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ANALYSIS OF TELECOMMUNICATION TOWER SUBJECTED TO

SEISMIC & WIND LOADING


Jithesh Rajasekharan1, S Vijaya2
PG Student, Department of Civil Engineering, Dr. A.I.T, Bengaluru, VTU, Karnataka, India
Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Dr. A.I.T, Bengaluru, VTU, Karnataka, India
Abstract: The four legged self-supporting towers are widely used worldwide for the telecommunication
purposes. The communication industries have seen a tremendous increase in last few years which have resulted in
installation of large number of towers to increase the coverage area and network consistency. In wireless communication
network these towers play a significant role hence failure of such structure in a disaster is a major concern. Therefore
utmost importance should be given in considering all possible extreme conditions for designing these towers. In most
studies the researches have considered the effect of wind only on the four legged self-supporting towers. In this
dissertation, studies are been carried out on models of varying heights with different bracing for seismic along with the
wind effect. The wind effect on the structure is studied by using the gust factor method and the seismic effect on the
structure is studied by carrying out the modal analysis and response spectrum analysis. The results obtained from the
above analysis are tabulated, compared and conclusions are drawn.
Keywords Telecommunication towers; Bracings; Wind Analysis; Gust factor method; Modal analysis; Response spectrum
analysis

I. INTRODUCTION

Communication towers or lattice towers are classified into three categories that are Guyed masts,
monopole and self-supporting towers. The structure engineer faces the challenging job of designing and
constructing telecommunication towers to support antenna loads, platform as well as steel ladder loads in
open weather with high degree of reliability. The major cause of failures of telecommunication tower
throughout the world though still remains to be high intensity winds (HIW). The major problem faced is
the difficulty in estimating wind loads as they are based on a probabilistic approach. There has been
several studies in telecommunication towers taking into consideration the wind as well as dynamic effect.
Lefort investigated the effects of wind and earthquake loads on the self-supporting antenna towers and it is
reported that for towers, seismically induced member forces may exceed forces obtained from service and
wind load calculations. . Amiri and Booston (2002) studied the dynamic response of antenna-supporting
structures. In this regard, self-supporting steel telecommunication towers with different heights were
evaluated considering the wind and earthquake loads. A comparison is made between the results of wind
and earthquake loading. These comparisons resulted in the necessity of considering earthquake loads in
tower analysis and design.

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Nitin Bhosale et al. (2012) have carried out the seismic response of 4 legged telecommunication
towers under the effect of design spectrum from the Indian code of practice for zone IV. The axial forces
of the tower member is considered, comparison is made between roof top tower and ground tower. Richa
Bhatt et al. (2013) have carried out study on the influence of modelling in lattice mobile towers under
wind loading where in the towers are analysed for gust factor wind. Displacements, Member forces and
maximum stress have been compared to find out the effect on towers. Siddesha. H (2010), carried out the
wind analysis on antenna towers with static & gust factor method, the displacements at the top of the tower
with angle and square sections are considered.
The objective of this dissertation work is to study the effect of wind load on tower structures for
different wind zones using gust factor and also to study the seismic effect on the tower structures by
carrying out the modal analysis and response spectrum analysis. This paper helps in understanding the
effect of both wind and seismic forces on the tower structures by considering different conditions.
II. MODELLING AND LOADING DETAILS
A. Modelling of Towers

The lattice tower is designed for three heights of 30m, 40m and 50m. The towers are provided with
different types of bracings such as K, XB, XX, and Y. The tower have been modelled as 3D space frame
using the finite element in STADD. Pro 2007 software. The details of the towers are given in table I for
various heights. The fig 1 shows 30m towers with different types of bracing considered in this study. The
table II shows the member properties assigned to the towers.
TABLE I
Details of Different Towers

Height of Tower

30

40

50

Height of Slant Portion

20

28

36

Height of Straight Portion at Top of Tower

10

12

14

Base Width

Top Width

No. of 4m Panel

No. of 2m Panel

Fig 1: 30m Towers with Different Bracings Considered

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TABLE II
Member Details of Tower

