where the limits are defined based on the diametertothickness
ratio (BSI, 2000; CEN, 2005; CSA, 2009b). Other codes also base their limits on the diameterto
thickness ratio, but describe flexural members as compact, noncompact, or slender (AISC, 2005;
Standards Australia, 1998).
Class 1 sections, also known as compact, are capable of reaching and maintaining a plastic
moment, and can thus provide sufficient rotation for plastic design. Class 2 sections, sometimes
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 20 
known as semicompact, will reach their plastic moment but are not capable of maintaining it and
thus have limited rotation capacity. Class 3 sections, also known as noncompact, are capable of
reaching their yield moment but not their plastic moment. Finally, Class 4 sections, also described as
slender sections, will experience elastic local buckling in areas of the section that are loaded in
compression and thus will likely not be able to reach the yield moment.
The limits of each class for circular hollow sections are shown in Table 3.1 for several codes.
There appear to be some fairly high discrepancies between the codes described in the table. CSA
S16 has similar but less conservative D/t limits compared to Eurocode 3, except for the major
Class3/Class 4 breakpoint.
Table 3.1: Crosssectional slenderness limits (D/t) of circular hollow sections in bending
using E = 200000 MPa
Class 1,
or Compact
Class 2
Class 3,
or NonCompact
Class 4,
or Slender
CSA S16
(2009b)
y
F
13000
y
F
18000
y
F
66000
y
F
66000
t
D
>
CSA S473
(2004)
y
F
14200
y
F
62000
y
F
62000
t
D
>
AISC
(2005)
y
y
F
14000
F / E 07 . 0 =
y
y
F
62000
F / E 31 . 0 =
y
F
62000
t
D
>
BS 5950
(2000)*
y
2
F
11000
40 =
y
2
F
13750
50 =
y
2
F
38500
140 =
y
F
38500
t
D
>
AS 4100
(1998)**
y
F
12500
y
F
30000
y
F
30000
t
D
>
Eurocode 3
(2005)***
y
2
F
11750
50 =
y
2
F
16450
70 =
y
2
F
21150
90 =
y
F
21150
t
D
>
* in BS 5950,
y
F / 275 =
** taken from Zhao et al. (2005)
*** in Eurocode 3,
y
F / 235 =
Eurocode 3 conservatively adopts the same limit as in axial compression (see Table 3.2)
Sections of wind turbine towers fall within the limits of Class 3 and Class 4. The bottom part of
the wind turbine tower that will be analysed in this thesis after the completion of the validation
analyses is class 3 in flexure according to CSA S16, while most of the towers height is well past the
Class 4 limit.
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION
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 21 
3.6.1 FE MODEL FOR PURE FLEXURE
Several analyses were carried out to determine if ANSYS can capture the flexural behaviour of a
tubular member made up of shell elements. For the validation of pure flexural behaviour, the FE
model was of a short cantilevered tubular member having a constant cross section that was
subjected to pure bending moment. The member was dimensioned as shown in Figure 3.7 to obtain
five FE models: VFel, VF1a, and VF1b had the same geometry but used all three material
properties described in Section 3.3; VF2a and VF2b had the same geometry but were more slender
and used the gradual yielding and the yield plateau material properties, respectively. The lengthto
diameter ratio was 4, which is well over the recommended minimum value of L/D=2 necessary to
eliminate the effect of load fixtures on bending properties (Elchalakani et al., 2002). The base of the
member was fully fixed. The nodes at the top of the member were all rigidly connected to simulate
another fixture, but were not fixed globally, allowing the application of a moment at the top of the
member. A schematic of this model is shown in Figure 3.7. All three models are Class 4 by
Eurocode 3 (CEN, 2005), but VFel and VF1 are Class 3 by CSA (2009b) and AISC (2005).
Figure 3.7: Schematic and descriptions of FE models for validation of pure flexure
One of the models, VFel, was created such that its geometric ratios would be directly
comparable to experimental specimen B2 from Elchalakani et al. (2002), which had an L/D=4 and a
D/t=110. To ensure that all parameters were equal, the analysis of model VFel was carried out
using material properties from tensile coupon test results for specimen B2: E=190,900 MPa, F
y
=
408 MPa, F
u
=510 MPa, and
u
=0.27 (Elchalakani et al., 2002). Due to the lack of a stressstrain
curve, the material properties used in the analysis were bilinear, as shown in Figure 3.2.
Four additional models were created. Model VF1 (a and b) were identical to model VFel in
dimensions and boundary conditions, but used the gradual yielding and the yield plateau material
VF1a
t = 18mm
D/t = 111
*gradual yielding
VF1b
t = 18mm
D/t = 111
*yield plateau
D = 2000mm
L = 8000mm
L/D = 4
VF2a
t = 7mm
D/t = 286
VFel
t = 18mm
D/t = 111
*bilinear material properties
D
L
t
M
VF2b
t = 7mm
D/t = 286
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION
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 22 
properties described in Section 3.3. This provided an indication of how sensitive the model is to
changes in material properties. Models VF2 (a and b) had a thickness of 7mm and D/t of 286, and
were also carried out using the same material properties as VF1. Model VF2 (a and b), having a
very slender section, was investigated because its diametertothickness ratio was similar to the
highest diametertothickness ratio found on the wind turbine tower.
3.6.1.1 MESH SENSITIVITY
The analysis of model VFel was carried out several times in order to determine the mesh
fineness and configuration that best captured the expected local buckling failure mechanism.
Initially, analyses were carried out using a uniform mesh of wellproportioned elements, as depicted
in Figure 3.8. The curvature, , was calculated as described in Elchalakani et al. (2002). The
normalised momentcurvature response of the analysis of model VFel using this mesh
configuration with various element sizes, s
e
, is shown in Figure 3.8. The mesh having an element
sizetothickness ratio (s
e
/t) of 9.6 produced convergence, as a finer mesh yielded approximately the
same momentcurvature response. The response of the mesh with s
e
/t = 11.5 was also quite good.
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
0 1 2 3 4
Normalised Curvature, /
p
Normalised
Moment,
M/M
p
Figure 3.8: Normalised momentcurvature response of FEA of VFel for various mesh sizes
using uniform mesh and perfect geometry/loading
Any of the element sizes used, even up to s
e
/t of 19.2, were accurate in the elastic range, having
the same initial stiffness as the experimental specimen B2 (Elchalakani et al., 2002). Furthermore, all
M
s
e
s
e
/t = 19.2
s
e
/t = 14.4
s
e
/t = 11.5
s
e
/t = 9.6
s
e
/t = 8.2
s
e
/t = 7.2
M
y
/M
p
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION
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 23 
mesh sizes showed that the member began to yield when the yield moment, M
y
, was reached, and all
mesh sizes captured the failure mechanism, although the coarser meshes overestimated the post
peak capacity. Thus, a coarse mesh may be used in areas that remain elastic or that experience only
limited yielding.
3.6.1.2 REFINEMENT OF MESH
A second mesh configuration was evaluated to decrease computation time and to establish that a
fine mesh is only required for critical parts of the model. The mesh was refined at the centre of the
member where the buckle was expected to occur. The refined elements had a ratio of s
e
/t = 9.6, the
aforementioned value that was considered converged. As shown in Figure 3.9, the mesh had
elements with a good aspect ratio at the middle of the member for a specified refined length, L
r
, and
elements with an aspect ratio of 3:1 at the end of the member. The momentcurvature response of
model VFel using refined lengths of 0.5D, D, and 1.5D, was found to be identical to the response
obtained using the uniform refined element mesh.
Figure 3.9: Refined mesh configuration
However, due to the model having perfectly symmetrical geometry and loading, difficulties were
sometimes encountered. Instead of forming one buckle, two buckles would sometimes form, as
shown in Figure 3.10. Thus, a small imperfection was introduced. An outofstraightness was
created using two opposing displacements, applied at a distance of s
e
(or s
e
/2 for the coarser
meshes) above and below midheight. The displaced geometry was then used for the subsequent
flexural analysis. The total outofstraightness was varied from 1% of the shell thickness to 5% of
the shell thickness, t, to see the influence on the response curve. The effect of various imperfections
was evaluated, and it was found to decrease the peak capacity of the member by only 1.5%. The
M
L
r
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION
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 24 
postpeak response was somewhat improved for the coarser meshes, but was unchanged for the
finer meshes.
Figure 3.10: Incorrect buckling configuration due to perfectly symmetrical model and loading
Thus, the mesh size used in this thesis was based on the findings of this section. In critical
locations where local buckling may occur, a mesh size up to 12 times the thickness is adequate. The
mesh may be coarser in noncritical locations, as it does not cause any loss of accuracy.
3.6.1.3 RESULTS AND ANALYSIS OF TUBULAR MEMBERS UNDER PURE FLEXURE
The normalized momentcurvature response of model VFel is shown in Figure 3.11. As
previously described, this model was created such that it would be geometrically comparable to the
experimental results of specimen B2 from Elchalakani et al. (2002). Although the shape of the
response curve is similar, the agreement is not ideal as the peak is overestimated by 9%. This is
believed to be due to imperfections of the experimental specimen. Due to the small scale of the
specimen (D = 110 mm, t = 1 mm), imperfections would have been hard to measure, but could be
significant. Elchalakani et al. (2002) did not discuss this in their publication. In addition, the FE
model used a bilinear stressstrain curve, since the true stressstrain curve was not reported by
Elchalakani et al. (2002).
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION
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 25 
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
0 1 2 3 4
Normalised Curvature, /
p
Normalised
Moment,
M/M
p
Figure 3.11: Normalised momentcurvature response of FE model VFel
compared with experimental results from Elchalakani et al. (2002)
Despite these differences, the failure mode was captured quite well, as can be seen from Figure
3.12. Elchalakani et al. (2002) note that local buckling generally occurs away from the fixture, where
ovalisation is prevented. This finding is consistent with the results of the FEA. However, it can be
seen in Figure 3.12 (a) that the local buckle of specimen B2 formed close to the fixture, indicating
the possibility that larger imperfections were present at that location, causing the failure to occur
there.
(a) (b)
Figure 3.12: Local buckling failure of CHS under pure bending, D/t = 111
(a) Specimen B2 (Elchalakani et al., 2001)
(b) FE model VFel
Experimental Results,
Specimen B2
(Elchalakani et al., 2002)
M
y
/M
p
FEA Results, VFel
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION
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 26 
The FE models VF1a and VF1b, which were geometrically identical to VFel but used
different material properties, had very different response curves from VFel. The responses of all
three models are shown in Figure 3.13. It can be seen that the difference in material properties
greatly influences the momentcurvature response. Due to the bilinear material properties of VFel,
its response was almost linear until the peak load was achieved. Meanwhile, the gradual stressstrain
curve used for VF1a resulted in a curvilinear response up to the peak load. The yield plateau used
in VF1b caused it to fail much earlier than VF1a. The postpeak response of the three models was
similar, quickly shedding the load as a local buckle formed. Furthermore, the peak load achieved by
VF1a was much higher than that of VFel and VF1b, and was in fact only 2.5% less than the
plastic moment. This corresponds to Class 3 behaviour, where M
p
> M
ult
> M
y
, which is predicted
by CSA S16 (2009b) and AISC (2005), but incorrectly predicted by Eurocode 3 (CEN, 2005) which
classifies this crosssection as Class 4 in flexure.
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
0 2 4 6 8
Normalised Curvature, /
p
Normalised
Moment,
M/M
p
Figure 3.13: Normalised momentcurvature response of FE models VF1 and VFel (D/t = 111)
The momentcurvature responses of FE models VF2a and VF2b are shown in Figure 3.14.
Both models fail very abruptly, VF2a at a moment 7% greater than the yield moment and VF2b at
a moment only 2.4% greater than the yield moment. The buckled shape is shown in Figure 3.15.
For this very slender section, the material properties dont influence the response as much as for
the previously discussed models, as can be seen from the insignificant difference between the two
response curves. This is expected because Class 4 sections experience elastic local buckling and thus
M
y
/M
p
VF1a, gradual yielding
VFel, bilinear
material properties
VF1b, yield plateau
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION
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 27 
the postyield material properties should not influence the response. However, the attainment of
the yield moment, M
y
, is somewhat surprising because VF2 is classified as Class 4, or slender (CSA,
2009b, AISC, 2005, and CEN, 2005).
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
0 2 4 6 8
Normalised Curvature, /
p
Normalised
Moment,
M/M
p
Figure 3.14: Normalised momentcurvature response of FE models VF2 (D/t = 286)
Figure 3.15: Local buckle failure of very slender CHS under pure bending (D/t = 286)
3.6.2 FE MODEL OF A CANTILEVER TOWER UNDER BENDING
After establishing a good mesh size and ensuring that the local buckling failure can be captured
in ANSYS, a more realistic problem to investigate was that of a cantilever tower under bending, a
M
y
/M
p
VF2a, gradual yielding
VF2b, yield plateau
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION
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 28 
load case that a wind turbine tower is regularly subjected to. To validate the ability of the program
to capture the behaviour of what is essentially a cantilevered beam made of shell elements, two
models were created, VB1 and VB2. These two models have crosssectional dimensions similar to
VF1 and VF2, respectively, but the length of the member is much longer, 60 m. No initial
imperfections were added to the geometry, as asymmetry is created by the load due to the shear
variation along the length. A schematic is shown in Figure 3.16, along with details of the FE
models.
A flange of proportions similar to a wind turbine tower flange was added to model VB1 at the
location where the buckle formed, creating a third model, VBS1. The geometry of the flange and
details of the model are shown in Figure 3.16. All three models were analysed twice: once with
material properties having gradual yielding, and a second time with material properties having a yield
plateau.
Figure 3.16: Schematic and descriptions of FE models for validation of bending behaviour
3.6.2.1 RESULTS AND ANALYSIS OF CANTILEVER TOWER UNDER BENDING
The response curves of all three models described above are plotted in Figure 3.17. In each
case, the moment is taken at the base to reflect the capacity of the tower and not necessarily that of
the section that fails. The response curves of the unstiffened towers are very similar to their pure
flexure counterparts. The peak load of VB1 appears to be higher than the peak load achieved in
pure flexure. However, this is not true because the moment in Figure 3.17 is the base moment and
not the moment at the section where the tower buckled, at 4.5 m from the base. Hence, the plotted
moment, M, is proportional to the applied lateral load, P. The peak load of VB2 is the same as that
achieved in pure flexure. The buckle of VB2 formed much higher, at 8.6 m from the base. Thus
the peak moment at the location of failure was much less than that achieved in pure flexure, which is
to be expected.
D = 2000mm
L = 60m
VB2
t = 7mm
D/t = 276
VB1
t = 18mm
D/t = 111
D
L
t
P
VBS1
t = 18mm
D/t = 111
h
f
= 4.48m
w
f
= 94mm
t
f
= 35mm
w
f
t
f
h
f
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION
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 29 
The material properties affect the response of the cantilever towers significantly as can be seen
from the figure. This influence is less severe for the more slender member, VB2.
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25
Normalised Lateral Deflection, /L
Normalised
Moment,
M/M
p
Figure 3.17: Normalised momentcurvature response of FE models
VB1 (D/t = 111), VB2 (D/t = 276), and VBS1 (stiffened)
3.6.2.2 STIFFENING EFFECT OF A FLANGE
The stiffening flange did not have the desired effect. Without the flange, the ovalisation caused
due to the bending of the tower decreased the stiffness of the tower some distance away from the
base, with the maximum ovalisation occurring at 5.2 m from the base. The variation of the applied
moment was linear and thus the weakest section along the tower height was not at the base, which
had the highest moment but also the highest stiffness, but instead at 4.48 m from the base, which
had a lower stiffness than the base. This is shown in Figure 3.18 (a). The addition of the flange was
thought to push the formation of the buckle further up the tower and thus increase its capacity.
However, the section having the lowest stiffness was at 11.2 m from the base, a location where the
moment was too low to cause failure, as is shown in Figure 3.18 (b). Thus, the failure occurred at
the base where the moment was highest and the capacity of the tower was actually decreased due to
the addition of the flange.
M
y
/M
p
VB1
VBS1
VB2
gradual yielding
yield plateau
Material Properties:
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION
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 30 
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
0 15000 30000
Moment (kNm)
Height
from
Base
(m)
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
0 15000 30000
Moment (kNm)
Height
from
Base
(m)
(a) VB1 (b) VBS1
Figure 3.18: Investigation of location of buckle
Nonetheless, model VBS1 showed that the flanges of the wind turbine tower may have a
significant impact on its behaviour and should be included in the FE model of the Vestas wind
turbine tower.
3.6.2.3 EFFECT OF LOCAL IMPERFECTIONS ON FLEXURAL BEHAVIOUR
As demonstrated in upcoming Section 3.7.1.5, local imperfections can be added by using the
geometry from highfrequency mode shapes whereby one buckle (or half the sine wave) is 1.5D and
the depth of the wave is equal to the thickness of the tube. Although the initial analyses had no
local imperfections, it was considered worthwhile to investigate the response of the cantilever towers
under bending once local imperfections are added. Figure 3.19 shows the effect of adding local
imperfections to models VB1 and VB2.
For VB1, a Class 3 section in flexure, the effect of adding local imperfections decreased the
peak load achieved by only 4.5%, but the postpeak response was significantly different. The effect
was much less significant for VB2, a very slender section.
M
M
y
along
height
M
M
y
along
height
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 31 
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25
Normalised Lateral Deflection, /L
Normalised
Moment,
M/M
p
Figure 3.19: Effect of local imperfections on cantilever tower under bending
The very gradual postpeak response of VB1 with the addition of local imperfections is not the
desired response, as it does not agree with experimental observations (Elchalakani et al., 2002).
Thus, local imperfections will not be included in the Vestas wind turbine tower model because their
addition affects the bending response of the cantilever tower in an unlikely manner.
3.7 TUBULAR MEMBERS UNDER AXIAL COMPRESSION
Members subjected to axial compression are not divided into 4 classes, as is the case for
bending. Instead, there is only one limit which defines if a section is Class 4, or slender. If the
crosssectional slenderness falls above this limit, the member cannot achieve its global flexural
buckling capacity due to local buckling. The crosssectional slenderness limits of various codes are
shown in Table 3.2. There is good agreement between the codes on the definition of a slender CHS
crosssection in axial compression.
Table 3.2: Slenderness limits (D/t) of circular hollow sections in axial compression
for nonslender behaviour, using E = 200000 MPa
CSA S16
(2009b)
AISC
(2005)
BS 5950
(2000)
AS 4100
(1998)**
Eurocode 3
(2005)
Slenderness
Limit
y
F
23000
y
F
22000
y
F
22000
y
F
20500
y
F
21150
** taken from Trahair and Bradford (1998)
gradual yielding
yield plateau
Material Properties:
M
y
/M
p
VB1
VB2
VB1 with local
imperfections
VB2 with local
imperfections
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 32 
3.7.1 FE ANALYSES FOR VALIDATION OF AXIAL BUCKLING BEHAVIOUR
Axial compression analyses were carried out to determine the ability of the FEA program to
capture axial compression buckling. Although axial loading is rarely a concern for wind turbine
towers, it must be considered since seismic analysis may include a vertical component, which may
affect the very slender sections at the top of the tower as well as those at the base.
3.7.1.1 FE MODELS FOR VALIDATION OF AXIAL BUCKLING BEHAVIOUR
Two FE models were initially created and analysed for this validation, VA1 and VA2. The
models are identical to VB1 and VB2, but the loading is different: axial compression plus a small
lateral load to induce sway. This lateral load of 0.005P corresponds to the notional lateral load of
CSA S16 Clause 8.4.1 (CSA, 2009b). A schematic of this model is shown in Figure 3.20. Four other
models were created based on VA1 and VA2. One set had local imperfections and no lateral load
(VA1S and VA2S), and another set had local imperfections and the 0.005P lateral load as well
(VA1SL and VA2SL). Due to the much lower slenderness limits in axial compression, both VA
1 and VA2 members are Class 4 in axial compression according to all codes included in Table 3.2.
Figure 3.20: Schematic and descriptions of FE models for validation of axial compression
3.7.1.2 EIGENVALUE BUCKLING ANALYSIS
Also known as classical Euler buckling analysis, this type of analysis predicts the theoretical
buckling strength of an ideal elastic structure by computing the structural eigenvalues of the defined
system. The FEA result for the Euler buckling load, P
e
, was within 0.5% of the calculated Euler
buckling load for both VA1 and VA2.
