Exploring the limits of traditional L-flange connection v/s C1 wedge connection

More Info


The increase in demand for renewable energy has resulted in higher demand for wind energy. To meet this requirement, the wind turbine sizes are increasing rapidly, and this results in increasing load on the connections between MP-TP and the segments of the tower.
This research focuses on traditional L-flange connection and novel C1 wedge connection, former the most widely used in the offshore industry and other being new to the offshore industry. The objective of this thesis is to evaluate the limits of the L-flange and C1 wedge connection. The design of the L-flange connection carried out on the basis of Petersen’s theory[1]. It is designed to have higher ULS resistance with steel mass as low as possible. This analytical designed is then compared to finite element analysis (FEA). Previous study of Cheng[2] is used to validate the setup and methodology for FEM in Ansys.
For the same overturning moment, C1 wedge connection is designed using the design tool provided by C1 Connections. The design check for flanges is carried out. The design is then compared to finite element analysis (FEA). Fatigue limit state was verified for both the connections.
Based on the study, the following conclusions are made. Firstly, L-flange connection has around 30% higher ULS resistance compared to design overturning moment of 609MNm whereas C1 wedge connection has 55% higher ULS resistance. Secondly, L-flange connection has higher meridional deformation at the same elevation in the shell as compared to C1 wedge connection. The gap opening at the interface of the flanges is studied and it is observed that C1 wedge connection opens after the loss of contact force at the interface which is generated more efficiently through the pretension of stud whereas L-flange connection being an eccentric connection starts opening without full loss of contact force at the interface and the secondary path of load transfer is activated. This results in the lower meridional rigidity provided by the L-flange connection as compared to the C1 wedge connection. Lastly, C1 wedge connection provided an opportunity for several optimizations to have the same ULS resistance as that of L-flange connection. The mass of steel reduced for these optimizations. The L-flange connection weighed 53.72 tonnes for both ULS and FLS criterion whereas C1 wedge connection weights 20.8 tonnes for ULS criterion and 28.8 tonnes for FLS criterion.