Tower Elevation (m)

Sr.
No.
1
2
3
4
5
6

30 m

40m

50m

0-12

0-16

0-20

12-20

16-28

20-36

21-30

28-40

36-50

Member Description

Section

Leg member

ISA 200 x 200 x 25

Bracing

ISA 150 x 150 x 10

Leg member

ISA 200 x 200 x 15

Bracings
Leg member
Bracings

ISA 130 x 130 x 10


ISA 110 x 110 x 12
ISA 90 x 90 x 10

B. Loads Acting on Tower

A platform load of 0.82 kN/m2 is applied at 26m, 36m, and 46m respectively for 30m, 40m and 50m
tower. The weight of the ladder and cage assembly is assumed to be 10% of total weight. The antenna
loads are summed up and distributed evenly to the nodes at the considered heights. The details of the
antenna provided on the tower are given in the table III.
TABLE III
Antenna Loading for the Towers

Sr.
no

Item

Qty

Dia (m)
(wxdxh)

CDMA

0.26 x 2.5

2
3
4

Microwave
Microwave
Microwave

1
1
2

1.2
0.6
0.3

Weight/
Antenna
(kg)
20

Location
from Base
(30m
tower)
28m

Location
from Base
(40m
tower)
38m

Location
from Base
(50m
tower)
48m

77
45
25

24m
24m
24m

34m
34m
34m

44m
44m
44m

C. Wind Load

The wind load on the tower structure is calculated by using IS 875 (part 3): 1987 and IS 802 (Part 1:
Sec1)-1995. For the calculation of the wind load by the gust factor method the parameters considered are
as follows:
Wind zone V and VI , basic wind speed is 50m/s and 55m/s, the risk coefficient factor k1 considered is
1.08 (considering design life of 100 years), topography factor k3 = 1.0 (flat terrain), the value of terrain
and height factor k2 and the gust response factor G is calculated for category 1 that is open terrain
category. The table IV shows the wind load calculated for 30m tower similarly the wind loads can be
calculated for 40m and 50m tower.
TABLE IV
Wind Load Acting on 30m Tower (kN)

Case 1 (50m/s)

Case 2 (55m/s)

Panel
No

Distance (m)

XB

XX

XB

XX

22.13

23.88

21.15

24.50

26.78

28.90

25.59

29.64

20.65

23.13

19.78

22.68

24.99

27.99

23.93

27.44

12

20.18

20.13

19.38

21.91

24.42

24.36

23.44

26.51

16

20.26

16.83

19.59

21.63

24.51

20.36

23.71

26.18

20

18.64

14.49

18.21

19.49

22.56

17.53

22.03

23.58

22

7.42

7.83

7.09

8.07

8.98

9.47

8.58

9.77

24

9.82

10.24

9.48

10.49

11.88

12.39

11.47

12.69

26

7.81

8.24

7.47

8.50

9.45

9.97

9.03

10.28

9
10

28
30

11.26
8.21

11.70
8.66

10.91
7.85

11.97
8.93

13.62
9.93

14.16
10.48

13.20
9.50

14.48
10.81

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D. Dynamic load

The dynamic loads are applied on the tower structure using IS 1893: part 1, 2002. For the analysis
purpose the acceleration spectrum have been prepared for zone II to zone V assuming soil condition as soft
and damping as 5%. The important factor (I) = 1.5 and response reduction factor (R) = 5. The fig 2 shows
the design response spectra for all the seismic zones.