D = 2000mm
L = 60m
k = 0.5
VA1
t = 18mm
D/t = 111
P
lat
= 0.005P
*no local imperfections
D
L
t
P
P
lat
VA2
t = 7mm
D/t = 276
P
lat
= 0.005P
VA1S
P
lat
= 0
*local imperfections sinusoidal:
wave length = 1.5D
wave depth = t
VA2S
P
lat
= 0
VA1SL
P
lat
= 0.005P
VA2SL
P
lat
= 0.005P
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 33 
3.7.1.3 NONLINEAR BUCKLING ANALYSIS GEOMETRIC AND MATERIAL
NONLINEARITIES
Euler buckling analysis overpredicts the elastic buckling load of a structure because it does not
account for imperfections and initial outofstraightness of columns. Equations have been
developed to account for this and to predict a more realistic capacity of a column against buckling.
To determine this value using finite element analysis, a geometric nonlinear, largedeflection static
analysis must be employed. The load is gradually increased until a load is reached where the
structure is unstable. This type of analysis may also include nonlinear material properties, to
approach the behaviour of a real column.
3.7.1.4 GEOMETRIC IMPERFECTIONS FOR GLOBAL BUCKLING
To simulate some initial imperfections to induce global buckling, a lateral load of 0.5% of the
axial load was added at the top of the cantilever tower. According to CSA S1609 (2009b), 0.5% is
an adequate notional load to simulate such translational effects in a structure. This value was
furthermore confirmed by running two analyses with an initial outofstraightness of 5 mm and of
10 mm at the top of the cantilever tower. Both analyses followed the same loaddeflection path.
Conversely, an analysis with only 0.1% lateral load was found to differ significantly from the other
cases investigated.
3.7.1.5 GEOMETRIC IMPERFECTIONS FOR LOCAL BUCKLING
Imperfections were also added along the height of the tower to make local failure possible in the
case that local buckling occurred before global buckling.
To determine the amount of local imperfections required to induce local buckling, model VA1
was reduced to a quarter of its initial length. Its geometry was then updated with highfrequency
mode shapes having three to six buckles (or 1.5 to 3 sine waves) along the length of the member.
The length of the sine wave was thus varied from 2.5D to 1.25D. Additionally, the depth of the
wave was varied from 0.25t to 2t. There was no lateral load at the top to induce global buckling.
The effect of varying the sine wave length and depth is shown in Figure 3.21.
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 34 
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
0 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04
/L
P/AF
y
1.25D
1.5D
1.88D
2.5D
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
0 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04
/L
P/AF
y
0.25t
0.5t
t
2t
(a) (b)
Figure 3.21: Assessment of influence of geometric imperfections for local buckling
(a) variation of sine wave length
(b) variation of sine wave depth for 1.5D wave length
A sine wave length of 1.5D and a depth of t were deemed adequate at representing local
imperfections for subsequent analyses.
3.7.1.6 RESULTS AND ANALYSIS OF CANTILEVER TOWER UNDER AXIAL COMPRESSION
The normalized loaddisplacement responses of the axial compression FE validation analyses are
shown in Figure 3.22 and Figure 3.23. Also shown in the figures are the axial compression
capacities of VA1 and VA2, calculated in three ways: using CSA S16 (2009b) and F
y
as specified;
using CSA S473 (2004); and using CSA S16 (2009b) and F
y
as an effective yield stress, F
y,eff
,
determined from the diametertothickness ratio meeting the class 3 limit (CSA, 2009b).
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 35 
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1 0.12 0.14 0.16
Normalised Lateral Deflection, /L
Normalised
Axial Load,
P/P
e
Figure 3.22: Axial loading analysis FE results of VA1 (D/t = 111)
with and without local imperfections
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
0 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05 0.06 0.07
Normalised Lateral Deflection, /L
Normalised
Axial Load,
P/P
e
Figure 3.23: Axial loading analysis FE results of VA2 (D/t = 286)
with and without local imperfections
None of the analyses experience local buckling prior to global buckling, thus expected Class 4
behaviour under axial compression was not captured by the FEA. Furthermore, there is not good
agreement between the FEA results and the code predictions, but the latter can be seen to have very
P
u
/P
e
F
y
= specified (CSA S16)
Nonlinear Geometry /
Linear Materials
VA1
Nonlinear Geometry /
Nonlinear Materials
P
u
/P
e
F
y
= F
y,eff
, meets
Class 3 D/t limit
(CSA S16)
P
u
/P
e
F
y
= F
c
, based on D/t
(CSA S473)
VA1S VA1 VA1SL
Nonlinear Geometry /
Linear Materials
VA2
Nonlinear Geometry /
Nonlinear Materials
VA2S VA2 VA2SL
P
u
/P
e
F
y
= specified (CSA S16)
P
u
/P
e
F
y
= F
y,eff
, meets
Class 3 D/t limit
(CSA S16)
P
u
/P
e
F
y
= F
c
, based on D/t
(CSA S473)
CHAPTER 3: FINITE ELEMENT MODEL DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 36 
differing estimates for compression strength for Class 4 sections anyway. The prediction from CSA
S473 is most consistent for VA1 and VA2 (the two pure compression load cases, see Figure 3.20).
The only models that surpass the code predictions for pure axial compression are those with no
lateral load but with local imperfections, VA1S and VA2S, as might be expected.
3.7.2 SUMMARY OF MODELLING DECISIONS
This chapter has thus far described the various analyses that have validated the following
modelling decisions:
The 8noded shell elements were chosen for the thin wall of the tower, the 20noded solid
elements were chosen for the flanges, and rigid link elements were used to attach the nacelle
and rotor point mass elements. A good mesh size in critical areas is provided by square
shaped (aspect ratio close to 1) elements having element sizetothickness ratio up to 12. A
coarser mesh is acceptable in noncritical areas, where elements aspect ratios of up to 3 are
used.
To represent material properties, the gradual yielding curve from Voth (2010) is used for all
subsequent models. Furthermore, material properties with a yield plateau are employed for a
few models to further assess sensitivity to material properties.
Flanges are deemed important in capturing the failure mode and are thus included.
Global or local imperfections are not added in any wind turbine tower models as the primary
loading is bending, for which imperfections were deemed unnecessary or unhelpful.
3.8 TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS UNDER SEISMIC EXCITATION
The main purpose of this validation was to determine if the timehistory analysis method used in
ANSYS is adequate to capture the earthquake response, and also to identify appropriate damping
values for a wind turbine. An incremental analysis was also conducted.
A fullscale shake table test of a small wind turbine was carried out at the University of
California, San Diego (Prowell et al., 2008 and 2009). The turbine was 22.6 m tall and was made up
of three sections of constant crosssection connected by conical joints. A schematic of the turbine is
shown in Figure 3.24. A simple FE model was created using shell elements and additional mass
elements, uniformly distributed throughout the tower, to reach the mass specified by Prowell et. al.
(2008). Modal analysis in ANSYS estimated the first modal period to be 0.58 sec, which is in good
agreement with the experimentally observed first mode of 0.59 sec (Prowell et al., 2008).
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 37 
The model was subjected to the same ground motions as the shake table test corresponding to
the results presented in Prowell et al. (2008), 143% of the eastwest component of the 1992 strike
slip Landers Earthquake. Recently, Prowell et al. (2009) have also presented results for the 100%
and 200% level of the Landers earthquake, but the analyses in this section were compared to the
2008 publication. The ground motion record, obtained from the US Geological Survey database,
was 80 sec long and the analyses had an addition 15 sec of free vibration.
Figure 3.24: Details of small wind turbine tested at UCSD
3.8.1 DAMPING IN ANSYS
The basic equation of motion that is solved during a transient dynamic analysis of any implicit
FE solver is expressed as:
( ) ) t ( F ) x ]( k [ ) x ]( c [ ) x ]( m [ = + + & & & (Equation 3.3)
where ] m [ = mass matrix
] c [ = damping matrix
] k [ = stiffness matrix
( ) ) t ( F = dynamic load vector
) x ( , ) x ( & , ) x ( & & = nodal displacement, velocity, and acceleration vectors
6m
6m
6m
1.9m
1.9m
hub height:
22.6m
Top Section
D = 1100mm
t = 5.3mm
Middle Section
D = 1600mm
t = 5.3mm
Lower Section
D = 1600mm
t = 5.3mm
upper joint
accelerometer
top of nacelle
accelerometer
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 38 
The damping matrix is generally difficult to evaluate. A common way of defining the damping
matrix is by using Rayleigh damping, which is a linear combination of the mass matrix and the
stiffness matrix using two coefficients, and :
] k [ ] m [ ] c [ + = (Equation 3.4)
The modal damping ratio,
i
, of a mode i can then be expressed in terms of the coefficients
and , and the circular frequency,
i
, of that mode as follows:
2 2
i
i
i
+
=
(Equation 3.5)
The above equation can be solved to obtain the desired damping ratio in two modes by solving
for the coefficients and to achieve the specified damping ratios. For subsequent analyses, the
damping value specified is for the first and second modes. However, it should be noted that this
may result in more damping of the higher modes.
3.8.1.1 COMPARISON OF EFFECT OF DAMPING
Based on experimental results, Prowell et al. (2008) calculated the amount of viscous damping to
be between 0.4 and 0.6% of critical for the small wind turbine described above. This is also similar
to the estimated value of 0.5% used by Bazeos et al. (2002) in their dynamic analysis of a wind
turbine. However, industry guidelines suggest the use of 1% of critical damping (IEC, 2005).
Several analyses were carried out with damping ratios tuned to the first and second modes at
0.5%, 1%, and 1.5% of critical. The FEA results and the experimental results are plotted in Figure
3.25 and Figure 3.26 for the acceleration at the top of the nacelle and at the upper joint, respectively,
for the first 20 sec of the earthquake. This duration was chosen to allow for comparison with the
results presented in Prowell et al. (2008). The duration of the earthquake record was 50 sec, and the
analysis was continued for an additional 15 sec to allow the towers vibrations to stop. Some results
of the timehistory analyses with various damping values are listed in Table 3.3.
Table 3.3: Summary of results of timehistory analyses for the UCSD tower
comparing different damping values
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Damping
Ratio
max
(% H)
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
Peak
Acceleration at
Hub Height**
0.5% 0.26 % 93 0.03 % 0.71g
1.0% 0.23 % 80 0.02 % 0.59g
1.5% 0.17 % 63 0.02 % 0.46g
** peak acceleration occurred after 20 sec and is not shown in Figure 3.25
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 39 
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
0.2
0.4
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Time (s)
Acceleration
at Top
(g)
Recorded Experimental Values
0.5% damping
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
0.2
0.4
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Time (s)
Acceleration
at Top
(g)
Recorded Experimental Values
1% damping
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
0.2
0.4
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Time (s)
Acceleration
at Top
(g)
Recorded Experimental Values
1.5% damping
Figure 3.25: Acceleration at top of nacelle for the reference earthquake for various damping ratios
(a) 0.5% damping
(b) 1.0% damping
(c) 1.5% damping
(a)
(b)
(c)
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 40 
0.4
0.2
0
0.2
0.4
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Time (s)
Acceleration
at Upper Joint
(g)
Recorded Experimental Values
0.4
0.2
0
0.2
0.4
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Time (s)
Acceleration
at Upper Joint
(g)
0.5% damping
0.4
0.2
0
0.2
0.4
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Time (s)
Acceleration
at Upper Joint
(g)
1% damping
0.4
0.2
0
0.2
0.4
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Time (s)
Acceleration
at Upper Joint
(g)
1.5% damping
Figure 3.26: Acceleration at upper joint for the reference earthquake for various damping ratios
(a) recorded experimental values
(b) 0.5% damping
(c) 1.0% damping
(d) 1.5% damping
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
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 41 
The agreement between the FE results and the experimental results is reasonable, considering all
the modelling assumptions uniform distribution of additional mass, no modelling of the blades,
rigid fixity at the base. Prowell et al. (2008) presented better agreement in their publication from a
numerical model wherein the parked blades were included using beam elements, thus it is believed
that modelling the blades changed the higher mode influence and thus affected the response of the
upper joint, which is dominated by the higher modes. However, no details of the blades were
available, thus the influence of the blades cannot be assessed.
For the acceleration at the top of the nacelle (Figure 3.25), it appears that the experimental
results have a higher frequency content than the FE results for any level of damping. Furthermore,
while many peaks are captured, several peaks are not, and it appears that the lower damping value of
0.5% captures the peaks slightly better than the analyses with higher damping.
For the acceleration at the upper joint (Figure 3.26) the frequency content of the FE results
appears to be very similar to that of the experimental results. However, the experimental results
seem to be more muted, thus the higher damping value of 1.5% provides the response that is closest
to experimental results. It appears that even higher damping may produce a better response.
The response at the nacelle is closer to experimental results for a lower damping ratio, but the
response at the upper joint is closer to experimental results for a higher damping ratio. Thus, the
damping value of 1% of critical was chosen for further analyses, as a compromise between the
nacelle response and the upper joint response.
3.8.1.2 AERODYNAMIC DAMPING
During operation, the total damping of the wind turbine is increased, as the aerodynamic
damping experienced by the wind turbine is around 5% (Witcher, 2005). However, this thesis only
analyses a parked wind turbine, thus aerodynamic damping is ignored.
3.8.2 INCREMENTAL NONLINEAR ANALYSIS
The reference earthquake (143% of the eastwest component of the 1992 strikeslip Landers
Earthquake) caused a peak relative displacement of 51 mm in the wind turbine and a maximum
stress of 80 MPa. As such, it was safely below yield. For the incremental analyses, the acceleration
of the reference earthquake was magnified by factors of 4, 8, and 10. A summary of results is
presented in Table 3.4 and the displacement response is shown in Figure 3.27.
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 42 
Table 3.4: Summary of results of incremental timehistory analyses for the UCSD tower
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Magnification
Factor
max
(% H)
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
Peak
Acceleration at
Hub Height
1 0.23 % 80 0.02 % 0.59g
4 0.88 % 173 0.02 % 2.24g
8 2.22 % 406 0.32 % 2.79g
10 6.07 % 784 3.43 % 3.15g
Figure 3.27: Displacement response of incremental timehistory analysis of small wind turbine
The response increased linearly up to the analysis with a magnification actor of 4. At a
magnification factor of 8, the response showed some nonlinear behaviour and the wind turbine
tower remained slightly offcentre. At a magnification factor of 10, the tower experienced severe
yielding, buckled just above the lower joint, and was left with large residual deformation.
3.8.2.1 FAILURE MODE
At the magnification factor of 8, the tower was already showing signs of large ovalisation just
above the lower joint. The tower was thus expected to buckle at that location in subsequent
analyses. Moreover, the tower wall at that location had a significant angle change which is likely to
attract a buckling failure to that location. This was indeed found to be the case, as the tower
buckled at that location during the analysis with a magnification factor of 10. The buckled shape is
shown in Figure 3.28.
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 43 
Figure 3.28: Buckled shape of UCSD wind turbine tower analysis at a magnification factor of 10
3.9 SUMMARY
The finite element decisions described in this chapter have been validated and shown to capture
several behaviours that are essential to the analysis of a thinwalled steel wind turbine tower.
Geometric and material nonlinearities were incorporated, and the elements chosen were shown to
adequately represent the expected behaviours. Mesh sensitivity studies were carried out on fully
nonlinear models to determine that a ratio of element sizetothickness of less than or equal to 12 is
required for areas where local buckling may occur, but that this ratio can be much higher in other
areas. Refinement of the mesh was found to be acceptable, but care must be taken that the
transition zone between mesh sizes does not affect the failure.
Comparison of one FE model for pure flexure with an experimental specimen suggested that the
FE analysis slightly overestimated the peak capacity in flexure. However, the response path was as
expected and the failure mode was captured very closely. Comparison of geometricallyidentical
models with different material properties showed that the numerical analysis is very much dependant
on the nonlinear material properties. Gradual yielding material properties were chosen for
subsequent analyses as they are considered representative of coldrolled plates, as would be used in a
typical wind turbine tower.
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 44 
Axial compression analyses did not exhibit the expected behaviour. Despite employing Class 4
sections, local buckling did not occur before global buckling, but this shortcoming is not critical,
however, because axial loading is not expected to be a major component of the seismic response.
Local imperfections were included in some of the validation analyses to assess their effect on the
response. For the flexural analyses, the addition of local imperfection was insignificant for the Class
4 section and produced a response curve for the Class 3 section that was not similar to experimental
results. For the axial buckling analysis, the addition of local imperfections was still unable to
produce local buckling. Thus, it was not deemed worthwhile to include them in the full wind
turbine tower model.
Lastly, timehistory analysis of a small wind turbine tower was carried out and compared with
experimental results from a shake table test. The effect of damping was compared, incremental
analysis was carried out until the tower buckled, and the failure mode captured was as expected.
Thus the timehistory analysis method in ANSYS was deemed adequate.
The following chapter employs these findings to create a finite element model of the wind
turbine tower, which is subjected to some preliminary analyses before the nonlinear timehistory
analysis is carried out.
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 45 
CHAPTER 4: PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF VESTAS WIND
TURBINE TOWER
4.1 STRUCTURE CHARACTERISTICS
4.1.1 DIMENSIONS AND DETAILS
The 1.65 MW Vestas wind turbine tower that is studied in this thesis is composed of 4 sections
made up of smaller pieces welded together. The height of the tower is 78.23 m and the hub height
is 80 m. Figure 4.1 and Figure 4.2 show the base details and tower geometry (diameter, thickness,
and length of all the pieces), respectively. The plastic moment is also shown and is based on average
section properties. It should be noted that the plastic moment of piece 2 of section 1 is somewhat
different in actuality due to the thickened door wall and the door itself. Furthermore, Figure 4.3
shows the D/t ratio along the height of the tower and the class of each segment, based on an
assumed F
y
= 389 MPa. The nominal yield stress of the ASTM A709 steel is 50 ksi or 345 MPa, so
this assumed yield stress is realistic. The bottom 17.5 m of the Vestas tower is Class 3 and the rest of
the tower is Class 4 (CSA, 2009b).
4.1.1.1 DISCONTINUITIES
There are several discontinuities in the wind turbine tower. Some discontinuities are accounted
for in the FE model while others are not. The wind tower experiences changes in thickness along
the height. In actual towers, these changes are gradual, because the weld between each section is
specified to have a 1:4 slope (Vestas, 2006). In the FE model, this weld slope is not modelled.
Furthermore, the structure has two openings at the base: a door and a cable hole. The finite element
implemented herein leaves holes in the tower shell where the actual door and cable holes occur.
These details are shown in Figure 4.1 and are included in the model. The door section covers 1/6 of
the towers circumference and is 50 mm thick about twice as thick as the rest of the wall at that
height in the tower. The bottom section, where the cable hole is located, is already quite thick
(35 mm) and there is also a lip around the hole. It is important to include these details, as they are
discontinuities and thus a source for stress concentrations.
CHAPTER 4: PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 46 
(a) (b) (c)
Figure 4.1: Details at base of Vestas wind turbine tower
(a) front view / door (b) side view door (c) back view / cable hole
CHAPTER 4: PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 47 
.
Figure 4.2: Wind turbine tower dimensions and layout (Vestas, 2006)
11 2000 18 42600
10 1441 14 39200
9 1442 10 29400
8 2318 10 31400
7 2311 11 37200
4 6 2305 11 40000
5 2299 11 42900
4 2293 12 50000
3 2286 12 53400
2 2280 12 56800
1 2359 13 65400
9 2460 13 67300
8 2480 13 67300
7 2480 13 67300
6 2480 13 67300
3 5 2480 13 67300
4 2480 14 72500
3 2480 14 72500
2 2480 15 77700
1 2580 16 82900
4 2535 16 82900
2 3 2480 17 88100
2 2480 17 88100
1 2585 18 93200
9 2480 19 98400
8 2480 19 98400
7 2480 20 103600
6 2480 21 108800
1 5 2480 21 108800
4 2967 22 114000
3 2968 23 119100
2 2980 24 124300
1 1101 35 181300
78230 2282
76230 2650
74789 2718
73347 2786
71029 2895
68718 3004
66413 3112
64114 3220
61821 3328
59535 3436
57255 3543
54896 3650
52436
49956
47476
44996
42516
40036
37556
35076
32496 3650
29961
27481
25001
22416 3650
19936
17456
14976
12496
10016
7049
4081
1101
0 3650
height from D
m
piece
base (mm) (mm)
length
(mm)
thickness
(mm)
M
p
(kNm) piece section
CHAPTER 4: PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
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 48 
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 50 100 150 200 250 300
D/t ratio
Height
from
Base
(m)
Figure 4.3: D/t ratio of Vestas wind turbine tower sections along the height
with CSA (2009b) crosssection classification in bending
4.1.2 MASS
The mass of the Vestas wind turbine tower is summarized in Table 4.1. The tower mass is
computed by ANSYS based on the geometry and a density of steel of 7850 kg/m
3
. This value is
slightly greater than the handcalculated value due to the slight overlap of solid and shell elements
discussed in Section 3.4.3. The nacelle and rotor masses are added as concentrated mass elements at
the hub height of 80 m. The centre of mass of the tower is at 52.73 m above the base.
