With the rapid development of offshore wind energy in Europe, a large number of piled structures are being installed. In areas with sandy seabed conditions, erosion of sediment by the actions of wave and current can negatively influence foundation capacity. An accurate prediction model of scour around the piles is therefore required. Well-accepted scour prediction methods exist; both for the equilibrium scour depth and the time scale of scour [1] around single piles. These standard formulas have been combined with metocean data and a hindcasting model to calculate the expected scour depth around piles of wind turbine tripod foundations. Other causes of scour, such as pile-pile interaction, effect of proximity of structural members to the seabed, and seabed mobility were also assessed in order to determine the amount of global scour to be considered. The scour predictions were compared to measurements taken at an offshore wind turbine foundation at Park Alpha Ventus (PAV) in the German North Sea [2]. The data showed very good agreement with the measured scour around the piles. Both the equilibrium scour depth and time scale of scour were well predicted using the hindcasting model. The measured scour below the central column of the tripod structure exceeded expectations; this is believed to be due to a pumping effect during storm episodes. Finally, the effect of scour on the vertical effective stress around the tripod piles was assessed with a finite element model. Local scour had an important effect while scour below the centre of the structure had a much more limited effect. Considering the combined effects of multiple pile interaction, scour below the central column, and making an allowance for seabed mobility, an equivalent global scour depth for pile capacity calculations was established.

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