Fig 2: Design Response Spectra for All the Seismic Zones

III. FE ANALYSIS AND RESULT DISCUSSIONS


A. FE Analysis of Towers

In this a typical structure of telecommunication tower of different heights and bracings is


considered for the analysis. The structural system consists of leg member, primary bracings, and
secondary bracings. The varying heights such as 30m, 40m and 50m with the combination of bracing
systems like K, XB, XX and Y are considered for the analysis. The end conditions are considered as fixed
end condition and the properties assigned to the models are kept same for all the models. STADD software
is used in the analysis.
Initially the wind analysis is carried out on the developed model. The joint displacements at the top
of the tower and the member stress at the base leg members are compared for different wind zones. Then
the modal analysis is carried out on the models to obtain the natural frequency and mode shape. The
response of the structure is different at each of the different natural frequencies. These deformation
patterns are called mode shapes. After that the response spectrum analysis is carried out from the
generated spectra shown in fig 2. The displacement at top and member stress at bottom leg member as
well as at change point is compared for all models.
B. Wind Analysis Results

Wind analysis is carried out for two wind zones of basic wind speed 50 m/s and 55 m/s. The gust
wind factor is taken into consideration for the analysis. The combination of dead load, antenna load and
wind load is the load take for the analysis of the models. The joint displacement comparison is done in
table V and member stress comparison is done in table VI. The fig 3 (a-d) shows the variation in
displacement at top for different towers and the fig 4 (a-d) shows the variation in stress at the bottom leg.

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TABLE V
Comparison of Displacement at Top with Different Bracing

Tower
Height
(m)
30.00
40.00
50.00

Case 1 (50 m/s)


Bracing
K
27.02
84.67
211.68

XB
27.33
90.62
218.88

XX
29.24
92.07
222.27

Case 2 (55 m/s)


Bracing
Y
28.85
92.60
226.14

K
32.70
102.39
256.18

XB
33.07
107.15
264.86

XX
35.36
108.84
269.13

Y
34.92
109.36
272.80

(a)

(b)

(c)

(d)
Figure 3 (a-d): Variation of Displacement (mm) at Top for Different Tower

Fig 3 (a-d) indicates that the displacement increases as the height of masts increases. As the mast
height increases from 30m to 40m the displacement increases by 68% and from 40m to 50m the
displacement increases by 60%. When the wind speed increases from 50m/s to 55m/s then the joint
displacement of tower at top increases by about 15% for all the models. The tower with Y bracing has the
highest joint displacement in the considered models whereas K bracing have the least displacement.
TABLE VI
Comparison of Member stresses (N/mm2) at Bottom Leg

Tower
Height (m)

Jithesh,Vijaya

Case 1 (50 m/s)


Bracing

Case 2 (55 m/s)


Bracing

Page 72

30.00
40.00
50.00

K
31.51
58.08
95.14

XB
31.44
62.35
100.33

(a)

(c)

XX
34.22
63.88
104.05

Y
34.27
63.71
102.64

K
37.36
69.23
113.82

XB
37.09
73.21
120.00

XX
40.51
75.00
124.57

Y
40.53
74.76
122.92

(b)

(d)
Figure 4 (a-d): Comparison of Member Stress (N/mm2) at Bottom Leg

The figure 8.2 (a-d) shows the variation in stress pattern with respect to height of structure. The
member stress at bottom leg of XX bracing tower has higher stress as compared to other tower models.
The increment in stress is about 45% when tower height increases from 30m to 40m whereas when the
tower height increases from 40m to 50m there is an increase of 40% in member stress at the bottom leg
member. When wind load increases from 50ms to 55 m/s there is an increase of 15% in member stress.
C. Modal Analysis Results

In this analysis the overall mass and stiffness of a structure is used to find the various periods at
which it will naturally resonate. Modal analysis of the tower structures are carried out and the modal
parameters such as natural frequency and mode shapes are obtained. The natural frequency are tabulated
in table VII. The fig 5 shows the first mode shape of 50m tower with different bracings.

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Table VII
Natural Frequencies of Telecommunication Towers (Hz)

Height

Bracings

Mode

K
4.994
4.994
10.776
2.954
2.954
8.312
1.941
1.941
6.755

Mode 1
Mode 2
Torsion
Mode 1
Mode 2
Torsion
Mode 1
Mode 2
Torsion

30

40

50

K
f = 1.941 Hz

XB
4.822
4.822
15.895
2.849
2.849
12.202
1.874
1.874
9.879

XX
4.876
4.877
15.431
2.899
2.899
13.126
1.914
1.914
10.660

XB
XX
f = 1.874 Hz
f = 1.914 Hz
Fig 5: first mode shape of 50m tower

Y
4.609
4.609
9.965
2.725
2.725
7.707
1.789
1.789
6.276

Y
f = 1.789 Hz

The comparison shows that the frequency of the tower with Y bracing have the least natural
frequency since its stiffness is higher as the weight of the structure is more as compared to others. As the
tower height increases the mass starts to play a major role than the stiffness of the structure there by
reducing the natural frequency of the structure.
D. Response Spectrum Analysis Results