Table 4.1: Mass of Vestas wind turbine tower
Component Mass (tonnes)
Tower * 120
Nacelle 52
Rotor ** 43
Total 215
* tower mass: 113 tonnes specified in Vestas Specs
119 tonnes calculated by hand
120 tonnes computed by ANSYS
** rotor mass has 3.447m eccentricity from centreline of tower
class 3 class 4
CHAPTER 4: PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
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 49 
4.1.3 MODE SHAPES
Modal analysis of the Vestas wind turbine tower revealed that the fundamental period was fairly
long, 3.17 sec, and had a modal mass ratio of 65%. The predominant period of typical earthquakes
(further discussed in Section 5.1) is approximately 0.3 sec. Figure 4.4 shows the first 3 modes of the
structure in the horizontal direction perpendicular to the rotor, and describes some of the modal
properties.
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
Height
from
Base
(m)
Figure 4.4: Mode shapes of Vestas tower in horizontal direction
4.1.4 DAMPING
As discussed in Section 3.8.1, the damping of the wind turbine tower was estimated to be 1% of
critical in the first and second mode. The damping is specified in ANSYS using Rayleigh damping,
which was also discussed in Section 3.8.1.
4.2 FINITE ELEMENT MODEL OF VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
The Vestas wind turbine tower FE model was based on the validation models discussed in the
previous chapter. The flanges were made of 20noded solid elements and the wall was made of 8
noded shell elements. All nodes at the base were connected to one point at the origin using rigid
link elements. The nodes at the top were all connected to one point at the hub height (80 m), where
there was also a concentrated mass element representing the nacelle mass. This point was then
Modal Modal
Participation Mass
Period Factor Ratio
Mode 1 3.17 s 11.81 65%
Mode 2 0.38 s 5.58 14%
Mode 3 0.15 s 3.22 5%
* modes normalized to mass matrix
** modes of horizontal direction perpendicular to rotor
CHAPTER 4: PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 50 
rigidly connected to another point mass at the same height, but 3.447 m away from the centreline of
the tower. This point represented the rotor mass and is shown at the top of Figure 4.5.
The mesh of the tower had an aspect ratio of 1 for the bottom section of the tower. Above the
bottom section, the aspect ratio was 3, but the mesh was refined as it approached the flanges such
that the ratio would be 1 near the flanges. The mesh had a highly variable element sizetothickness
ratio (s
e
/t) due to the variation in thickness. The mesh is shown in Figure 4.5, along with the
approximate s
e
/t and the aspect ratio along the height. The element size was taken as the smaller
dimension of the elements. The element sizetothickness ratio at the base was slightly higher than
the ratio decided upon in the previous chapter, but it was verified that this mesh was still able to
capture the desired buckling behaviour of the tower.
The material properties employed for the subsequent analyses are those having gradual yielding,
as discussed in Section 3.3.
CHAPTER 4: PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
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 51 
Figure 4.5: Mesh of Vestas wind turbine tower
s
e
/t s
e
/t
11 11
16 16
24
24
23
24
25
23
24
25
24
24
24
24
24
24
24
24
23
23
23
21 21
20
20 20
19
19
19
18 18
17
17
17
16
15 15
15
14
14 13
13
9 9
aspect ratio 1
aspect ratio 2
aspect ratio 1
aspect ratio 3
aspect ratio 3
aspect ratio 1
aspect ratio 1
rotor mass element
nacelle mass element
CHAPTER 4: PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
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 52 
4.3 PUSHOVER ANALYSIS
4.3.1 BACKGROUND
Pushover analysis is a simplified inelastic analytical procedure that was developed to estimate the
seismic response of structures. Elastic analysis does not accurately predict forces and deformations
after a structure begins to be damaged during an earthquake. Inelastic timehistory analysis is
considered one of the most realistic analytical approaches to evaluate the performance of a structure
during seismic activity, but it is also very complex and timeconsuming (Tso and Moghadam, 1998).
Thus, pushover analysis was developed as the compromise between the two. There are several uses
for pushover analysis: to identify regions where inelastic deformations are expected to be high, to
identify strength irregularities, to obtain realistic estimations of force demands, to predict the
sequence of failure of the structural components, and to determine the capacity curve of the
structure (Antoniou and Pinho, 2004). There are also several interpretations on how to carry out
this type of analysis.
The conventional method is to apply and monotonically increase a predefined lateral load
pattern. This pattern is kept constant throughout the analysis. This procedure has been criticized
for certain limitations, such as its inability to account for the progressive stiffness degradation, which
leads to a significant increase in the period of the structure and in its modal characteristics.
Furthermore, it has been shown that deformation predictions can be quite inaccurate if higher
modes are important or if the structure is loaded heavily into the nonlinear postyield range
(Antoniou and Pinho, 2004). Another problem with conventional pushover analysis is that it does
not account for all sources of energy dissipation associated with a dynamic response, since it is a
static method. Only material straining is captured, while kinetic energy, viscous damping, and
duration effects are neglected.
Attempting to overcome these limitations, several pushover methods considering higher mode
effects have been developed: multimodal pushover (MMP) (Sasaki et al., 1998), pushover results
combination (PRC) (Moghadam, 2002), modal pushover analysis (MPA) (Chopra and Goel 2002),
consecutive modal pushover (CMP) (Poursha et al., 2009). All the aforementioned higher mode
methods require several pushover analyses to be carried out corresponding to the different modes,
and then combine the results.
There are also a few methods that take the higher modes into account by determining an
invariant load pattern based on the higher mode shapes. The upperbound pushover analysis
procedure (Jan et al., 2004) determines the load pattern by combining the first two modes based on
CHAPTER 4: PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
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 53 
their modal participation factors, and the design elastic displacement response spectrum.
Furthermore, the method of modal combinations (MMC) (Kalkan and Kunnath, 2004) is similar to
the upperbound method, but allows the inclusion of more modes and uses the elastic acceleration
spectrum. The simplest multimode load pattern is described by Barros and Almeida (2005) and is
obtained by the linear addition of the desired number of mode shapes scaled by their respective
modal participation factors.
The methods discussed above that take into account higher mode effects do not consider
damage accumulation and the resulting modification of the modal parameters. This has led to the
development of many fully adaptive methods, where the load distribution changes as the structure is
deformed. Unfortunately, many of these methods have been shown to provide only a slight increase
in accuracy, while demanding huge computational efforts (Antoniou and Pinho, 2004). At this level
of complexity and computational demand, it has been argued that it may be easier and more accurate
to carry out a nonlinear time history analysis.
4.3.2 PUSHOVER ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWER
Most of the pushover procedures discussed, even the conventional ones, have been developed
and validated for buildings and bridges. None have been tailored for a structure similar to a wind
turbine tower. As such, a very complex pushover analysis was not carried out. Instead, a multimode
load pattern (Barros and Almeida, 2005) was used to determine the capacity of the tower and to get
a rough idea of how the wind turbine tower structure behaves. The load pattern consisted of a
linear combination of the first three modes in the horizontal direction, as follows:
i i
LP = (Equation 4.1)
where LP = load pattern
i
= modal participation factor of mode i
i
= mode shape of mode i, normalized to mass matrix
The resulting load pattern using the first three modes in the horizontal direction is shown in
Figure 4.7. The resultant of this force pattern acts at 45.9 m above the ground. The pushover
analysis was carried out at 22.5 intervals around the circumference of the tower (Figure 4.6) to
determine the weakest angle of incidence. Additionally, a pushover analysis was carried out without
modelling the door and cable hole at the bottom of the tower to determine if those details are
indeed necessary in the model of the Vestas wind turbine tower.
CHAPTER 4: PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
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 54 
Figure 4.6: Direction of pushover analyses
Figure 4.7: Multimode load pattern for pushover analysis of Vestas wind turbine tower
4.3.2.1 IMPOSED IMPERFECTIONS
No data was available on actual imperfections from a wind turbine tower, thus no local or global
imperfections were added. The eccentricity of the rotor combined with the discontinuities in the
tower create some asymmetry, which is enough to trigger a failure.
Due to the variations in thickness and diameter along the towers height, the addition of local
imperfections would have entailed a lot of guesswork and could have caused a failure in a fictitious
location. It also could have generated an unrealistic response curve, as was the case for the
validation models discussed in Section 3.6.2.3. Based on those validation models, it is acknowledged
that not adding local imperfections may result in an overprediction of the peak load of about 5%.
0
22.5
45
67.5
90
112.5
135
157.5
180
door cable
hole
X
Z
CHAPTER 4: PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
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 55 
0
30000
60000
90000
120000
Base
Moment
(kNm)
4.3.3 RESULTS OF PUSHOVER ANALYSIS
The capacity curve (total load vs. top displacement) of the pushover analysis at 0 with gradual
yielding material properties is shown in Figure 4.8 and the failure mode is shown in Figure 4.9. The
peak resultant force that the tower could sustain was 2544 kN, corresponding to a base moment of
116.9 MNm. The failure consisted of buckling of the tower wall immediately above the door
section, the latter being much thicker than the surrounding tower wall. The capacity curve of the
same analysis but with material properties having a yield plateau is also shown in Figure 4.8. As with
the validation analyses, the peak capacity is reduced slightly, but the overall response of the tower is
very similar.
The capacity curve at the other angles of incidence was very similar to that at 0, but the peak
load varied slightly. This variation is shown in Figure 4.10, and the variation of top displacement at
the peak load is shown in Figure 4.11. The lowest peak load is achieved when the angle of incidence
is 22.5, followed by 45. This is believed to be the case because the compression side is very close
to the corner of the thickened tower door section, so stress concentrations for those analyses are
almost exactly at the location where the buckle forms, thereby causing failure earlier than when the
tower is pushed in any other direction.
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
0 2000 4000 6000 8000
Top Lateral Deflection (mm)
Total
Lateral
Load
(kN)
Figure 4.8: Loaddisplacement curves for pushover analysis at 0 for material properties
with gradual yielding and with yield plateau
M
p
M
y
Material Properties:
gradual yielding
yield plateau
CHAPTER 4: PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
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 56 
109000
113000
117000
121000
Peak
Base
Moment
(kNm)
Figure 4.9: Buckled failure of Vestas wind turbine tower subjected to pushover analysis at 0
2350
2450
2550
2650
0 22.5 45 67.5 90 112.5 135 157.5 180
Angle (deg)
Peak
Lateral
Load
(kN)
Figure 4.10: Peak load for pushover analysis acting at various angles
3000
3500
4000
4500
0 22.5 45 67.5 90 112.5 135 157.5 180
Angle (deg)
Top
Displacement
at Peak Load
(mm)
Figure 4.11: Top displacement at peak load for pushover analysis acting at various angles
The analysis without the door and cable hole reached a peak load of 2630 kN at a displacement
of 4180mm, and also had a similar response curve to the one shown for the pushover analysis at 0.
However, the failure was at a different location, above the fourth piece of section 1 at 10 m above
the base. Thus, the door and cable hole details were included in subsequent analyses to ensure that
no door or
cable hole
no door or
cable hole
CHAPTER 4: PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
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 57 
the location of local buckling failures occurs according to the details of the actual wind turbine
tower.
4.3.3.1 INTERPRETATION OF PUSHOVER ANALYSIS RESULTS
The maximum base moment that can be sustained by the Vestas wind turbine tower before
collapse is 110 MNm, as approximated by the pushover analysis. The theoreticallycalculated yield
moment of the section that failed is 93 MNm, and the plastic moment is 119 MNm. Thus, the
moment reached by the tower was 18% higher than the yield moment and 8% lower than the plastic
moment. This behaviour was expected because the bottom 17 m of the tower, which is where the
failure occurred, is Class 3 in bending.
Yielding of the material around the door opening begins at a top displacement of about
1900 mm, and yielding of the tower wall away from the openings begins at a top displacement of
2400 mm. Thus, for subsequent seismic analyses, residual displacements must be evaluated if the
top relative displacement is greater than 1900 mm.
4.4 SUMMARY
The Vestas wind turbine tower was presented in detail and modelling decisions were discussed.
Discontinuities in the tower were considered sufficiently asymmetric to trigger failures in the tower,
and additional imperfections were not added. The tower was subjected to a pushover analysis with a
multimode load pattern, and it was decided to include the door and cable hole details at the bottom
of the tower in order to capture any failure modes that may be affected by those details. The onset
of yielding at a top displacement of 1900 mm (or 2.4% of the hub height of 80 m) suggests that any
seismic excitation that produces a top displacement greater than that value will result in permanent
residual deformations. The following chapter investigates the response of the tower subjected to a
suite of ground motion records and further verifies the conclusions of the pushover analyses.
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 58 
CHAPTER 5: NONLINEAR TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS OF THE
VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
The Vestas wind turbine tower was subjected to incremental nonlinear timehistory analysis to
assess its response to seismic events. Also know as incremental dynamic analysis (IDA), this type of
analysis is characterized by a suite of earthquake records that represents the seismic hazard in a given
area. The structure is then subjected to increasing intensities of those records until failure is
reached. The earthquake suite employed in this chapter is used to assess the wind turbine towers
capacity until failure, to define limit states that describe the state of the structure as it is subjected to
increasing earthquake loads, and to assess the effect of damping and that of the vertical acceleration
component.
5.1 EARTHQUAKE SUITE
The earthquake records considered in the subsequent analyses were strong ground motions from
the Los Angeles (LA) area in California. This area was chosen to investigate the overall response of
the tower because it is highly seismic and has many historical records from which to assemble a suite
of records. A further study on the seismic response of the wind turbine tower in the Canadian
seismic environment is presented in the following chapter.
This suite of earthquakes is representative of earthquakes having a 475year return period, or a
probability of exceedance of 10% in 50 years. This is typically defined as the designbased
earthquake (ASCE, 2005). The records were taken on firm soil conditions. These strong motion
ground records were developed for the SAC Phase 2 Steel Project (Somerville et al., 1997) with the
intent of providing response spectra and timehistories for use in case studies, trial applications, and
topical investigations.
These ground motion records were originally scaled by various factors in the SAC Phase 2 Steel
Project, and were then further scaled by a factor of 1.1 to match the mean of the earthquake
response spectra to the target spectrum obtained using the procedure prescribed in ASCE/SEI 7
(2005), assuming class D soil. These scaled records are considered the reference earthquakes and are
then magnified by factors of 1.5, 2, 3, etc. until collapse. Due to the damping factor of the target
response spectrum of 5%, the spectra of the earthquake records was also computed using 5%
damping. The acceleration response spectra are shown in Figure 5.1. There is good agreement
between the design response spectrum and the mean response spectrum, with slight deviations in
the constant acceleration period range. The maximum and minimum envelopes are also shown.
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SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 59 
The displacement spectra were also computed because the fundamental period, T
1
, is long, thus
discrepancies between the design spectrum and the mean spectrum are hard to detect on the spectral
acceleration figure. The displacement spectra are shown in Figure 5.2, where it can be seen that the
deviation at the fundamental period is not significant.
The properties of the ground records in this earthquake suite are summarized in Table 5.1, and
the accelerograms of the 20 records are shown in Figure 5.3. The 20 ground motion records are
orthogonal components from 10 earthquakes. Typically, each record is considered independently,
because most buildings have separate orthogonal lateralload resisting systems. However, the wind
turbine tower is one unit and the response in one direction can affect the response in the orthogonal
direction as well. Thus, ground motions in both orthogonal directions are applied simultaneously.
Table 5.1: Properties of LA earthquake suite records
Name Record
Magnitude
Distance
(km)
Duration
(s)
Scale
Factor
Predominant
Period (s)
Scaled
PGA (g)
LA01 0.292 0.507
LA02
Imperial Valley, 1940, Elcentro 6.9 10 53.48 2.211
0.333 0.743
LA03 0.224 0.433
LA04
Imperial Valley, 1979, Array #05 6.5 4.1 39.39 1.111
0.250 0.537
LA05 0.242 0.332
LA06
Imperial Valley, 1979, Array #06 6.5 1.2 40 0.924
0.225 0.258
LA07 0.268 0.463
LA08
Landers, 1992, Barstow 7.3 36 80 3.520
0.283 0.468
LA09 0.261 0.572
LA10
Landers, 1992, Yermo 7.3 25 80 2.387
0.219 0.396
LA11 0.205 0.732
LA12
Loma Prieta, 1989, Gilroy 7.0 12 40 1.969
0.247 1.066
LA13 0.395 0.746
LA14
Northridge, 1994, Newhill 6.7 6.7 60 1.133
0.357 0.723
LA15 0.212 0.587
LA16
Northridge, 1994, Rinaldi RS 6.7 7.5 14.95 0.869
0.205 0.638
LA17 0.311 0.626
LA18
Northridge, 1994, Sylmar 6.7 6.4 60 1.089
0.299 0.899
LA19 0.229 1.121
LA20
North Palm Springs, 1986 6.0 6.7 60 3.267
0.190 1.085
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 60 
0
1
2
3
4
0 1 2 3 4
Period, T (s)
Spectral
Acceleration,
S
a
(g)
Figure 5.1: Elastic acceleration response spectra for earthquake suite considered
0
0.03
0.06
0.09
0.12
0 1 2 3 4
Period, T (s)
Spectral
Displacement,
S
d
(g/s
2
)
Figure 5.2: Elastic displacement response spectra for earthquake suite considered
Maximum Envelope
Mean of 20 Scaled Records
Minimum Envelope
Design Spectrum
Modal Periods T
3
T
2
T
1
Maximum Envelope
Mean of 20 Scaled Records
Design Spectrum
Minimum Envelope
Modal Periods T
3
T
2
T
1
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 61 
Figure 5.3: Accelerograms of 20 scaled ground motion records of the LA earthquake suite
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 62 
5.1.1 EARTHQUAKE INPUT IN TIMEHISTORY ANALYSES
In the timehistory validation analysis of the UCSD wind turbine (Section 3.8), acceleration was
applied directly to the base of the structure in one direction. However, for the Vestas wind turbine
tower, applying the acceleration in two horizontal directions caused severe convergence difficulties.
It was decided to convert the acceleration ground motion records to displacement records by
integrating twice. This displacement was then applied at the base in the x and the z directions (the
ydirection is the vertical direction). It was later verified that the acceleration experienced at the base
of the tower was indeed the same as the original accelerogram. At the end of the record, the
analyses were continued for an additional 60 sec of free vibration until the towers oscillations
diminished to near zero.
More than 80 analyses were carried out based on various increments of the 10 earthquakes in the
suite. This is discussed further in the next section. Each analysis was carried out by applying two
orthogonal horizontal components. Three analyses included the vertical component to assess its
influence. Six analyses were carried out with varied damping to assess the degree to which the
specified damping values affect the response. The damping of the tower was typically specified at
1% of critical for the first and second modes.
5.1.2 SCALING OF EARTHQUAKE RECORDS
There are concerns about the validity of scaling records because weaker records that have been
scaled up may not be representative of stronger records (Vamvatsikos and Cornell, 2002). However,
scaling ground motion records up or down by manipulating the amplitude of records is not
uncommon in practice or in research, and is increasingly done as incremental dynamic analysis gains
popularity. For this thesis, the accelerograms described in this section were taken as the reference
records. Although initially scaled to match the target spectrum, the records that match the spectrum
are considered to have a magnification factor of 1 when referring to the incremental dynamic
analyses that follow. The reference earthquake was magnified by factors 2, 3, 4, etc., until collapse
was reached. This type of stepped scaling algorithm is not extremely efficient (Vamvatsikos and
Cornell, 2002) as it may result in too many analyses in the linear part of the incremental dynamic
analysis curve and possibly not enough analyses when the structure is nearing collapse. However, it
was employed because of the uncertainty of the response of the wind turbine tower. A magnification
factor of 1.5 was also included in the analysis cases, as it represents the maximum considered
earthquake for the Los Angeles area.
