- Research area
Environmental interactions, Seabed dynamics and benthic habitat
- Research project
installation for offshore
- Lead supervisor
Professor Charles Augarde (Professor – Department of Engineering, Durham University)
- Supervisory Team
Dr Will Coombs (Associate Professor – Computational Mechanics, Durham University)
Offshore renewable infrastructure, in particular wind turbine superstructures, are usually installed using Jack-up rigs which are floating vessels which carry extendable legs (usually steel frames) to convert them into a stable platform at any random location. The legs are founded on the seabed via “spudcan” foundations that can penetrate below seabed until sufficient bearing capacity is generated. Predicting the rate of and final depth of penetration is difficult as it depends on ground conditions and the loading from the Jack-up. There have been accidents where Jack-ups have toppled over because one or more of the legs is unable to find suitable foundation.
The project aim will be to develop numerical models of Jack-up foundations interacting with the seabed in order to improve predictive capabilities for future projects. The numerical modelling will be based on a relative newcomer to the computational mechanics scene called the Material Point Method. This method has advantages over more traditional methods such as finite elements since it can capably model very large deformations, just as we would expect in the Jack-up problem. The project will build on existing work using this method and further development will require coding to be done by the student.