The Response spectra are generated as shown in fig 2 for the different seismic zones as specified
by the IS 1893(part 1):2002 and the FE analysis is carried out. The Displacements and the member
stresses at bottom leg obtained from the Response Spectrum Analysis are tabulated in table VIII and table
IX respectively. The stress at change point is tabulated in table X. The comparison of displacement is done
in fig 6 and that of member stress at bottom leg is done in fig 7. Comparison of member stress at change
point is done in fig 8.
Table VIII
Joint Displacement (mm) at Top of Tower

Tower Height (m)

Zone

30

II

Jithesh,Vijaya

Bracing
K

XB

XX

1.94

2.25

2.06

2.32

Page 74

40

4.49

4.85

4.69

5.26

50

10.46

11.26

10.80

11.26

3.30

3.58

3.50

3.62

7.46

8.08

7.80

8.75

50

16.73

18.00

17.28

19.63

30

4.64

5.04

4.92

5.07

10.75

11.64

11.23

12.59

50

23.00

24.75

23.76

27

30

6.96

7.56

7.38

7.60

16.12

17.46

16.85

18.89

34.50

37.14

35.65

40.50

30
III

40

40

IV

40

50

(a)

(c)

(b)

(d)
Fig 6 (a-d): Comparison of Joint Displacement (mm) at Top of Tower

The Fig 6 (a-d) shows the displacement pattern of joints with respect to different zones of
earthquake. It can be observed from the graph that from zone II to zone III there is an increment in
displacement of about 38% and from zone III to zone IV the displacement increases by 28%. As the zone
varies from IV to V there is an increase in displacement of about 33% in 30m and 40m tower where as in
50 m tower there is an increase of about 40%. From the fig 6 it can be seen that from 30m to 40m the
increase is nearly linear but as the height increases from 40m to 50m there is a steep increase in the
displacement in all zones.

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Table IX
Member Stresses (N/mm2) at Bottom Leg

Tower Height (m)


30
40
50
30
40
50
30
40
50
30
40
50

Zone

II

III

IV

Bracing
K
5.46
7.35
9.90
6.70
8.97
12.19
7.91
10.78
14.48
10.01
13.74
18.67

XB
5.51
7.68
10.46
6.60
9.23
12.66
7.90
10.95
14.86
10.14
14.11
19.36

XX
5.15
7.02
9.65
6.36
8.45
11.56
7.55
10.24
13.85
9.60
13.17
18.08

Y
6.59
8.75
11.39
7.08
10.68
14.45
9.11
12.80
17.14
11.41
16.26
22.08

(a)
(b)

(c)

(d)
Fig 7 (a-d): Member Stresses (N/mm2) at Bottom Leg

The figure 7 (a-d) shows the variation of member stress at bottom leg member for different heights
of tower. In zone IV as the tower height increases from 30m to 40m there is an increase in stress of about
28% whereas from 40m to 50m the increase is about 25% and in zone V the increase in stress from 30m to
40m is about 30% whereas from 40 to 50m it is about 25%. In zone V when the height increases from 30m
to 50m the increase in stress is about 45%. The tower with Y bracing is having the highest stress which is
nearly 18% more than that of XX bracing which is having the least stress at bottom leg.