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 63 
5.2 RESULTS OF LA01 & LA02 (IMPERIAL VALLEY, 1940, ELCENTRO)
Several results were extracted from the incremental timehistory analyses. The results from one
earthquake, LA01 & LA02 (Imperial Valley, 1940, Elcentro), are described in detail and are
presented in this section. This includes: a summary of the displacement results of the incremental
analyses, listed in Table 5.2; the displaced shape of the wind turbine tower at various magnification
factors, described and shown in Section 5.2.2; the incremental timehistory displacement response,
described and shown in Section 5.2.3; and orbit plots as seen in plan view, discussed and shown in
Section 5.2.4.
Table 5.2: Summary of displacement results of timehistory analyses subjected to LA01 & LA02
(Imperial Valley, 1940, Elcentro)
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Rotation
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Factor
max
(% H)
plan
max
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
plan
Damage State Reached
1 1.18 % 326 0.057 185 0.03 % 332
1.5 1.63 % 326 0.077 253 0.03 % 320
2 2.06 % 158 0.091 305 0.02 % 235
2.9** 2.80 % 0.123 389 0.02 %
0.2% Residual OutofStraightness
& First Yield
3 2.92 % 322 0.128 400 0.23 % 315
4 3.56 % 159 0.167 438 0.30 % 311
4.4** 3.80 % 1.524 521 1.00 % 1.0% Residual OutofStraightness
5 4.20 % 160 3.716 656 2.14 % 351 First Buckle / Loss of Tower
6 4.57 % 161 4.135 753 2.68 % 336
7 4.99 % 162 2.533 750 2.48 % 180
** interpolated values
The values listed in the table (peak displacement, peak rotation, peak stress, residual
deformation, and damage state) are described in detail in the following subsections. Detailed results
from the other earthquakes are presented in Appendix A, and a summary of all results from the LA
earthquake suite is presented in Section 5.3.
5.2.1 INTENSITY AND DAMAGE MEASURES
The results from an incremental dynamic analysis are typically presented as the damage measure
on the horizontal axis versus the intensity measure on the vertical axis.
The intensity measure is commonly the peak ground acceleration, the peak ground velocity, or
the 5% damped spectral acceleration of the structures firstmode period (Vamvatsikos and Cornell,
2002). The intensity measure should be chosen such that the dispersion of all the incremental time
history analysis curves is minimized. For the earthquake suite used in this chapter, the intensity
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 64 
measure employed was the magnification factor. Since all the earthquakes were chosen to represent
the design response spectrum, the magnification factor represents the intensity of the ground
motion with respect to the intensity of the designbased earthquake. Other intensity measures
investigated were the peak ground displacement, the peak ground velocity, and the peak ground
acceleration. The IDA curves employing all of these intensity measures are included in Appendix A,
Section A.10. It was found that the dispersion of the curves was smallest when the magnification
factor was used as the intensity measure, followed closely by the peak ground velocity.
The damage measure is typically the peak roof drift of a structure or its peak interstorey drift
angle (Vamvatsikos and Cornell, 2002). Several damage measures were considered: the peak
displacement, the peak rotation, and the residual displacement. These damages measures are
discussed below. Along with the peak stress, these damage measures constituted the results that
were obtained from the analysis and are presented in tabular format for all earthquakes.
5.2.1.1 PEAK DISPLACEMENT
For each analysis, the displacement at hub height (80 m) in the three orthogonal directions (x, y,
and z) was obtained for each time increment throughout the analysis. The resultant displacement
was computed based on the two lateral displacements, and the maximum displacement was thus
obtained for each analysis. The peak displacement (
max
) is described as a percentage of the hub
height and the angle of the wind turbine tower in plan view (
plan
, shown in Figure 5.4). This angle
should not be confused with the angle of incidence employed in the previous chapter, where an
angle of incidence of 22.5 (equivalent to
plan
=22.5 and
plan
=337.5) was found to be the weakest
direction of the tower. However, the angle of the tower in plan view was included in the results to
determine if there is a weaker direction.
Figure 5.4: Top view of tower showing definition of angle in plan view
door
cable
hole
X
Z
plan
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 65 
5.2.1.2 PEAK ROTATION
The rotation of the beam, , was computed at a specific time through the analysis, typically at the
time the peak displacement occurred. Initially, the rotation of the beam was computed at several
instances, but it was found that the peak rotation always occurred simultaneously with the peak
displacement if the tower buckled prior to the peak displacement occurrence.
To calculate the rotation, the displacement of the wind turbine tower was obtained at 33
elevations along its height. These elevations correspond to the dividing lines between the pieces of
the tower as described in Section 4.1.1. It is important to note that the distance between each point
is not the same. However, in the area of the tower that governs the peak rotation (from 1.1 m to
54.9 m in height), the average of this distance is 2.56m, and the minimum and maximum values are
2.46 m and 2.98 m, respectively. Thus, measuring the rotation of the tower based on these segments
is adequate. Furthermore, the displacement of the tower at each location along the height was taken
as the average of 12 evenly spaced points around the circumference at that elevation. This ensured
that the deformed shape represented the centreline of the tower and was not influenced by any
ovalisation that may have occurred.
The angle of each segment with respect to the vertical was determined. For the analyses where
the tower did not buckle, the peak rotation was computed as the greatest difference in this angle
between two adjacent segments. Figure 5.5 (a) shows the peak displaced shape for the IDA with a
magnification factor of 2, and it is evident that the transition between each segment is smooth and
thus the peak rotation was small. For the analyses where buckling did occur, the segments used to
determine the rotation are not adjacent, as the rotation of the segments very close to the buckle was
not considered accurate due to ovalisation of the tower and flattening on the tower wall on the side
opposite the buckle. Two or three segments were thus ignored. Two segments were ignored if the
buckle occurred exactly at the joint between two segments, while three segments were ignored if the
buckle occurred within one segment. For the IDA with magnification factor of 5, which had the
displaced shape at the peak rotation as shown in Figure 5.5 (b), three segments were ignored because
the buckle occurred within one segment, and the two above and below it were also influenced by the
effects described above. The two segments used to calculate the rotation are shown with a thick line
in the figure.
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 66 
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 1 2
Lateral Displacement (m)
Height
above
Base
(m)
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 1 2 3
Lateral Displacement (m)
Height
above
Base
(m)
(a) (b)
Figure 5.5: Displaced shape of wind turbine tower used to determine the peak rotation for
LA01 & LA02 (Imperial Valley, 1940, Elcentro)
(a) magnification factor 2
(b) magnification factor 5
5.2.1.3 PEAK STRESS
The peak stress listed is the peak Von Mises stress (
mises
). Although this is not one of the
damage measures, it is included in the results summary tables because it indicates how much the
material has yielded. Prior to buckling, the peak stress typically occurs at the side of the door hole
opening on the inside of the tower. In the incremental analyses where the tower buckles, the peak
stress is typically at the location of the buckle.
height
of
buckle
peak rotation,
max
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 67 
5.2.1.4 RESIDUAL DEFORMATION
The residual deformation (
res
) at hub height is stated as a percentage of the hub height and the
angle in plan view. As with the peak displacement, the angle in plan view of the residual
deformation was obtained and investigated to see if a particular direction typically sees the most
deformation.
In most cases, there was a small residual displacement even after analyses where the peak stress
does not exceed the yield stress of the material (F
y
= 389 MPa). This occurs because the stress
strain curve is slightly curvilinear until yield, as discussed in Section 3.3, due to the material
properties being similar to those of a coldformed tubular member.
5.2.2 DISPLACED SHAPE
The displaced shapes of the wind turbine tower for all the incremental analyses for LA01 and
LA02 (Imperial Valley, 1940, Elcentro) are shown in Figure 5.6 (a) and (b) for the peak displacement
and the peak rotation, respectively. Typically, the peak displacement and rotation occur at the same
time. However, for this earthquake, the analyses with magnification factors 5 and 6 developed a
buckle some time after the peak displacement occurred, and also at a different location from the
buckle that formed for incremental analysis 7. This is likely due to higher mode effects. Due to this
behaviour, the incremental dynamic analysis curve for this earthquake (shown in Figure 5.10 along
with all of the earthquake curves) is not typical of the rest of the earthquakes, as it displays weaving
behaviour, where there is successive softening and hardening in the response of the tower as the
initial accelerograms are scaled up. Vamvatsikos and Cornell (2002) discussed this type of response
and noted that it is not only the intensity of the earthquake that influences the response, but also the
pattern and the timing of the earthquake. However, it was not expected that the wind turbine tower
would exhibit this behaviour, considering that its response is almost linear until failure. This was the
only earthquake for which the wind turbine tower behaved in this manner.
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 68 
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 2 4 6
Lateral Displacement (m)
H
e
i
g
h
t
a
b
o
v
e
B
a
s
e
(
m
)
factor: 1
factor: 1.5
factor: 2
factor: 3
factor: 4
factor: 5
factor: 6
factor: 7
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 2 4 6
Lateral Displacement (m)
H
e
i
g
h
t
a
b
o
v
e
B
a
s
e
(
m
)
factor: 1
factor: 1.5
factor: 2
factor: 3
factor: 4
factor: 5
factor: 6
factor: 7
(a) (b)
Figure 5.6: Displaced shape of wind turbine tower at various magnification factors for
LA01 & LA02 (Imperial Valley, 1940, Elcentro)
(a) at peak displacement
(b) at peak rotation
The buckled shape of the wind turbine tower is shown in Figure 5.7 (a) and (b) for magnification
factors 5 and 7, respectively, at the time the peak stress was experienced. The buckled shape for
magnification factor 6 is not shown because it is very similar to that of magnification factor 5. The
global view of the tower in those figures is the side view of the buckled shape and not the side view
of the tower (as it was referred to in Section 4.1.1.1). The buckled shape appears very similar to the
buckle failures observed in the validation analyses and is very similar between all earthquakes. Thus,
the buckled shape is not shown for all analyses.
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 69 
Figure 5.7: Bucked shape of Vestas wind turbine tower analysis for
LA01 & LA02 (Imperial Valley, 1940, Elcentro)
(a) magnification factor 5, t = 44.64 s
(b) magnification factor 7, t = 56 s
5.2.3 TIMEHISTORY DISPLACEMENT RESPONSE
The timehistory displacement response of the Vestas wind turbine tower at hub height (80 m)
in orthogonal horizontal directions (x and z) is shown in Figure 5.8 (a) and (b) for the x and z
directions, respectively, for magnification factors 4 to 7. The response of the tower was fairly linear
up to the magnification factor of 4, thus the response for factors 1 to 3 are not plotted. For some
analyses, the response is linear up to a different magnification factor, thus the timehistory
displacement response figures are not of the same factors for all earthquakes. It is apparent from
this figure that the failure of incremental analysis 7 was different from that of analysis 5 and 6, as the
buckle forms in the opposite xdirection. Once again, this behaviour is not typical, and the failures
side view front view
opposite
side view
(a)
(b)
side view front view
opposite
side view
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 70 
of incremental analyses typically propagate in the same direction as the magnification factor is
increased.
Figure 5.8: Incremental timehistory displacement response of Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA01 & LA02 (Imperial Valley, 1940, Elcentro) at hub height
(a) xdirection response for magnification factors 4 7
(b) zdirection response for magnification factors 4 7
5.2.4 ORBIT PLOTS
The orbit plots in the xz plane for all magnification factors for LA01 & LA02 (Imperial Valley,
1940, Elcentro) are shown in Figure 5.9 (b) to (j). Figure 5.9 (a) shows the orientation of the tower
in plan view and the legend describing the stages in the orbit plots. The orbit plots differentiate
between the prepeak, postpeak, and free vibration stages of the analysis, and the maximum
displacement is also indicated. The orbit plots show that the increase in the response is almost linear
until buckling occurs, as the shape of the orbit plot grows consistently with increasing magnification
factors up to buckling, at which point the shape changes drastically. They also show the
predominant direction of the towers oscillations. Furthermore, the orbit plots validate the use of
applying the two orthogonal earthquake components simultaneously, as it is apparent that the
towers oscillations are not primarily in one direction.
free vibration begins at
53.48s until 120s (not
shown to completion)
(a)
(b)
free vibration begins at
53.48s until 120s (not
shown to completion)
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 71 
Figure 5.9: Orbit in xz plane (in mm) for Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA01 & LA02 (Imperial Valley, 1940, Elcentro)
(a) top view of tower and legend (e) factor: 3 (i) factor: 7
(b) factor: 1 (f) factor: 4
(c) factor: 1.5 (g) factor: 5
(d) factor: 2 (h) factor: 6
door
cable
hole
X
Z
(a)
(f) factor: 4
(g) factor: 5
(h) factor: 6
(b) factor: 1
(d) factor: 2
(e) factor: 3
(c) factor: 1.5
(i) factor: 7
tower buckles
tower
buckles
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 72 
5.2.5 DEFINITION OF DAMAGE STATES FOR WIND TURBINE TOWERS
Limit states are typically defined using prescribed values to ensure safety of occupants and
stability of buildings. However, wind turbine towers do not fall in the same category as buildings, as
they are generally not occupied. Therefore, four damage states were defined instead of limit states
to provide an indication of the damage sustained by the wind turbine tower.
5.2.5.1 0.2% RESIDUAL OUTOFSTRAIGHTNESS
The acceptable outofstraightness for wind turbine towers is not well defined, but this value for
other structures varies in Canadian standards between 0.1% (CSA S473, 2004; CSA S16, 2009b) and
0.2 % (CSA S37, 2001). This outofstraightness is typically defined for erection purposes. As
discussed in Section 5.2.1.4, there is some residual deformation before the yield stress is reached due
to the curvilinear material properties. Thus, an outofstraightness limit of 0.1% was considered to
be too severe.
For this thesis, a residual outofstraightness of 0.2% was taken as the first damage state. Linear
interpolation between the two analyses that enveloped a residual displacement of 0.2% of hub height
was carried out to determine the damage and intensity measures at this damage state.
5.2.5.2 FIRST YIELD
Linear interpolation between the two analyses that enveloped a peak yield stress, F
y
= 389 MPa,
was carried out to define the values of the second damage state.
5.2.5.3 1.0% RESIDUAL OUTOFSTRAIGHTNESS
Yielding of the tower typically falls within the 0.2% residual outofstraightness (the first damage
state) and 1.0% residual out of straightness. Due to the uncertainty of the material properties of the
wind turbine tower, this damage states was investigated as well. Similar to the previous two damage
states, linear interpolation was employed to obtain the values that define 1% residual outof
straightness.
5.2.5.4 FIRST BUCKLE / LOSS OF TOWER
The last damage state corresponds to the first incremental analysis where the tower buckles.
The wind turbine tower is considered as a complete loss after this damage state is reached, given the
fact that the sections comprising the tower are class 3 or class 4. However, the tower is likely still
standing after the first buckle is formed. For this damage state, there is no linear interpolation, and
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 73 
the lowest magnification factor that produced the buckling of the tower defined the intensity and
damage measures of this damage state.
Some of the incremental analyses were continued past the last damage state and a few buckled
very severely. The FE model was able to capture buckling failure for all of the earthquakes,
indicating a robust model.
5.3 SUMMARY OF RESULTS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
Detailed results for each earthquake are provided in Appendix A. This section presents the
incremental dynamic analysis curves and the average damage measure for all the damage states, as
well as the location of the buckle along the tower height. The method for deriving a fragility curve
is outlined, and fragility curves are created for the LA earthquake suite. Also discussed in this
section is the effect of the vertical earthquake component, the effect of damping on the response of
the tower, and a validation of the modelling decisions for the bolted flange connections of the wind
turbine tower.
Furthermore, analysis of the results of the LA earthquake suite suggests that there is no pattern
in the angle of the tower in plan view for either the peak displacement or the residual displacement.
Thus, for subsequent analyses, these values will not be investigated.
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 74 
5.3.1 INCREMENTAL DYNAMIC ANALYSIS CURVES
The incremental dynamic analysis curves for all earthquakes are shown in Figure 5.10. The IDA
curves were shown for three different damage measures: the peak displacement, the peak rotation,
and the residual displacement.
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
0 5 10 15
Peak Displacement (% H)
M
a
g
n
i
f
i
c
a
t
i
o
n
F
a
c
t
o
r
LA01 & LA02 (Imperial Valley, 1940, Elcentro)
LA03 & LA04 (Imperial Valley, 1979, Array #05)
LA05 & LA06 (Imperial Valley, 1979, Array #06)
LA07 & LA08 (Landers, 1992, Barstow)
LA09 & LA10 (Landers, 1992, Yermo)
LA11 & LA12 (Loma Prieta, 1989, Gilroy)
LA13 & LA14 (Northridge, 1994, Newhill)
LA15 & LA16 (Northridge, 1994, Rinaldi RS)
LA17 & LA18 (Northridge, 1994, Sylmar)
LA19 & LA20 (North Palm Springs, 1986)
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
0 1 2 3 4 5
Peak Rotation ()
M
a
g
n
i
f
i
c
a
t
i
o
n
F
a
c
t
o
r
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
0 1 2 3 4
Residual Displacement (% H)
M
a
g
n
i
f
i
c
a
t
i
o
n
F
a
c
t
o
r
Figure 5.10: Incremental dynamic analysis curves for three damage measures:
peak displacement, peak rotation, and residual displacement
5.3.1.1 ASSESSMENT OF DAMAGE MEASURES
The peak rotation is a good damage measure because it indicates very clearly when buckling
occurs. Although the response is not entirely linear up to that point, the increase in the peak
rotation once buckling occurs is very drastic in every case.
1
st
damage state:
0.2% residual outofstraight
3
rd
damage state:
1.0% residual outofstraight
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 75 
The residual displacement is an important damage measure because it is used to define two of
the damage states. Also, the second damage state, representing the first yield limit, is also easily
identifiable using this damage measure, as those analyses typically have a residual displacement
between 0.2% and 1.0%. Of the three damage measures, the residual displacement has the least
dispersion, which is an important factor.
The peak displacement appears to be the least indicative damage measure. There are a few
analyses where the tower buckled and where the peak displacement IDA curves do not give any
indication of this, depending on the height where the buckle formed.
5.3.1.2 AVERAGE DAMAGE MEASURES
The average damage measures for each damage state for the LA earthquake suite are shown in
Table 5.3, along with the minimum and maximum values of the damage measures. It is apparent
that the spread of the damage measures in any damage state was quite significant.
Table 5.3: Minimum, average, and maximum values of damage measures at each damage state
Damage
State
Peak
Displacement
max
(% H)
Peak
Rotation
max
Peak
Stress
mises
(MPa)
Residual
Displacement
res
(% H)
0.2% Residual
OutofStraightness
min: 1.85 %
average: 2.50 %
max: 3.02 %
min: 0.089
average: 0.120
max: 0.142
min: 228
average: 341
max: 387
0.2 %
First Yield
min: 2.71 %
average: 3.01 %
max: 3.46 %
min: 0.124
average: 0.144
max: 0.163
389
min: 0.20%
average: 0.34%
max: 0.75%
1% Residual
OutofStraightness
min: 3.71%
average: 4.34 %
max: 4.88 %
min: 0.177
average: 0.532
max: 1.524
min: 431
average: 473
max: 531
1.0 %
First Buckle /
Loss of Tower
min: 4.20 %
average: 6.23 %
max: 8.23 %
min: 2.46
average: 2.99
max: 3.72
min: 467
average: 655
max: 743
min: 1.66 %
average: 3.74 %
max: 6.22 %
5.3.2 LOCATION OF BUCKLE FOR 4
TH
DAMAGE STATE
Buckling of the wind turbine tower was expected to occur close to the base of the tower. Based
on the failure of the pushover analysis carried out in the previous chapter, the buckle should form
just above the door section. However, the timehistory analyses suggest a different location. The
location of the first buckle is listed in Table 5.4 for the LA earthquake suite, and it is apparent that
the buckle is equally likely to form 10 m above the base, between the fourth and fifth pieces of the
wind turbine tower, and about 43 m above the base.
