With an increasing demand for renewable energy, offshore wind farms become more and more important. Within the next 15 years the German government intends to realize offshore wind farms with a capacity of 15 GW of electrical energy. This corresponds to approximately 3000 to 4000 new turbines.
The grouted joint is a common structural detail for the connection between substructure and foundation piles in offshore wind turbine structures. For lattice substructures such as jackets, the connection is located just above the seabed and is permanently surrounded by water.
Prior investigations by Schaumann et al. showed that the surrounding water may have an impact on the fatigue performance of grouted joint specimens. Thus far, very few results of submerged fatigue tests on grouted joint specimens are published and their statistical reliability is insecure.
Within this paper, 24 individual test results are presented. Regarding test parameters, the focus is set on two different applied load levels, two different loading frequencies and two different grout materials. All parameters are varied in a factorial experiment and are statistically evaluated.
The evaluation shows that load level and loading frequency have a significant effect on the fatigue performance of the connection. Moreover, both effects are significantly correlated. For the used grout materials no significant impact is visible, which can be explained by their similarity regarding mechanical properties and micro structure. Furthermore, the mean displacement and the stiffness degradation of the specimens during fatigue tests are discussed in detail in the paper.
In conclusion, previously published results on the fatigue performance of submerged small scale grouted joint specimens can be confirmed. Load level as well as loading frequency can be stated as most relevant parameters for the fatigue performance.