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Table X
Member Stresses (N/mm2) on Leg at Change Point

Tower Height (m)

Zone

K
5.77

XB
5.82

XX
6.89

Y
6.93

III

6.86
8.67
7.42
8.84

6.94
8.78
7.44
9.04

8.29
10.59
8.95
10.25

8.14
9.50
8.53
10.10

IV

11.22
9.04
10.72

11.42
9.21
10.09

13.60
10.97
13.27

13.20
10.28
12.68

13.76
11.58
14.57
18.42

14.06
12.25
15.11
18.71

16.62
14.64
17.54
22.15

16.16
13.35
17.09
21.58

30
40
50
30
40
50
30
40
50
30
40
50

Bracing

II

By comparing the table X and IX it can be noted that the member stress for XX bracing is more at
the change point making it the critical section. The stress at change point is nearly 15% more than that at
leg member. This is due to the absence of horizontal bracing in the tower. It can also be noted that the
tower of 30m height is also showing the stress at the change point more than that of leg member in all
zones. This is due to the presence of antenna structures close to the change point and also the change in
properties at the top portion of tower.
IV. CONCLUSION

The following are the major conclusions drawn from this study:

From the wind analysis it can be observed that the increase in joint displacement is nearly 68%
when tower height increases from 30m to 40m and when tower height increases from 40m to 50m
the displacement is likely to increase by 60%.
The change in stress when height increases from 30 to 40m is about 45% and from 40 to 50m is
39% on both cases of wind speeds.
For an increase in wind speed from 50 to 55 m/s with no change in direction the displacement as
well as the member stresses increase by 15% to 17%.
In wind analysis the joint displacement is more for the tower with Y bracings whereas the member
stress at bottom leg is more for the tower with XX bracing due to the absence of horizontal bracing.
There is gradual decrease in the natural frequency of the structure as the height of tower increases.
This is due to the influence of mass as the height increases the mass starts to play predominate role
than stiffness there by reducing the natural frequency of the structure.
In the response spectrum analysis the increase in displacement is about 38% from zone II to zone
III whereas from zone III to IV the increase is about 28% and from zone IV to Zone V the increase
in displacement is about 35%. The tower with Y bracing is having most displacement and the
tower with K bracing is having the least on the compared models.
In zone V as the height increases from 30m to 40m there is an increase in stress of about 30%
whereas from 40m to 50m there is an increase of about 25% and when the height changes from
30m to 50m there is an increase of about 45% in stress.

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It can be observed that in response spectrum analysis the stress for tower with XX bracing is more
at the change point leg than that of the bottom leg member this is due to the absence of horizontal
bracing along the tower.
From the above analysis it can be concluded that the wind is the predominate factor in the tower
modelling than the seismic forces but the seismic effect cannot be fully neglected as observed from
the results.
All the models have been checked for Indian standards. The tower model of 50m with XB bracing
and Y bracings fails in wind load for 55m/s and all the other models pass in both the wind cases
and seismic zones. In those models either change of property can be done or combination of
bracings can be used and redesigned.
The vertical members are more prominent in taking the loads of the tower than the horizontal and
diagonal member, the member supporting the antenna structures at higher elevation are likely to
have large influence on the behavior of the tower.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to thank Almighty and my family. I express my sincere thanks and regards to Dr. B
Shivakumaraswamy, Professor and Head of Civil Engineering Department, Dr. A.I.T, Bengaluru, for his
constant support and encouragement throughout my work. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to
all the staff members, Department of Civil Engineering, Dr. A.I.T, Bengaluru, for their direct or indirect
support during the work.
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[9] IS800:1984, Indian Standard Code of Practice for General Construction in Steel, Bureau of Indian Standards, New
Delhi.
[10] IS: 802 (part1/sec1): 1995, Indian Code of Practice for Use of Structural Steel in Overhead Transmission Line
Towers, Part 1: Materials, Loads and Permissible Stresses. Bureau of Indian Standards, New Delhi.
[11] IS: 875 (part 3):1987, Indian Code of Practice for Design Loads (other than Earthquake) for Buildings and
Structures, Part 3: Wind Loads. Bureau of Indian Standards, New Delhi.
[12] IS: 1893 (part 1): 2002, Indian Standard Criteria for Earthquake Resistant Design of Structures, Part 1: General
Provisions and Buildings. Bureau of Indian Standards, New Delhi.

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