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 76 
Table 5.4: Location of buckle for the LA earthquake suite
Earthquake
Location of
First Buckle
LA01 & LA02 44.9 m
LA03 & LA04 10 m
LA05 & LA06 10 m
LA07 & LA08 10 m
LA09 & LA10 4.1 m
LA11 & LA12 43.5m
LA13 & LA14 10 m
LA15 & LA16 42.5 m
LA17 & LA18 10 m
LA19 & LA20 42.5 m
5.3.3 DEFINITION OF FRAGILITY CURVES
Statistics of incremental dynamic analyses can be used to generate fragility curves, which serve
the purpose of estimating the probability of reaching a defined damage state for a range of intensity
values (Nasserasadi et al., 2008).
The incremental analyses were carried out using linearly increasing magnification factors, as
discussed in Section 5.1.2. As a result, the damage states generally occurred between two particular
incremental analyses. Linear interpolation was thus used to determine the intensity measures at the
first three damage states. For the fourth damage state, which occurred at the first buckling of the
tower, the intensity measures of the analysis wherein buckling first occurred were used to define that
damage state. Table 5.5 lists the intensity measure (IM) when the damage state (DS) of interest was
attained for each earthquake, as well as the mean of the intensity measures for each damage state.
Also listed in the table are the natural logarithms of the intensity measures for each earthquake and
the standard deviation of the natural logarithms for each damage state. These values are calculated
because the fragility curve is characterized by a lognormal distribution and thus employs the mean of
the intensity measures and the standard deviation of the natural logarithms of the intensity measures
(Deierlein et al., 2008).
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 77 
Table 5.5: Intensity measures (magnification factors) of each earthquake analysis and statistics
for all the damage states for the LA earthquake suite
Earthquake
IM
DS1
ln(IM)
IM
DS2
ln(IM)
IM
DS3
ln(IM)
IM
DS4
ln(IM)
LA01 & LA02
(Imperial Valley, 1940, Elcentro)
2.9
1.05
2.9
1.06
4.4
1.48
5
1.61
LA03 & LA04
(Imperial Valley, 1979, Array #05)
1.5
0.41
1.7
0.54
3.3
1.21
4
1.39
LA05 & LA06
(Imperial Valley, 1979, Array #06)
1.2
0.21
1.5
0.43
3.1
1.13
4
1.39
LA07 & LA08
( Landers, 1992, Barstow)
1.8
0.58
2.6
0.95
3.7
1.30
5
1.61
LA09 & LA10
(Landers, 1992, Yermo)
2.2
0.78
3.1
1.14
4.5
1.51
6
1.79
LA11 & LA 12
(Loma Prieta, 1989, Gilroy)
3.5
1.25
3.8
1.32
7
1.95
8
2.08
LA13 & LA14
(Northridge, 1994, Newhill)
3.6
1.28
3.9
1.35
5.5
1.54
7
1.95
LA15 & LA16
(Northridge, 1994, Rinaldi RS)
2.7
1.01
3.4
1.23
4.7
1.42
6
1.79
LA17 & LA18
(Northridge, 1994, Sylmar)
2.4
0.87
2.8
1.02
4.1
1.65
5
1.61
LA19 & LA20
(North Palm Springs, 1986)
2.7
0.98
4.6
1.53
5.2
1.45
7
1.95
Mean of IM (): 2.47 3.03 4.55 5.7
ln(): 0.903 1.107 1.515 1.740
Standard Deviation of ln(IM) (): 0.324 0.348 0.232 0.236
Summary of Damage States:
DS1: 0.2% residual outofstraightness
DS2: first yield
DS3: 1.0% residual outofstraightness
DS4: first buckle / loss of tower
The first step in generating the fragility curve is to define the statistics of the set of points that
the fragility curve describes. The mean, , is the average magnification factor (IM) when first yield is
reached for all earthquakes. As the fragility curve is characterized by a lognormal distribution, the
natural logarithm of the mean, ln(), is used in the definition of the fragility curve. Secondly, the
standard deviation, , is taken as the standard deviation of the natural logarithms of the
magnification factors. Using these statistics, the following lognormal distribution function defines
the probability that the damage will exceed the damage state at a given intensity measure:
) (
) ln( ) ln(
2
1
exp
2
1
)  (
0
IM d
IM
IM
IM DS damage p
IM
(

.

\

=
(Equation 5.1)
For example, for the second damage state, first yield, the above equation employs 0.348 as the
standard deviation, , and 3.03 as the mean, . The fragility curve that then emerges from this
equation is shown in Figure 5.11, labeled as the 2
nd
damage state. The graph can then be used to
CHAPTER 5: NONLINEAR TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS OF THE VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
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 78 
determine, for example, that the probability of exceeding first yield during an earthquake with a
magnification factor of 2 (i.e. twice as intense as the designbased earthquake) is 12%.
The fragility curves for the LA earthquake suite are shown in Figure 5.11 for all the damage
states. Considering that a magnification factor of 1.5 represents the maximum considered
earthquake, the fragility curves indicate that the only damage states that may be exceeded during the
maximum considered earthquake are the first damage state, at a probability of 6%, and the second
damage state, at a probability of 2%.
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
0 2 4 6 8 10
Magnification Factor
P
r
o
b
a
b
i
l
i
t
y
o
f
E
x
c
e
e
d
a
n
c
e
Figure 5.11: Fragility curves for LA earthquake suite for magnification factor intensity measure
Fragility curves for other intensity measures were also generated and are shown in Figure 5.12
for the peak ground velocity (PGV) intensity measure and in Figure 5.13 for the peak ground
acceleration (PGA) intensity measure.
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
0 3 6 9 12 15
PGV (m/s)
P
r
o
b
a
b
i
l
i
t
y
o
f
E
x
c
e
e
d
a
n
c
e
Figure 5.12: Fragility curves for LA earthquake suite for PGV intensity measure
1
st
damage state: 0.2% residual outofstraightness
2
nd
damage state: first yield
3
rd
damage state: 1.0% residual outofstraightness
4
th
damage state: first buckle / loss of tower
1
st
damage state: 0.2% residual outofstraightness
2
nd
damage state: first yield
3
rd
damage state: 1.0% residual outofstraightness
4
th
damage state: first buckle / loss of tower
26%
12%
CHAPTER 5: NONLINEAR TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS OF THE VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 79 
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
0 3 6 9 12 15
PGA (g)
P
r
o
b
a
b
i
l
i
t
y
o
f
E
x
c
e
e
d
a
n
c
e
Figure 5.13: Fragility curves for LA earthquake suite for PGA intensity measure
5.3.4 EFFECT OF VERTICAL EARTHQUAKE COMPONENT
The vertical earthquake component was included in a few analyses in order to determine the
extent to which it affects the response of the wind turbine tower. The analysis was that of the tower
subjected to LA11 & LA12 (Loma Prieta, 1989, Gilroy). The properties of the vertical component
are listed in Table 5.6, along with those of the horizontal components. The peak vertical ground
acceleration is 0.723 g, almost as high as that of one of the horizontal components. Thus, the
vertical component for this particular earthquake record is quite significant.
Table 5.6: Properties of earthquake records for analyses that included a vertical component
Name Record Magnitude
Distance
(km)
Duration
(s)
Scale
Factor
Predominant
Period (s)
Scaled
PGA (g)
LA11 0.205 0.732
LA12 40 0.247 1.066
LA11V
Loma Prieta, 1989, Gilroy 7.0 12
1.969
0.101 0.723
Despite including such a significant vertical earthquake component, the response of the tower
was barely affected. This is not surprising, as the normal stress created in the towers bottom
section under gravity loads is only 5 MPa. On the other hand, the peak normal stress in the same
section due to bending is 65 MPa for the reference earthquake (magnification factor = 1). The
maximum increase in the normal compressive stress of the elements at the bottom of the wind
turbine tower was 2.2 MPa for the reference earthquake, and 3.5 MPa at a magnification factor of 2.
1
st
damage state: 0.2% residual outofstraightness
2
nd
damage state: first yield
3
rd
damage state: 1.0% residual outofstraightness
4
th
damage state: first buckle / loss of tower
CHAPTER 5: NONLINEAR TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS OF THE VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 80 
5.3.5 EFFECT OF DAMPING
The wind turbine towers sensitivity to damping was assessed by running the same analysis with
varied damping values: 0.5%, 1%, and 1.5%. The seismic records LA11 and LA12 (Loma Prieta,
1989, Gilroy) were used for this purpose, at magnification factors 1, 2, and 4.
The peak and prepeak response was not very heavily influenced, especially as the magnification
factor was increased. Table 5.7 presents the percent difference of the peak displacement of the
analyses with 0.5% and 1.5% damping, with respect to the 1% damping. It can be concluded that if
the peak response is the sole interest of a given analysis, then the amount of damping is not
extremely important.
Table 5.7: Variation of peak displacement compared to 1% damping for
LA11 and LA12 (Loma Prieta, 1989, Gilroy)
Damping (% of critical)
Factor 0.5 1.5
1 6.9% 5.3%
2 2.0% 2.3%
4 0.4% 1.3%
However, the postpeak timehistory response of the wind turbine tower is very much
influenced by the amount of damping, as can be seen from the orbit plots in Figure 5.14.
Also investigated was the resulting residual displacement, which was almost identical between
the various damping values, although the analyses with lower damping oscillate for much longer in
free vibration before the tower comes to stillness. Once again, it seems that the damage measure
(residual displacement) is not greatly influenced by the amount of damping, but the path of the wind
turbine tower is significantly different.
Analyses with higher magnification factors were not carried out, but it is expected that the
importance of the damping value becomes even more apparent as the tower yields more severely
and eventually buckles.
CHAPTER 5: NONLINEAR TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS OF THE VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 81 
Figure 5.14: Orbit in xz plane (in mm) for varying damping values
of wind turbine tower: 0.5%, 1.0% and 1.5% of critical
(a) magnification factor 1
(b) magnification factor 2
(c) magnification factor 4
5.3.6 VALIDATION OF CONNECTION MODELLING
As previously discussed, the bolted connections of the tower sections at the flanges were not
modelled, but the flanges themselves were included in the tower FE model to maintain the stiffness
added to the tower. The flange at the base of the tower need not be investigated, as it provides
many more bolts that are of a larger diameter than those used in the rest of the tower. The top
flange is also not investigated as the stresses are lower and because mechanical loads from the rotor
are assumed to govern. The intermediate flanges, however, are addressed in this section.
The bolts at the intermediate flanges are specified to have a minimum pretension of 510 kN
(Vestas, 2006). Properties of the bolts in the intermediate flanges of the tower are listed in Table
5.8.
(c)
(b)
(a)
door cable
hole
X
Z
CHAPTER 5: NONLINEAR TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS OF THE VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 82 
Table 5.8: Properties of bolts used in intermediate flanges of Vestas wind turbine tower
Property
Bolt M36, grade 10.9
Bolt diameter 36 mm
Area of bolt, A
b
1018 mm
2
Yield strength, F
y
940 MPa
Tensile strength, F
u
1040 MPa
Ultimate bolt capacity, T
u
794 kN
Analysis of the flange was carried out by taking a radial slice of the tower tributary to one bolt, as
shown in Figure 5.15, and then analyzing the slice as an Lflange. The flange was simplified as a
rectangular segment and the length of the flange, L
f
, was determined using the diameter of the tower
at the middle of the flange width.
(a) Crosssection of tower (b) Simplified flange geometry
Figure 5.15: Geometry of bolted connection of tower flange
Some of the characteristics of the flange connections are listed in Table 5.9. As the Lflange is
statically determinate, the maximum moment in the flange is easily determined for any applied force
by multiplying it by the distance from the edge of the tower wall to the centre of the bolt. The
deflection of the flange can also be determined approximately using the model of a cantilevered
beam fixed at the centre of the bolt and applying a force at the tip. The separation of the flanges at
the outside of the tower is then twice the calculated deflection, as both flanges would deflect the
same amount. The flange total separation was calculated for a tower wall force of 510 kN (equal to
the pretension in the bolts) and is listed in Table 5.9 for each of the intermediate flanges. It is
important to note that the stress in the tower wall referred to in Table 5.9 is the normal (axial) stress
above or below the flange. This is not the same as the peak stress listed in the results tables for all
the analyses, which usually occurs near the door opening.
w
f
L
f
t
f
CrossSection of Tower
Simplified Flange
w
f
angle:
360/(number of bolts)
b
CHAPTER 5: NONLINEAR TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS OF THE VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 83 
Table 5.9: Characteristics of wind turbine tower flanges
intermediate
flange 1
intermediate
flange 2
intermediate
flange 3
Number of bolts 112 112 84
Length of flange per bolt, L
f
98 mm 98 mm 132 mm
Thickness of flange, t
f
75 mm 70 mm 55 mm
Width of flange, w
f
172 mm 171 mm 140 mm
Distance from tower wall to bolt, b 56 mm 58 mm 61 mm
Amount of separation at bolt pretension
force, i.e. applied force of 510 kN
0.08 mm 0.12 mm 0.21 mm
Stress in tower wall to produce a bolt
force of 510 kN
(below / above)
262 / 276 MPa
311 MPa 287 MPa
Stress in tower wall to produce bolt
tensile failure, T
u
= 794 kN
(below / above)
408 / 431 MPa
485 MPa 447 MPa
The pretension of the bolts is exceeded at about the same time that the tower reaches the
second damage state, first yield (where yielding occurs at a stress concentration, not near the
flanges). Thus, any inelastic behaviour in the wind turbine tower will cause the bolt forces to exceed
the bolt pretension and elongate. This implies that any of the incremental analyses with a
magnification factor greater than that corresponding to the second damage state (first yield) may
violate the FE modelling assumption that the flanges remain rigidly connected.
The ultimate capacity of the bolts is never exceeded. At buckling, the peak tensile stress in the
tower above and below the flanges was approximately the yield stress of the material, 389 MPa,
which is lower than the stress in the wall required to produce bolt tensile failure (408 MPa to 485
MPa, see Table 5.9). As the stress above and below the flanges decreases drastically after the
formation of the buckle, the capacity of the connections is not exceeded.
5.4 SUMMARY
The limit states for the wind turbine tower were defined as 0.2% residual outofstraightness,
first yield, 1.0% residual outofstraightness, and first buckle. The last damage state, first buckle, was
deemed to result in a complete loss of the tower, because the tower remains with a kink at the
location of the buckle and is severely deformed. Considering these damage criteria, it was decided to
use the magnification factor for the intensity measure. The damage measures of peak displacement,
peak rotation, and residual displacement are maintained for subsequent analyses to be consistent.
Some result parameters were deemed unimportant and are not investigated in the next chapter.
Fragility curves were defined and sample fragility curves were created for the LA earthquake suite.
Some conclusions can be made regarding the behaviour of the tower under seismic loads.
Firstly, it was determined that it is not necessary to include the vertical acceleration component. The
CHAPTER 5: NONLINEAR TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS OF THE VESTAS WIND TURBINE TOWER
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 84 
increase in stresses with its inclusion is minimal. Secondly, a damping value of 1.0% for the first and
second modes was determined to be very influential in the postpeak response of the tower, but was
not significant in the peak and prepeak response. For this thesis, 1% damping is used in
subsequent analysis and is considered adequate, but damping is a significant characteristic of wind
turbine towers that should be investigated and defined more precisely in future studies.
Lastly, the normal stress in the tower wall adjacent to the bolted flange plate connections of the
wind turbine tower was investigated. It was found that the bolt applied load reached the tensile
preload at approximately the same time that the tower first yields (away from flange connections, at
a stress concentration). Also, the ultimate tensile capacity of the bolts only marginally exceeds the
yield capacity of the tower wall at the connections.
Comparison of the nonlinear timehistory analyses and the pushover analysis discussed in the
previous chapter indicate that existing pushover analysis methods are not an adequate replacement
for timehistory analysis, when it comes to wind turbine towers. The buckle in the timehistory
analyses did not form directly above the door section, as it did with the pushover analysis. Thus the
pushover analysis did not capture the correct failure mode. However, the prediction that first yield
would occur at a peak displacement of 2.4% of hub height was reasonable, as the average peak
displacement at which the yield stress was reached for the timehistory analyses of the LA
earthquake suite was 3% of hub height.
As the model of the wind turbine tower has been fully validated and the framework set up for
the incremental dynamic analysis of a wind turbine tower, the following chapter applies this
framework to Canadian sites and determines the seismic risk that wind turbines face in Canada.
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 85 
CHAPTER 6: INCREMENTAL ANALYSIS FOR TWO CANADIAN
SITES
The seismic design provisions of the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC, 2005) are
developed using the Uniform Hazard Spectra (UHS). The UHS represent the spectral acceleration
that has a specified probability of exceedance for each spectral period. Thus, the probability of
exceeding a UHS is constant at all periods (Adams and Atkinson, 2003). The incremental time
history analyses will start with the reference earthquake that is matched to the spectrum, and will
then be incremented as described in Section 6.3.
In order to assess the seismic response of the wind turbine tower for two Canadian locations, a
suite of earthquakes that are compatible with the NBCC UHS were required. Atkinson (2009)
created a series of simulated earthquake time histories over a range of magnitudes, distances, and site
conditions. There are several sets of time histories for Eastern and Western Canada. The
earthquake time histories are suitable for matching a target UHS for 2% probability of exceedance in
50 years. Atkinson (2009) provides a method of selecting records to create an appropriate suite.
6.1 EASTERN CANADA SITE
A few locations close to Toronto are currently being investigated for wind turbine farm
developments. The site that has the highest seismic risk is on the north shore of Lake Erie, south
west of Dunnville, Ontario. The UHS for this location was obtained using the online seismic hazard
interpolator from Earthquakes Canada (http://earthquakescanada.nrcan.gc.ca/hazard), a subsection
of Natural Resources Canada. The 2005 NBCC seismic hazard calculation output from the online
interpolator is included in Appendix B. Alternatively, the same data can be found in the Geological
Survey of Canada Open File 5813 (Halchuk and Adams, 2008). The site class was taken as C, which
has been adopted by the 2005 NBCC as the reference ground condition for which the acceleration
and velocitybased coefficients are taken as unity. The uniform hazard spectra for 2% in 50 years
for the Eastern Canada site are listed in Table 6.1.
Table 6.1: Spectral hazard values (S
a
(T)) and peak ground acceleration (PGA) for
the Eastern Canada site, 2% probability of exceedance in 50 years
Spectral
Period
Spectral
Acceleration
S
a
(0.2) 0.324g
S
a
(0.5) 0.157g
S
a
(1.0) 0.057g
S
a
(2.0) 0.019g
PGA 0.232g
CHAPTER 6: INCREMENTAL ANALYSIS FOR TWO CANADIAN SITES
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 86 
6.1.1 SIMULATED TIMEHISTORY RECORDS FOR THE EASTERN CANADA SITE
Of the simulated earthquake timehistories from Atkinson (2009), there were four record sets
for site class C from which the earthquake suite could be assembled. The average spectral
acceleration for each set is shown in Figure 6.1, along with the target UHS for 2% probability of
exceedance in 50 years. The name of each set of earthquakes indicates the region, the magnitude,
the site class, and the distance to the epicentre.
0
0.3
0.6
0.9
1.2
1.5
1.8
0 1 2 3 4
Period (s)
Spectral
Acceleration
(g)
Target Spectrum
East7C1
East6C1
East6C2
East7C2
Figure 6.1: 2005 NBCC UHS for the Eastern Canada site for 2% in 50 years
and average spectra of 4 record sets of simulated earthquakes
The period range over which the simulated spectra (SA
sim
) was matched to the target spectrum
(SA
targ
) was specified from 0.1 sec to 3.3 sec, as it covers the first three modes of the wind turbine
tower. Atkinson (2009) suggests that the lower magnitude records can be used to match the UHS
for low periods (0.1 sec to 0.5 sec) as well as the PGA, while the higher magnitude records can be
used to match the UHS for longer periods (0.5 sec to 2 sec).
6.1.2 EARTHQUAKE SUITE FOR THE EASTERN CANADA SITE
Atkinson (2009) suggests assembling an earthquake suite from only one record set that provides
the closest match to the target UHS for the specified period range. Although this is best for design
of a structure, as it results in the most critical timehistories for the given structure, it was decided to
use records from more than one record set. Since the purpose of the earthquake suite for the wind
turbine tower analysis is to extract fragility curves for the various damage states, the earthquake suite
should cover all possible seismic events in the location of interest, and not just those that are most
T
3
T
2
T
1
Modal Periods
Magnitude 7, Site Class C, 1426km
Magnitude 6, Site Class C, 1117km
Magnitude 6, Site Class C, 1731km
Magnitude 7, Site Class C, 42100km
CHAPTER 6: INCREMENTAL ANALYSIS FOR TWO CANADIAN SITES
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 87 
critical for the wind turbine tower. Furthermore, due to the wide range of period of the wind
turbine tower, there was no single record set that perfectly matched all periods of interest.
To pick the records that define the earthquake suite, the mean and standard deviation of
(SA
targ
/SA
sim
) were computed for each simulated earthquake timehistory and 7 records were chosen
based on these statistics. The aim was to use records with a low standard deviation so that the
simulated spectrum would have a good shape, but also records with a mean (SA
targ
/SA
sim
) in the
range of 0.5 to 2.0, because the mean also acts as the scaling factor, and any factor outside that
approximate range may yield an unrealistic record (Atkinson, 2009). An additional criterion was to
ensure that the average spectrum of the chosen records was in good agreement with the target
spectrum. Fulfilling these requirements as best as possible, 14 earthquake timehistories were
chosen to act as orthogonal components of 7 earthquakes. As in the previous chapter, both
orthogonal components were applied simultaneously. Table 6.2 lists these earthquakes and presents
the scale factor (also the mean of SA
targ
/SA
sim
) and PGA for each record. The accelerograms for
these records are shown in Figure 6.2.
Table 6.2: Scale factors and PGA of earthquake records chosen for the Eastern Canada site
Name
Earthquake
Record
Scale
Factor PGA Magnitude Distance
ECAN01
East 6C1 #40
East 6C1 #41
0.635
0.681
0.354g
0.280g
6 1117 km
ECAN02
East 6C2 #4
East 6C2 #5
0.963
0.699
0.291g
0.188g
ECAN03
East 6C2 #31
East 6C2 #32
0.812
0.800
0.146g
0.138g
6 1731 km
ECAN04
East 7C2 #1
East 7C2 #2
0.491
0.565
0.106g
0.112g
ECAN05
East 7C2 #14
East 7C2 #15
0.746
0.806
0.114g
0.096g
ECAN06
East 7C2 #32
East 7C2 #33
1.108
1.020
0.085g
0.111g
ECAN07
East 7C2 #40
East 7C2 #42
0.971
1.034
0.098g
0.108g
7 42100 km
The average spectrum of the 14 records is shown in Figure 6.3, along with the minimum and
maximum envelopes. There is good agreement between the average response spectrum and the
target spectrum. Furthermore, the average of the PGA of the lower magnitude records is 0.233g,
which is very close to the 2005 NBCC value of 0.232g.
CHAPTER 6: INCREMENTAL ANALYSIS FOR TWO CANADIAN SITES
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 88 
Figure 6.2: Accelerograms of 14 scaled ground motion records for the Eastern Canada site
CHAPTER 6: INCREMENTAL ANALYSIS FOR TWO CANADIAN SITES
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 89 
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5
Period (s)
Spectral
Acceleration
(g)
Figure 6.3: Acceleration response spectra for the Eastern Canada earthquake suite
for 2% in 50 years probability of exceedance
6.2 WESTERN CANADA SITE
Many locations that are being investigated for wind turbine farms in Western Canada are
offshore and in the northern parts of British Columbia. While those areas are much more seismic
than Eastern Canada, they do not represent the most severe seismic risk in Canada. Thus, the site
that was investigated was offshore, just south of Victoria, BC. It is possible that there will be future
developments of wind turbine towers around this area. As it can be seen from the UHS values listed
in Table 6.3, the seismic risk in this area is much higher than that of the Eastern Canada site.
Table 6.3: Spectral hazard values (S
a
(T)) and peak ground acceleration (PGA) for the Western
Canada site, 2% probability of exceedance in 50 years
Spectral
Period
Spectral
Acceleration
S
a
(0.2) 1.192g
S
a
(0.5) 0.803g
S
a
(1.0) 0.374g
S
a
(2.0) 0.183g
PGA 0.594g
6.2.1 SIMULATED TIMEHISTORY RECORDS FOR THE WESTERN CANADA SITE
Figure 6.4 shows the average spectra of the record sets for Western Canada (Atkinson, 2009)
and the target spectrum for that site. The Cascadia subduction zone records are a very poor match
for the UHS, but they match the first mode of the wind turbine tower very closely. Thus, one
Maximum Envelope
Mean of 14 Scaled Records
Target Spectrum
Minimum Envelope
Modal Periods T
3
T
2
T
1
CHAPTER 6: INCREMENTAL ANALYSIS FOR TWO CANADIAN SITES
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 90 
Cascadia earthquake was included in the analysis of the Western Canada site, but it was matched and
scaled based on the first modal period only, not the period range of 0.1 sec to 3.3 sec as previously
described. The rest of the earthquakes were still matched based on the period range of 0.1 sec to
3.3 sec. Thus, two Cascadia records were chosen along with twelve other records to provide 7
earthquake records to be used in the analysis of the Western Canada site.
0
0.3
0.6
0.9
1.2
1.5
0 1 2 3 4
Period (s)
Spectral
Acceleration
(g)
Target Spectrum
West6C1
West7C1
West6C2
West7C2
West9C
Figure 6.4: 2005 NBCC UHS for the Western Canada site for 2% in 50 years
and average spectra of 4 record sets of simulated earthquakes
6.2.2 EARTHQUAKE SUITE FOR THE WESTERN CANADA SITE
Table 6.4 lists the scale factors and the PGA of the chosen records, and Figure 6.5 shows the
accelerograms of the records.
T
3
T
2
T
1
Modal Periods
Magnitude 6, Site Class C, 813km
Magnitude 7, Site Class C, 1026km
Magnitude 6, Site Class C, 1331km
Magnitude 7, Site Class C, 30100km
Magnitude 9, Site Class C,
112201km (Cascadia Record)
CHAPTER 6: INCREMENTAL ANALYSIS FOR TWO CANADIAN SITES
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 91 
Table 6.4: Scale factors and PGA of earthquake records chosen for the Western Canada site
Name
Earthquake
Record
Scale
Factor PGA Magnitude Distance
WCAN01
West 6C1 #19
West 6C1 #21
1.108
1.373
0.661g
0.731g
6 813 km
WCAN02
West 7C1 #7
West 7C1 #9
0.713
0.718
0.408g
0.339g
WCAN03
West 7C1 #13
West 7C1 #14
1.520
1.435
0.506g
0.436g
WCAN04
West 7C1 #25
West 7C1 #26
0.905
0.908
0.512g
0.445g
WCAN05
West 7C1 #28
West 7C1 #30
0.974
0.720
0.497g
0.495g
7 1026 km
WCAN06
West 7C2 #13
West 7C2 #14
1.620
1.688
0.305g
0.400g
7 30100 km
WCAN07
West 9C #14 *
West 9C #15 *
0.754
1.025
0.099g
0.162g
9 112201 km
*Cascadia records, scaled to match 1
st
modal period
CHAPTER 6: INCREMENTAL ANALYSIS FOR TWO CANADIAN SITES
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 92 
Figure 6.5: Accelerograms of 14 scaled ground motion records for the Western Canada site
CHAPTER 6: INCREMENTAL ANALYSIS FOR TWO CANADIAN SITES
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 93 
Figure 6.6 displays the average spectrum of the twelve records (excluding the Cascadia records,
WCan07) and the minimum and maximum envelopes, and also shows the spectra of the two
Cascadia records that were chosen. The agreement of the average spectrum is very good in the
period range of interest, 0.1 sec to 3.3 sec, while the agreement of the Cascadia records is good at
the first period.
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5
Period (s)
Spectral
Acceleration
(g)
Figure 6.6: Acceleration response spectra for the Western Canada earthquake suite
for 2% in 50 years probability of exceedance
6.3 METHODOLOGY FOR SCALING RECORDS FOR IDA
For each record, the initial analysis was always the reference record that was matched to the
target spectrum. The second analysis was one that aimed to reach the first damage state, 0.2%
residualoutofstraightness. The results from the previous chapter on the incremental dynamic
analyses of the LA earthquake suite were used to estimate the magnification factor needed for the
second analysis, so that an unnecessary amount of analyses was not carried out in the linear part of
the IDA curve.
There are several existing algorithms that ensure that the discrete points that make up the IDA
curve provide the desired coverage (Vamvatsikos and Cornell, 2002). However, for this thesis, the
damage states are the main interest rather than the full IDA curve. Thus, the method described
below was used to try and minimize the number of analyses needed while still capturing all the
damage states.
Maximum Envelope
Target Spectrum
Minimum Envelope
Modal Periods T
3
T
2
T
1
Mean of 12 Scaled Records
Cascadia Records
CHAPTER 6: INCREMENTAL ANALYSIS FOR TWO CANADIAN SITES
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 94 
The increase of the peak displacement and the peak rotation was approximately linear until the
first or second damage state. These two damage measures were thus employed for determining the
magnification factor of the second analysis. A factor that accounts for slight nonlinearity of the
response, n, was determined. To do this, the average peak displacement at the first damage state,
max,DS1
, was divided by the peak displacement of the reference earthquake,
max,ref
, and was then
divided by the magnification factor at the first damage state, MF
DS1
. This was repeated for all
earthquake records and the average of all the records provided the factor necessary to account for
the slight nonlinearity of the response. The following equation summarizes this:


.

\

=
1 DS
ref max,
1 DS max,
MF / average n for all IDAs (Equation 6.1)
To determine the magnification factor necessary to reach the first damage state for subsequent
analyses, the above equation can be reworked to solve for the magnification factor, but using the
average peak displacement at which the first damage state was reached,
max,avg,DS1
, instead of
max,DS1
.
n / MF
ref max,
1 DS , avg max,
, 1 DS
(Equation 6.2)
The magnification factor can also be determined based on the peak rotation prediction, by
substituting rotation instead of displacement in the equations above. The magnification factor
actually employed in predicting the first damage state was the average of the two factors (based on
peak displacement and peak rotation).
6.3.1 EFFICIENCY OF METHOD
It was found that this method typically overpredicted the magnification factor for the first
damage state. The subsequent predictions of required magnification factors were based on linear
interpolation or extrapolation from the previous analyses, but still employing the n factor described
above. The linear interpolation was based on the residual displacement for the first and third
damage states, the peak stress for the second damage state, and the peak rotation and the peak stress
for the fourth damage state. The following flowchart (Figure 6.7) describes this process. There is
one condition: the difference between magnification factors should be at least 1, unless specifically
indicated otherwise. For example, if the prediction for the MF to achieve a particular damage state
is only greater than another magnification factor already analysed by 0.7, the subsequent analysis will
actually increase the magnification factor by 1.
CHAPTER 6: INCREMENTAL ANALYSIS FOR TWO CANADIAN SITES
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 95 
Figure 6.7: Flowchart of scaling procedure for the Canadian earthquake suites
no
predict MF for DS1 from
previous analyses, based
on linear interpolation of
residual displacement
DS1 enveloped
or reached
within 5%?
linearly interpolate to obtain
precise damage measures for DS3
predict MF for DS4 using
methodology outlined above,
considering the peak stress
DS4 reached?
i.e. tower buckled?
no
yes
predict MF for DS2 from
previous analyses, based
on linear extrapolation of
peak stress
DS2 enveloped
or reached
within 5%?
no
yes
linearly interpolate to obtain
precise damage measures for DS2
predict MF for DS3 from
previous analyses, based
on linear extrapolation of
residual displacement
DS3 enveloped
or reached
within 5%?
no
yes
predict MF for DS1 using
methodology outlined
DS1 reached
within 5%?
yes
no
linearly interpolate to obtain
precise damage measures for DS1
yes
increase MF by 1
decrease MF by 1
tower buckled?
yes
tower buckled? no
yes
no
START: initial analysis:
records matching UHS, SF=1
FINISH
DS4 has been reached at the
secondtolast analysis within a
magnification factor of 1
CHAPTER 6: INCREMENTAL ANALYSIS FOR TWO CANADIAN SITES
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 96 
6.4 RESULTS FOR EASTERN CANADA SITE
The analyses of the wind turbine tower at the Eastern Canada site with the records matched to
the UHS for that area produced a very slight response in the tower. The results are summarized in
Table 6.5.
Table 6.5: Summary of results of timehistory analyses for the Eastern Canada suite
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Rotation
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Analysis
max
(% H)
max
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
Estimated Magnification
Factor Required to Reach
First Damage State
ECan01 0.02 % 0.010 46 0 % 62
ECan02 0.03 % 0.009 44 0 % 51
ECan03 0.03 % 0.010 43 0 % 58
ECan04 0.08 % 0.006 44 0 % 29
ECan05 0.11 % 0.003 44 0 % 34
ECan06 0.07 % 0.007 43 0 % 28
ECan07 0.08 % 0.008 43 0 % 25
The last column of the table presents the estimated magnification factors required to reach the
first damage state based on the methodology presented in the previous section. The estimated
factors range from 25 to 62; records are unrealistic when scaled to that extent. However, it was
determined from scaling the Western Canada records that predicting the magnification factors for
specific damage states is quite inaccurate. Thus, the Eastern Canada suite was analysed using an
incremental factor of 10 to determine if further analyses are necessary. Those results are presented
in Table 6.6.
Table 6.6: Summary of results of timehistory analyses for the Eastern Canada suite
with magnification factor of 10
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Rotation
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Analysis and
Magnification
Factor
max
(% H)
max
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
ECan01 x 10 0.24 % 0.014 123 0 %
ECan02 x 10 0.30 % 0.014 126 0 %
ECan03 x 10 0.26 % 0.017 79 0 %
ECan04 x 10 0.76 % 0.035 140 0 %
ECan05 x 10 1.06 % 0.056 174 0.01 %
ECan06 x 10 0.74 % 0.034 114 0 %
ECan07 x 10 0.76 % 0.036 111 0 %
None of the analyses had a residual deformation greater than 0.2%, thus were well under the
first damage state at an intensity that was 10 times greater than that required for design. Due to the
findings in this section, no further incremental dynamic analyses of the Eastern Canada earthquake
CHAPTER 6: INCREMENTAL ANALYSIS FOR TWO CANADIAN SITES
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 97 
suite were carried out, as it could be concluded that the seismic risk for this wind turbine tower at
that location is extremely low.
6.5 RESULTS OF TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR WESTERN CANADA SITE
The results tables and figures for the individual analyses of the Western Canada earthquake suite
are included in Appendix C. This section presents the resultant incremental dynamic analysis curves
for the Western Canada suite and the fragility curves for this wind turbine tower in Western Canada.
6.5.1 INCREMENTAL DYNAMIC ANALYSIS CURVES
The IDA curves are presented in Figure 6.8, employing the magnification factor as the intensity
measure and the peak displacement, peak rotation, and residual displacement as the damage
measures.
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
0 2 4 6 8 10
Peak Displacement (% H)
M
a
g
n
i
f
i
c
a
t
i
o
n
F
a
c
t
o
r
WCan01  West 6C1 #19 & #21
WCan02  West 7C1 #7 & #9
WCan03  West 7C1 #13 & #14
WCan04  West 7C1 #25 & #26
WCan05  West 7C1 #28 & #30
WCan06  West 7C2 #13 & #14
WCan07  West 9C #14 & #15
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1
Peak Rotation ()
M
a
g
n
i
f
i
c
a
t
i
o
n
F
a
c
t
o
r
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
0 1 2 3 4 5
Residual Displacement (% H)
M
a
g
n
i
f
i
c
a
t
i
o
n
F
a
c
t
o
r
Figure 6.8: Incremental dynamic analysis curves for Western Canada suite
Magnitude 6
813 km
Magnitude 7
1026 km
Magnitude 7
30100 km
Magnitude 9
112201 km
(Cascadia Record)
CHAPTER 6: INCREMENTAL ANALYSIS FOR TWO CANADIAN SITES
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 98 
The dispersion of the IDA curves is quite high because the suite was made up of records from 4
records sets, as described in Section 6.2. Earthquake records from the same record set have very
low dispersion, as can be seen from the IDA curves for WCan02, WCan03, WCan04 and WCan05.
These four analyses were based on record set 7C1 (Magnitude 7 on Site Class C and at distance of
1026 km).
The most significant outlier is WCan01, which is from the record set of ground motions at the
closest distance. That record set, 6C1, is characterized by high spectral accelerations in the low
frequency range. The results from WCan01 thus confirm that a lower magnitude earthquake record
at a close distance will have the least impact on the wind turbine tower, as suggested by Atkinson
(2009).
WCan06 and WCan07 are also of interest as they represent the opposite of WCan01, both
regarding the records and the results of the IDA. They are based on record sets of a higher
magnitude and at significantly larger distances, and the results constitute the most critical response
of the wind turbine tower. This is consistent for all the damage measures shown in Figure 6.8. It in
also interesting to note that the Cascadia Record (WCan07) was slightly less intense for the wind
turbine tower than the Magnitude 7, 30100 km record (WCan06). This may be due to the influence
of higher modes, for which WCan06 was much more intense.
6.5.1.1 AVERAGE DAMAGE MEASURES
The average damage measures for the Western Canada earthquake suite for each damage state
are listed in Table 6.7, along with the minimum and maximum values of the damage measures. As
previously stated, the peak stress may appear very high; however, that is typically the stress at a stress
concentration, not in the tower wall. The averages listed are not very close to those of the LA
earthquake suite (Table 5.3 in the previous chapter), thus it is not surprising that predicting the
magnification factors was not very accurate.
CHAPTER 6: INCREMENTAL ANALYSIS FOR TWO CANADIAN SITES
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 99 
Table 6.7: Minimum, average, and maximum values of damage measures
at each damage state for the Western Canada site
Damage
State
Peak
Displacement
max
(% H)
Peak
Rotation
max
Peak
Stress
mises
(MPa)
Residual
Displacement
res
(% H)
0.2% Residual
OutofStraightness
min: 1.76 %
average: 2.06 %
max: 2.42 %
min: 0.094
average: 0.104
max: 0.124
min: 234
average: 282
max: 336
0.2 %
First Yield
min: 2.72 %
average: 3.23 %
max: 4.38 %
min: 0.129
average: 0.165
max: 0.223
389
min: 0.38%
average: 0.59%
max: 1.05%
1% Residual
OutofStraightness
min: 3.58 %
average: 4.07 %
max: 4.32 %
min: 0.205
average: 0.218
max: 0.240
min: 386
average: 471
max: 579
1.0 %
First Buckle /
Loss of Tower
min: 4.71%
average: 17.28 %
max: 86.11 %
min: 1.00
average: 14.55
max: 89.50
min: 564
average: 702
max: 798
min: 1.88 %
average: 15.03 %
max: 86.11 %
6.5.2 FRAGILITY CURVES
The fragility curves for the different damage states for the Western Canada site are shown in
Figure 6.9. As decided in the previous chapter, the magnification factor was used as the intensity
measure. Additional curves for other intensity measures are shown in Appendix C.
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
0 3 6 9 12 15
Magnification Factor
P
r
o
b
a
b
i
l
i
t
y
o
f
E
x
c
e
e
d
a
n
c
e
Figure 6.9: Fragility curves for Western Canada site for the magnification factor intensity measure
The fragility curves suggest that the seismic risk for this wind turbine tower is extremely low for
the seismic hazard that was considered in this study. Considering that the magnification factor
represents the intensity of a seismic event with respect to the designbased earthquake (DBE), Table
6.8 summarizes the fragility curves by providing the probability of exceeding the damage states for
seismic intensities up to 5 times greater than the DBE.
1
st
damage state: 0.2% residual outofstraightness
2
nd
damage state: first yield
3
rd
damage state: 1.0% residual outofstraightness
4
th
damage state: first buckle / loss of tower
CHAPTER 6: INCREMENTAL ANALYSIS FOR TWO CANADIAN SITES
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 100 
Table 6.8: Probability of exceedance of particular damage states for varying seismic event intensities
Seismic Event Intensity Compared to DBE
Damage State 2 3 4 5 6
0.2% Residual OutofStraightness 3.3% 26% 58% 80% 92%
First Yield 0.1% 2.2% 13% 32% 54%
1% Residual OutofStraightness 0 0.1% 1.2% 6.6% 19%
First Buckle / Loss of Tower 0 0 0 0.2% 1.5%
An earthquake having twice the intensity of the DBE, may cause exceedance of the first damage
state at a probability of 3.3% and of the second damage state at a probability of 0.1%. As previously
stated, this suggests an extremely low seismic risk for this wind turbine tower in Western Canada.
6.6 SUMMARY
Two Canadian locations were picked to assess the seismic risk of this wind turbine tower in
Canada. One location is in Eastern Canada on the north shore of Lake Erie, Ontario and is
currently being investigated for a wind turbine farm development. The second location is in
Western Canada, offshore of Victoria, BC. There are no current wind turbine developments in that
area, but it was still investigated as it represents the highest seismic risk in Canada.
Earthquake suites were assembled for each location based on simulated timehistories generated
by Atkinson (2009). The earthquake suites represent a range of earthquakes that may occur in each
area and that match the uniform hazard spectra for each location. The records of the earthquake
suite thus represent designbased earthquakes. Each record suite consisted of 14 timehistories that
represented the orthogonal components of 7 analyses.
The Eastern Canada site analyses at the designbased earthquake level resulted in an insignificant
seismic response. The analyses were then carried out at a magnification factor of 10 and the seismic
response was still very mild none of the analyses reached the first damage state. Thus, it was
decided that further incremental analysis of the Eastern Canada location was unnecessary. However,
a significant uncertainly exists in the definition of the seismic hazard in Eastern Canada, especially
for long periods.
The Western Canada location was carried out so that all four damage states were reached.
Fragility curves were constructed and it was concluded that the seismic risk is very low.
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 101 
CHAPTER 7: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This thesis investigated the behaviour of the tubular steel wind turbine tower of a typical
1.65MW parked wind turbine under seismic loading, and evaluated its seismic risk for two Canadian
locations. A finite element model was thoroughly validated and the expected failure mode, inelastic
buckling in flexure, was adequately captured. Earthquake suites were assembled and used to carry
out nonlinear incremental dynamic analysis. Fragility curves were defined for four potential damage
states of the wind turbine tower: 0.2% residual outofstraightness, first yield at a stress
concentration, 1% residual outofstraightness, and first buckle. The results obtained, discussed
shortly, represent the seismic hazard of the investigated wind turbine tower in a few locations.
However, the main contribution of this thesis is the framework that was set up to assess the seismic
risk of any tubular steel wind turbine tower subject to any level of seismic hazard.
The incremental analyses for either location in Canada suggest that the seismic risk for the wind
turbine tower that was investigated is very small. This is due to the long fundamental period of the
tower and the very short predominant period of most earthquakes. The response of the wind
turbine tower subjected to the Eastern Canada (Ontario) earthquake suite of records was almost
insignificant. The seismic response was very slight and did not reach the first damage state even
with a magnification factor of 10 with respect to the designbased earthquake. However, the design
spectrum in Eastern Canada has an extremely low spectral acceleration in the longperiod range and
may change as the definition of the seismic hazard improves. The incremental analyses carried out
with the Western Canada earthquake suite, corresponding to the highest seismic risk in Canada,
suggest that the probability of exceeding 0.2% residualoutofstraightness is only 3.3% after a
seismic event that is twice as intense as the designbased earthquake. Thus, the 1.65MW Vestas
wind turbine tower has a very low seismic risk in Canada under the current definition of the seismic
hazard.
However, the analyses demonstrated that these structures must be designed for large safety
factors against any overloading, as they are prone to collapse when the tower is excited beyond its
elastic limit. As the design of wind turbine towers is quickly evolving, with a tendency for taller
structures, the seismic response may become more critical. This thesis outlines a methodology to
carry out a thorough investigation into the probability of reaching predetermined damage states
under seismic loading.
Future research is required in several areas. The damping of wind turbine towers should be
determined more precisely, as it significantly influences the response path of the wind turbine tower
CHAPTER 7: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 102 
during a seismic event. The bolted flange connections of the wind turbine tower may also be further
investigated, as the flanges are expected to experience prying before the tower fails by buckling.
Furthermore, a pushover analysis suited to wind turbine towers may be developed. Lastly, there was
some uncertainty in the damage states defined. In future studies, the damage states of the wind
turbine tower may be redefined in conjunction with requirements of other components of the wind
turbine to ensure safe operation.
.
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 103 
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rd
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SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 107 
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY
ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
This appendix includes the result items for the LA earthquake suite except those for LA01 &
LA02, which were presented in Section 5.2:
summary of displacement results in tabular format
comparison of the peak displaced shape of all the magnification factors
timehistory displacement response at hub height for the higher magnification factors
orbit plots for all magnification factors
In addition, this appendix presents several additional IDA curves for the three damage measures
(peak displacement, residual displacement, and peak rotation) and four intensity measures (peak
ground displacement, peak ground velocity, peak ground acceleration, and magnification factor).
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 108 
A.1 LA03 & LA04 (IMPERIAL VALLEY, 1979, ARRAY #05)
Table A. 1: Summary of displacement results of timehistory analyses subjected to
LA03 & LA04 (Imperial Valley, 1979, Array #05)
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Rotation
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Factor
max
(% H)
plan
max
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
plan
Damage State Reached
1 1.81 % 25 0.089 274 0.03 % 315
1.5 2.72 % 29 0.136 371 0.20 % 13 0.2% Residual OutofStraightness
1.7** 3.00 % 0.145 389 0.26 % First Yield
2 3.38 % 28 0.157 415 0.36 % 20
3 4.38 % 28 0.208 454 0.66 % 35
3.3** 4.76 % 1.223 531 1.00 % 1.0% Residual OutofStraightness
4 5.51 % 198 3.201 681 1.66 % 198 First Buckle
5 8.58 % 27 4.240 750 6.9 % 26
6 86.7 % 35 89.09 786 86.72 % 35
** interpolated values
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 2 4 6 8
Lateral Displacement (m)
H
e
i
g
h
t
a
b
o
v
e
B
a
s
e
(
m
)
factor: 1
factor: 1.5
factor: 2
factor: 3
factor: 4
factor: 5
factor: 6
Figure A.1: Peak displaced shape of wind turbine tower subjected to
LA03 & LA04 (Imperial Valley, 1979, Array #05)
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 109 
Figure A.2: Incremental timehistory displacement response of Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA03 & LA04 (Imperial Valley, 1979, Array #05) at hub height (80m)
(a) xdirection response for magnification factors 3 6
(b) zdirection response for magnification factors 3 6
(a)
(b)
free vibration begins at
39.39s until 100s (not
shown to completion)
free vibration begins at
39.39s until 100s (not
shown to completion)
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 110 
Figure A.3: Orbit in xz plane (in mm) for Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA03 & LA04 (Imperial Valley, 1979, Array #05)
(a) top view of tower and legend (e) factor: 3
(b) factor: 1 (f) factor: 4
(c) factor: 1.5 (g) factor: 5
(d) factor: 2 (h) factor: 6
door
cable
hole
X
Z
(a)
(g) factor: 5
(b) factor: 1
(c) factor: 1.5
(d) factor: 2
(e) factor: 3
(f) factor: 4
(h) factor: 6
full collapse
of tower
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 111 
A.2 LA05 & LA06 (IMPERIAL VALLEY, 1979, ARRAY #06)
Table A.2: Summary of displacement results of timehistory analyses
subjected to LA05 & LA06 (Imperial Valley, 1979, Array #06)
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Rotation
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Factor
max
(% H)
plan
max
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
plan
Damage State Reached
1 1.88 % 201 0.087 292 0.04 % 20
1.4** 2.64 % 0.131 374 0.20 % 0.2% Residual OutofStraightness
1.5 2.76 % 23 0.137 386 0.22 % 18 First Yield
2 3.28 % 23 0.159 424 0.27 % 15
3 4.58 % 17 0.240 466 0.68 % 20
3.1** 4.78 % 0.477 490 1.00 % 1.0% Residual OutofStraightness
4 6.46 % 10 2.462 90 3.73 % 5 First Buckle
5 10.30 % 8 5.343 712 9.19 % 12
6 20.12 % 16 11.315 745 20.0 % 16
** interpolated values
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 2 4 6 8
Lateral Displacement (m)
H
e
i
g
h
t
a
b
o
v
e
B
a
s
e
(
m
)
factor: 1
factor: 1.5
factor: 2
factor: 3
factor: 4
factor: 5
factor: 6
Figure A.4: Peak displaced shape of wind turbine tower subjected to
LA05 & LA06 (Imperial Valley, 1979, Array #06)
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 112 
Figure A.5: Incremental timehistory displacement response of Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA05 & LA06 (Imperial Valley, 1979, Array #06) at hub height (80m)
(a) xdirection response for magnification factors 3 6
(b) zdirection response for magnification factors 3 6
(a)
(b)
free vibration begins at
39.09s until 100s (not
shown to completion)
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 113 
Figure A.6: Orbit in xz plane (in mm) for Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA05 & LA06 (Imperial Valley, 1979, Array #06)
(a) top view of tower and legend (e) factor: 3
(b) factor: 1 (f) factor: 4
(c) factor: 1.5 (g) factor: 5
(d) factor: 2 (h) factor: 6
door
cable
hole
X
Z
(a)
(b) factor: 1
(c) factor: 1.5
(d) factor: 2
(e) factor: 3
(f) factor: 4
(g) factor: 5
(h) factor: 6
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 114 
A.3 LA07 & LA08 (LANDERS, 1992, BARSTOW)
Table A.3: Summary of displacement results of timehistory analyses
subjected to LA07 & LA08 (Landers, 1992, Barstow)
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Rotation
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Factor
max
(% H)
plan
max
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
plan
Damage State Reached
1 1.33 % 53 0.067 190 0.03 % 27
1.5 1.96 % 53 0.098 262 0.13 % 35
1.8** 2.34 % 0.117 306 0.20 % 0.2% Residual OutofStraightness
2 2.62 % 50 0.130 339 0.26 % 30
2.6** 3.27 % 0.161 389 0.45 % First Yield
3 3.71 % 47 0.181 423 0.58 % 33
3.7** 4.47 % 0.214 452 1.00 % 1.0% Residual OutofStraightness
4 4.85 % 45 0.231 467 1.21 % 36
5 7.60 % 3 3.633 689 5.62 % 18 First Buckle
** interpolated values
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 2 4 6
Lateral Displacement (m)
H
e
i
g
h
t
a
b
o
v
e
B
a
s
e
(
m
)
factor: 1
factor: 1.5
factor: 2
factor: 3
factor: 4
factor: 5
Figure A.7: Peak displaced shape of wind turbine tower subjected to
LA07 & LA08 (Landers, 1992, Barstow)
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 115 
Figure A.8: Incremental timehistory displacement response of Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA07 & LA08 (Landers, 1992, Barstow) at hub height (80m)
(a) xdirection response for magnification factors 3 5
(b) zdirection response for magnification factors 3 5
free vibration begins at 80s
until 140s (not shown)
(a)
(b)
free vibration begins at 80s
until 140s (not shown)
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 116 
Figure A.9: Orbit in xz plane (in mm) for Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA07 & LA08 (Landers, 1992, Barstow)
(a) top view of tower and legend (e) factor: 3
(b) factor: 1 (f) factor: 4
(c) factor: 1.5 (g) factor: 5
(d) factor: 2
door
cable
hole
X
Z
(a)
(b) factor: 1
(c) factor: 1.5
(d) factor: 2
(e) factor: 3
(f) factor: 4
(g) factor: 5
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 117 
A.4 LA09 & LA10 (LANDERS, 1992, YERMO)
Table A.4: Summary of displacement results of timehistory analyses
subjected to LA09 & LA10 (Landers, 1992, Yermo)
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Rotation
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Factor
max
(% H)
plan
max
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
plan
Damage State Reached
1 1.15 % 326 0.058 274 0.02 % 352
1.5 1.62 % 134 0.076 248 0.12 % 39
2 2.11 % 330 0.104 292 0.18 % 34
2.2** 2.25 % 0.111 308 0.20 % 0.2% Residual OutofStraightness
3 2.94 % 130 0.145 383 0.29 % 25
3.1** 3.05 % 0.151 389 0.36 % First Yield
4 3.74 % 121 0.187 425 0.78 % 43
4.5** 4.16 % 0.206 442 1.00 % 1.0% Residual OutofStraightness
5 4.56 % 37 0.225 458 1.21 % 41
6 8.23 % 33 2.694 743 6.22 % 38 First Buckle
** interpolated values
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 2 4 6
Lateral Displacement (m)
H
e
i
g
h
t
a
b
o
v
e
B
a
s
e
(
m
)
factor: 1
factor: 1.5
factor: 2
factor: 3
factor: 4
factor: 5
factor: 6
Figure A.10: Peak displaced shape of wind turbine tower subjected to
LA09 & LA10 (Landers, 1992, Yermo)
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 118 
Figure A.11: Incremental timehistory displacement response of Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA09 & LA10 (Landers, 1992, Yermo) at hub height (80m)
(a) xdirection response for magnification factors 4 6
(b) zdirection response for magnification factors 4 6
free vibration begins at 80s
until 140s (not shown)
(a)
(b)
free vibration begins at 80s
until 140s (not shown)
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 119 
Figure A.12: Orbit in xz plane (in mm) for Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA09 & LA10 (Landers, 1992, Yermo)
(a) top view of tower and legend (e) factor: 3
(b) factor: 1 (f) factor: 4
(c) factor: 1.5 (g) factor: 5
(d) factor: 2 (h) factor: 6
door
cable
hole
X
Z
(a)
(f) factor: 4
(g) factor: 5
(h) factor: 6
(b) factor: 1
(d) factor: 2
(e) factor: 3
(c) factor: 1.5
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 120 
A.5 LA11 & LA12 (LOMA PRIETA, 1989, GILROY)
Table A.5: Summary of displacement results of timehistory analyses
subjected to LA11 & LA12 (Loma Prieta, 1989, Gilroy)
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Rotation
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Factor
max
(% H)
plan
max
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
plan
Damage State Reached
1 0.82 % 158 0.033 143 0 % n/a
1.5 1.20 % 332 0.058 198 0.02 % 334
2 1.54 % 331 0.071 256 0.05 % 324
3 2.22 % 333 0.101 328 0.11 % 356
3.5** 2.55 % 0.117 369 0.20 % 0.2% Residual OutofStraightness
3.8** 2.71 % 0.125 389 0.24 % First Yield
4 2.87 % 335 0.132 408 0.28 % 8
5 3.38 % 335 0.163 428 0.40 % 19
6 3.87 % 335 0.188 458 0.60 % 21
7 4.42 % 335 0.204 501 0.92 % 23 1.0% Residual OutofStraightness
8 44.7 % 352 90 721 44.7 % 352 First Buckle
** interpolated values
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 2 4 6
Lateral Displacement (m)
H
e
i
g
h
t
a
b
o
v
e
B
a
s
e
(
m
)
factor: 1
factor: 1.5
factor: 2
factor: 3
factor: 4
factor: 5
factor: 6
factor: 7
factor: 8
Figure A.13: Peak displaced shape of wind turbine tower subjected to
LA11 & LA12 (Loma Prieta, 1989, Gilroy)
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 121 
Figure A.14: Incremental timehistory displacement response of Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA11 & LA12 (Loma Prieta, 1989, Gilroy) at hub height (80m)
(a) xdirection response for magnification factors 5 8
(b) zdirection response for magnification factors 5 8
(a)
(b)
free vibration begins at 40s until
100s (not shown to completion)
free vibration begins at 40s until
100s (not shown to completion)
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 122 
Figure A.15: Orbit in xz plane (in mm) for Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA11 & LA12 (Loma Prieta, 1989, Gilroy)
(a) top view of tower and legend (e) factor: 3 (i) factor: 7
(b) factor: 1 (f) factor: 4 (j) factor: 8
(c) factor: 1.5 (g) factor: 5
(d) factor: 2 (h) factor: 6
door
cable
hole
X
Z
(a)
(f) factor: 4
(g) factor: 5
(h) factor: 6
(b) factor: 1
(d) factor: 2
(e) factor: 3
(c) factor: 1.5
(i) factor: 7
(j) factor: 8
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 123 
A.6 LA13 & LA14 (NORTHRIDGE, 1994, NEWHILL)
Table A.6: Summary of displacement results of timehistory analyses
subjected to LA13 & LA14 (Northridge, 1994, Newhill)
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Rotation
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Factor
max
(% H)
plan
max
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
plan
Damage State Reached
1 0.86 % 45 0.042 140 0 % 55
1.5 1.30 % 43 0.063 194 0.06 % 43
2 1.66 % 41 0.077 247 0.08 % 15
3 2.22 % 219 0.106 361 0.14 % 276
3.6** 2.73 % 0.130 372 0.20 % 0.2% Residual OutofStraightness
3.9** 2.94 % 0.140 389 0.23 % First Yield
4 3.06 % 220 0.146 398 0.24 % 276
5 4.06 % 220 0.199 428 0.66 % 251
5.5** 4.59 % 0.233 445 1.00 % 1.0% Residual OutofStraightness
6 5.21 % 221 0.272 465 1.40 % 240
7 6.62 % 219 2.610 664 4.42 % 217 First Buckle
** interpolated values
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 2 4 6
Lateral Displacement (m)
H
e
i
g
h
t
a
b
o
v
e
B
a
s
e
(
m
)
factor: 1
factor: 1.5
factor: 2
factor: 3
factor: 4
factor: 5
factor: 6
factor: 7
Figure A.16: Peak displaced shape of wind turbine tower subjected to
LA13 & LA14 (Northridge, 1994, Newhill)
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 124 
Figure A.17: Incremental timehistory displacement response of Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA13 & LA14 (Northridge, 1994, Newhill) at hub height (80m)
(a) xdirection response for magnification factors 4 7
(b) zdirection response for magnification factors 4 7
free vibration
begins at 60s until
120s (not shown)
(a)
(b)
free vibration
begins at 60s until
120s (not shown)
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 125 
Figure A.18: Orbit in xz plane (in mm) for Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA13 & LA14 (Northridge, 1994, Newhill)
(a) top view of tower and legend (e) factor: 3 (i) factor: 7
(b) factor: 1 (f) factor: 4
(c) factor: 1.5 (g) factor: 5
(d) factor: 2 (h) factor: 6
door
cable
hole
X
Z
(a)
(f) factor: 4
(g) factor: 5
(h) factor: 6
(b) factor: 1
(d) factor: 2
(e) factor: 3
(c) factor: 1.5
(i) factor: 7
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 126 
A.7 LA15 & LA16 (NORTHRIDGE, 1994, RINALDI RS)
Table A.7: Summary of displacement results of timehistory analyses
subjected to LA15 & LA16 (Northridge, 1994, Rinaldi RS)
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Rotation
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Factor
max
(% H)
plan
max
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
plan
Damage State Reached
1 0.90 % 174 0.042 154 0 % 2
1.5 1.30 % 348 0.068 214 0.03 % 342
2 1.66 % 175 0.076 268 0.04 % 235
2.7** 2.30 % 0.105 343 0.20 % 0.2% Residual OutofStraightness
3 2.51 % 177 0.115 369 0.25 % 215
3.4** 2.82 % 0.129 389 0.39 % First Yield
4 3.26 % 180 0.150 417 0.59 % 213
4.7** 3.89 % 0.177 431 1.00 % 1.0% Residual OutofStraightness
5 4.19 % 179 0.190 438 1.20 % 206
6 5.24% 176 3.161 665 3.45% 194 First Buckle
7 6.96% 190 5.162 679 5.65 % 195
8 9.95% 171 10.115 668 8.77 % 186
** interpolated values
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 2 4 6 8
Lateral Displacement (m)
H
e
i
g
h
t
a
b
o
v
e
B
a
s
e
(
m
)
factor: 1
factor: 1.5
factor: 2
factor: 3
factor: 4
factor: 5
factor: 6
factor: 7
factor: 8
Figure A.19: Peak displaced shape of wind turbine tower subjected to
LA15 & LA16 (Northridge, 1994, Rinaldi RS)
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 127 
Figure A.20: Incremental timehistory displacement response of Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA15 & LA16 (Northridge, 1994, Rinaldi RS) at hub height (80m)
(a) xdirection response for magnification factors 4 8
(b) zdirection response for magnification factors 4 8
(a)
(b)
free vibration begins at 14.95s until
100s (not shown to completion)
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 128 
Figure A.21: Orbit in xz plane (in mm) for Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA15 & LA16 (Northridge, 1994, Rinaldi RS)
(a) top view of tower and legend (e) factor: 3 (i) factor: 7
(b) factor: 1 (f) factor: 4 (j) factor: 8
(c) factor: 1.5 (g) factor: 5
(d) factor: 2 (h) factor: 6
door
cable
hole
X
Z
(a)
(f) factor: 4
(g) factor: 5
(h) factor: 6
(b) factor: 1
(d) factor: 2
(e) factor: 3
(c) factor: 1.5
(j) factor: 8
(i) factor: 7
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 129 
A.8 LA17 & LA18 (NORTHRIDGE, 1994, SYLMAR)
Table A.8: Summary of displacement results of timehistory analyses
subjected to LA17 & LA18 (Northridge, 1994, Sylmar)
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Rotation
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Factor
max
(% H)
plan
max
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
plan
Damage State Reached
1 1.39 % 216 0.064 183 0.01 % 179
1.5 1.94 % 216 0.092 259 0.02 % 110
2 2.57 % 216 0.122 336 0.07 % 205
2.4** 3.02 % 0.142 363 0.20 % 0.2% Residual OutofStraightness
2.8** 3.46 % 0.161 389 0.33 % First Yield
3 3.74 % 217 0.173 405 0.41 % 221
4 4.69 % 217 0.225 477 0.72 % 223
4.1** 4.88 % 0.546 505 1.00 % 1.0% Residual OutofStraightness
5 6.01 % 219 2.478 673 2.69 % 225 First Buckle
** interpolated values
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 2 4 6
Lateral Displacement (m)
H
e
i
g
h
t
a
b
o
v
e
B
a
s
e
(
m
)
factor: 1
factor: 1.5
factor: 2
factor: 3
factor: 4
factor: 5
Figure A.22: Peak displaced shape of wind turbine tower subjected to
LA17 & LA18 (Northridge, 1994, Sylmar)
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 130 
Figure A.23: Incremental timehistory displacement response of Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA17 & LA18 (Northridge, 1994, Sylmar) at hub height (80m)
(a) xdirection response for magnification factors 4 5
(b) zdirection response for magnification factors 4 5
free vibration
begins at 60s until
120s (not shown)
(a)
(b)
free vibration
begins at 60s until
120s (not shown)
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 131 
Figure A.24: Orbit in xz plane (in mm) for Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA17 & LA18 (Northridge, 1994, Sylmar)
(a) top view of tower and legend (e) factor: 3
(b) factor: 1 (f) factor: 4
(c) factor: 1.5 (g) factor: 5
(d) factor: 2
door
cable
hole
X
Z
(a)
(f) factor: 4
(g) factor: 5
(b) factor: 1
(d) factor: 2
(e) factor: 3
(c) factor: 1.5
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 132 
A.9 LA19 & LA20 (NORTH PALM SPRINGS, 1986)
Table A.9: Summary of displacement results of timehistory analyses
subjected to LA19 & LA20 (North Palm Springs, 1986)
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Rotation
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Factor
max
(% H)
plan
max
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
plan
Damage State Reached
1 0.69 % 269 0.032 112 0 % 310
1.5 1.04 % 269 0.048 144 0 % 356
2 1.38 % 270 0.065 182 0.06 % 312
2.7** 1.85 % 0.089 228 0.20 % 0.2% Residual OutofStraightness
3 2.09 % 270 0.101 253 0.28 % 301
4 2.82 % 270 0.137 299 0.53 % 297
4.6** 3.26 % 0.163 389 0.75 % First Yield
5 3.55 % 270 0.180 449 0.90 % 294
5.2** 3.71 % 0.189 442 1.00 % 1.0% Residual OutofStraightness
6 4.31 % 271 0.224 412 1.37 % 294
7 5.10 % 277 2.149 621 3.53 % 298 First Buckle
** interpolated values
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 2 4 6
Lateral Displacement (m)
H
e
i
g
h
t
a
b
o
v
e
B
a
s
e
(
m
)
factor: 1
factor: 1.5
factor: 2
factor: 3
factor: 4
factor: 5
factor: 6
factor: 7
Figure A.25: Peak displaced shape of wind turbine tower subjected to
LA19 & LA20 (North Palm Springs, 1986)
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 133 
Figure A.26: Incremental timehistory displacement response of Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA19 & LA20 (North Palm Springs, 1986) at hub height (80m)
(a) xdirection response for magnification factors 4 7
(b) zdirection response for magnification factors 4 7 `
free vibration begins at 60s
until 120s (not shown)
(a)
(b)
free vibration begins at 60s
until 120s (not shown)
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 134 
Figure A.27: Orbit in xz plane (in mm) for Vestas wind turbine tower
subjected to LA19 & LA20 (North Palm Springs, 1986)
(a) top view of tower and legend (e) factor: 3 (i) factor: 7
(b) factor: 1 (f) factor: 4
(c) factor: 1.5 (g) factor: 5
(d) factor: 2 (h) factor: 6
door
cable
hole
X
Z
(a)
(f) factor: 4
(g) factor: 5
(h) factor: 6
(b) factor: 1
(d) factor: 2
(e) factor: 3
(c) factor: 1.5
(i) factor: 7
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 135 
A.10 IDA CURVES FOR INVESTIGATED INTENSITY MEASURES
The figures in this section show the incremental dynamic analysis curves for several intensity
measures. It can be seen that the ones having the least dispersion are those with the peak ground
velocity and the magnification factor as the intensity measure.
0
1
2
3
4
5
0 3 6 9 12 15
Peak Displacement (% H)
P
G
D
(
m
)
0
2
4
6
8
10
0 3 6 9 12 15
Peak Displacement (% H)
P
G
V
(
m
/
s
)
0
2
4
6
8
0 3 6 9 12 15
Peak Displacement (% H)
P
G
A
(
g
)
0
2
4
6
8
0 3 6 9 12 15
Peak Displacement (% H)
M
a
g
n
i
f
i
c
a
t
i
o
n
F
a
c
t
o
r
Figure A.28: IDA curves for various intensity measures and peak displacement damage measure
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 136 
0
1
2
3
4
5
0 1 2 3 4
Residual Displacement (% H)
P
G
D
(
m
)
0
2
4
6
8
10
0 1 2 3 4
Residual Displacement (% H)
P
G
V
(
m
/
s
)
0
2
4
6
8
0 1 2 3 4
Residual Displacement (% H)
P
G
A
(
g
)
0
2
4
6
8
0 1 2 3 4
Residual Displacement (% H)
M
a
g
n
i
f
i
c
a
t
i
o
n
F
a
c
t
o
r
Figure A.29: IDA curves for various intensity measures and residual displacement damage measure
APPENDIX A: RESULTS OF INCREMENTAL TIMEHISTORY ANALYSIS FOR LA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 137 
0
1
2
3
4
5
0 1 2 3 4
Peak Rotation ()
P
G
D
(
m
)
0
2
4
6
8
10
0 1 2 3 4
Peak Rotation ()
P
G
V
(
m
/
s
)
0
2
4
6
8
0 1 2 3 4
Peak Rotation ()
P
G
A
(
g
)
0
2
4
6
8
0 1 2 3 4
Peak Rotation ()
M
a
g
n
i
f
i
c
a
t
i
o
n
F
a
c
t
o
r
Figure A.30: IDA curves for various intensity measures and peak rotation damage measure
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 138 
APPENDIX B: SEISMIC HAZARD FOR TWO CANADIAN SITES
The following pages contain the reports of the online interpolator from Earthquakes Canada
(http://earthquakescanada.nrcan.gc.ca/hazard) for the two locations chosen in Canada: close to
Dunnville, Ontario to represent Eastern Canada, and offshore of Victoria, BC to represent Western
Canada.
APPENDIX B: SEISMIC HAZARD FOR TWO CANADIAN SITES
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 139 
APPENDIX B: SEISMIC HAZARD FOR TWO CANADIAN SITES
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 140 
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 141 
APPENDIX C: RESULTS OF THE WESTERN CANADA
EARTHQUAKE SUITE
This appendix includes the result items for the Western Canada earthquake suite:
summary of displacement results in tabular format
comparison of the peak displaced shape of all the magnification factors
the timehistory displacement response at hub height for the higher magnification factors
Orbit plots are omitted, as they were not essential for determining the probability of damage. In
addition, fragility curves for the PGV and the PGA intensity measures are included in this appendix.
APPENDIX C: RESULTS OF THE WESTERN CANADA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 142 
C.1 WCAN01 (MAGNITUDE 6, 8 13 KM)
Table C.1: Summary of results of timehistory analyses for WCan01
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Rotation
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Factor
max
(% H)
max
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
Damage State Reached
1 0.41 % 0.017 87 0 %
5.1 1.91 % 0.086 281 0.09 %
6.4** 2.24 % 0.103 336 0.02 % 0.2% Residual OutofStraightness
7.1 2.41 % 0.111 365 0.26 %
8.4** 2.72 % 0.129 389 0.38 % First Yield
8.5 2.74 % 0.131 398 0.39 %
12 3.44 % 0.195 522 0.92 %
12.4** 3.58 % 0.205 579 1.00 % 1.0% Residual OutofStraightness
13 3.77 % 0.218 659 1.11 %
16 4.74 % 1.000 565 1.88 % First Buckle
** interpolated values
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 2 4 6
Lateral Displacement (m)
H
e
i
g
h
t
a
b
o
v
e
B
a
s
e
(
m
)
factor: 1
factor: 7.1
factor: 5.1
factor: 8.5
factor: 12
factor: 13
factor: 16
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 2 4 6
Lateral Displacement (m)
H
e
i
g
h
t
a
b
o
v
e
B
a
s
e
(
m
)
factor: 1
factor: 7.1
factor: 5.1
factor: 8.5
factor: 12
factor: 13
factor: 16
(a) (b)
Figure C.1: Peak displaced shape of wind turbine tower subjected to WCan01
(a) at peak displacement
(b) at peak rotation
APPENDIX C: RESULTS OF THE WESTERN CANADA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 143 
Figure C.2: Incremental timehistory displacement response of
Vestas wind turbine tower subjected to WCan01 at hub height (80m)
(a) xdirection response
(b) zdirection response
free vibration begins at 7.61s
(a)
(b)
APPENDIX C: RESULTS OF THE WESTERN CANADA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 144 
C.2 WCAN02 (MAGNITUDE 7, 10 26 KM)
Table C.2: Summary of results of timehistory analyses for WCan02
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Rotation
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Factor
max
(% H)
max
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
Damage State Reached
1 0.64 % 0.031 112 0 %
4.1 2.40 % 0.123 302 0.19 % 0.2% Residual OutofStraightness
5.2 2.94 % 0.152 369 0.37 %
5.9** 3.21 % 0.170 389 0.48 % First Yield
7.6 3.93 % 0.217 442 0.78 %
8.5** 4.26 % 0.240 462 1.00 % 1.0% Residual OutofStraightness
9 4.43 % 0.251 471 1.11 %
10 4.71 % 1.411 641 2.06 % First Buckle
** interpolated values
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 2 4 6
Lateral Displacement (m)
H
e
i
g
h
t
a
b
o
v
e
B
a
s
e
(
m
)
factor: 1
factor: 4.1
factor: 5.2
factor: 7.6
factor: 9
factor: 10
Figure C.3: Peak displaced shape of wind turbine tower subjected to WCan02
APPENDIX C: RESULTS OF THE WESTERN CANADA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 145 
Figure C.4: Incremental timehistory displacement response of
Vestas wind turbine tower subjected to WCan02 at hub height (80m)
(a) xdirection response
(b) zdirection response
free vibration
begins at 56.5s
(a)
(b)
free vibration
begins at 56.5s
APPENDIX C: RESULTS OF THE WESTERN CANADA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 146 
C.3 WCAN03 (MAGNITUDE 7, 10 26 KM)
Table C.3: Summary of results of timehistory analyses for WCan03
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Rotation
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Factor
max
(% H)
max
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
Damage State Reached
1 0.50 % 0.025 77 0 %
3.8 1.93 % 0.095 216 0.14 %
4.2** 2.17 % 0.106 234 0.20 % 0.2% Residual OutofStraightness
5.2 2.76 % 0.135 280 0.35 %
7.7 4.18 % 0.212 383 0.95 %
7.9** 4.28 % 0.218 386 1.00 % 1.0% Residual OutofStraightness
8** 4.38 % 0.223 389 1.05 % First Yield
9 5.02 % 0.258 406 1.37 %
11 7.66 % 3.258 606 4.93 % First Buckle
12 48.8 % 87.4 717 48.8 %
** interpolated values
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 2 4 6
Lateral Displacement (m)
H
e
i
g
h
t
a
b
o
v
e
B
a
s
e
(
m
)
factor: 1
factor: 3.8
factor: 5.2
factor: 7.7
factor: 9
factor: 11
factor: 12
Figure C.5: Peak displaced shape of wind turbine tower subjected to WCan03
APPENDIX C: RESULTS OF THE WESTERN CANADA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 147 
Figure C.6: Incremental timehistory displacement response of
Vestas wind turbine tower subjected to WCan03 at hub height (80m)
(a) xdirection response
(b) zdirection response
free vibration begins
at 60.26s (not shown)
(a)
(b)
free vibration begins
at 60.26s (not shown)
APPENDIX C: RESULTS OF THE WESTERN CANADA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 148 
C.4 WCAN04 (MAGNITUDE 7, 10 26 KM)
Table C.4: Summary of results of timehistory analyses for WCan04
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Rotation
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Factor
max
(% H)
max
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
Damage State Reached
1 0.52 % 0.030 119 0 %
3.3** 1.76 % 0.094 272 0.20 % 0.2% Residual OutofStraightness
3.5 1.85 % 0.098 283 0.21 %
4.7 2.47 % 0.125 364 0.33 %
5.3** 2.77 % 0.143 389 0.44 % First Yield
6 3.12 % 0.164 418 0.57 %
7.4** 3.86 % 0.218 446 1.00 % 1.0% Residual OutofStraightness
9 4.67 % 0.278 477 1.47 %
10 5.23 % 0.613 712 2.19 %
10.5 5.65 % 1.436 728 2.83 % First Buckle
** interpolated values
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 2 4 6
Lateral Displacement (m)
H
e
i
g
h
t
a
b
o
v
e
B
a
s
e
(
m
)
factor: 1
factor: 3.5
factor: 4.7
factor: 6
factor: 9
factor: 10
factor: 10.5
Figure C.7: Peak displaced shape of wind turbine tower subjected to WCan04
APPENDIX C: RESULTS OF THE WESTERN CANADA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 149 
Figure C.8: Incremental timehistory displacement response of
Vestas wind turbine tower subjected to WCan04 at hub height (80m)
(a) xdirection response
(b) zdirection response
free vibration
begins at 56.6s
(a)
(b)
free vibration
begins at 56.6s
APPENDIX C: RESULTS OF THE WESTERN CANADA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 150 
C.5 WCAN05 (MAGNITUDE 7, 10 26 KM)
Table C.5: Summary of results of timehistory analyses for WCan05
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Rotation
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Factor
max
(% H)
max
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
Damage State Reached
1 0.65 % 0.035 134 0 %
2.8 1.84 % 0.096 267 0.19 %
2.9** 1.89 % 0.099 273 0.20 % 0.2% Residual OutofStraightness
3.8 2.51 % 0.127 348 0.35 %
4.5** 2.91 % 0.146 389 0.44 % First Yield
5 3.16 % 0.158 415 0.50 %
7.1 4.14 % 0.203 444 0.87 %
7.5** 4.32 % 0.215 485 1.00 % 1.0% Residual OutofStraightness
8.5 4.84 % 0.250 603 1.38 %
9.5 4.89 % 1.665 698 2.68 % First Buckle
** interpolated values
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 2 4 6
Lateral Displacement (m)
H
e
i
g
h
t
a
b
o
v
e
B
a
s
e
(
m
)
factor: 1
factor: 2.8
factor: 3.8
factor: 5
factor: 7.1
factor: 8.5
factor: 9.5
Figure C.9: Peak displaced shape of wind turbine tower subjected to WCan05
APPENDIX C: RESULTS OF THE WESTERN CANADA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 151 
Figure C.10: Incremental timehistory displacement response of
Vestas wind turbine tower subjected to WCan05 at hub height (80m)
(a) xdirection response
(b) zdirection response
free vibration
begins at 55.1s
(a)
(b)
free vibration
begins at 55.1s
APPENDIX C: RESULTS OF THE WESTERN CANADA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 152 
C.6 WCAN06 (MAGNITUDE 7, 30 100 KM)
Table C.6: Summary of results of timehistory analyses for WCan06
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Rotation
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Factor
max
(% H)
max
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
Damage State Reached
1 0.92 % 0.042 155 0 %
2.2 1.92 % 0.099 299 0.19 % 0.2% Residual OutofStraightness
3 2.62 % 0.134 378 0.34 %
3.2** 2.81 % 0.144 389 0.41 % First Yield
4 3.39 % 0.176 422 0.60 %
5 4.08 % 0.201 506 0.90 %
5.2** 4.21 % 0.225 544 1.00 % 1.0% Residual OutofStraightness
6 4.80 % 0.337 715 1.34 %
7 7.23 % 3.565 752 4.75 % First Buckle
** interpolated values
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 2 4 6
Lateral Displacement (m)
H
e
i
g
h
t
a
b
o
v
e
B
a
s
e
(
m
)
factor: 1
factor: 2.2
factor: 3
factor: 4
factor: 5
factor: 6
factor: 7
Figure C.11: Peak displaced shape of wind turbine tower subjected to WCan06
APPENDIX C: RESULTS OF THE WESTERN CANADA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 153 
Figure C.12: Incremental timehistory displacement response of
Vestas wind turbine tower subjected to WCan06 at hub height (80m)
(a) xdirection response
(b) zdirection response
free vibration
begins at 44.26s
(a)
(b)
free vibration
begins at 44.26s
APPENDIX C: RESULTS OF THE WESTERN CANADA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 154 
C.7 WCAN07 (CASCADIA RECORD, MAGNITUDE 9, 112 201 KM)
Table C.7: Summary of results of timehistory analyses for WCan07
Peak
Displacement
Peak
Rotation
Peak
Stress
Residual
Deformation
Factor
max
(% H)
max
mises
(MPa)
res
(% H)
Damage State Reached
1 0.66 % 0.032 108 0 %
2.8 1.90 % 0.096 239 0.17 %
3** 2.01 % 0.101 250 0.20 % 0.2% Residual OutofStraightness
4 2.77 % 0.139 322 0.39 %
5 3.58 % 0.188 380 0.78 %
5.3** 3.79 % 0.199 389 0.91 % First Yield
5.4** 3.95 % 0.206 395 1.00 % 1.0% Residual OutofStraightness
6 4.41 % 0.228 415 1.27 %
7 5.34 % 0.289 445 1.93 %
8 86.11 % 89 798 86.11 % First Buckle
** interpolated values
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
0 2 4 6
Lateral Displacement (m)
H
e
i
g
h
t
a
b
o
v
e
B
a
s
e
(
m
)
factor: 1
factor: 2.8
factor: 4
factor: 5
factor: 6
factor: 7
factor: 8
Figure C.13: Peak displaced shape of wind turbine tower subjected to WCan07
APPENDIX C: RESULTS OF THE WESTERN CANADA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 155 
Figure C.14: Incremental timehistory displacement response of
Vestas wind turbine tower subjected to WCan07 at hub height (80m)
(a) xdirection response
(b) zdirection response
(Scale of this figure is 3 times smaller than the typical scale used in these types of figures)
free vibration begins at
258.96s (not shown)
(a)
(b)
free vibration begins at
258.96s (not shown)
APPENDIX C: RESULTS OF THE WESTERN CANADA EARTHQUAKE SUITE
SEISMIC ANALYSIS OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS IN THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT
 156 
C.8 FRAGILITY CURVES FOR ADDITIONAL INTENSITY MEASURES
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
0 2 4 6 8
PGV (m/s)
P
r
o
b
a
b
i
l
i
t
y
o
f
E
x
c
e
e
d
a
n
c
e
Figure C.15: Fragility curves for the Western Canada earthquake suite for PGV intensity measure
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
0 3 6 9 12 15 18
PGA (g)
P
r
o
b
a
b
i
l
i
t
y
o
f
E
x
c
e
e
d
a
n
c
e
Figure C.16: Fragility curves for the Western Canada earthquake suite for PGA intensity measure
1
st
damage state: 0.2% residual outofstraightness
2
nd
damage state: first yield
3
rd
damage state: 1.0% residual outofstraightness
4
th
damage state: first buckle / loss of tower
1
st
damage state: 0.2% residual outofstraightness
2
nd
damage state: first yield
3
rd
damage state: 1.0% residual outofstraightness
4
th
damage state: first buckle / loss of tower