DOI: 10.3397/in_2023_0470 ISSN: 0736-2935

A small-scale pile impact test for demonstrating the coupling between structural vibration and underwater noise generation

Ana Carolina Azevedo Vasconcelos, Sabine Heijnen, Bart Holtzer, Alejandro Marcos Aragón, Dingena Schott, Jovana Jovanova

The performance improvement of renewable energy sources has become nowadays a crucial topic to boost the energy transition. With respect to offshore wind farms, larger wind turbines are currently being designed to increase their power capacity. To support such turbines into the seabed, monopile foundations are mainly used, due to their low-cost manufacturing and transportation. Because of the increased wind turbines' dimensions, larger monopiles are needed, which have shown to shift high sound waves to lower-frequency ranges during their installation. A precise prediction of the high noise level is necessary to properly design noise-cancelling devices, which prevent negative impacts on marine life. Because the evaluation of sound levels at a full-scale monopile installation is time-consuming and expensive, small-scale tests are being explored. Here we propose a small-scale test for investigating the high noise levels source. To that end, proper scaling laws and instrumentation have been adopted to assure the similarity between the small- and full-scale cases. The experimental results were also compared to a simplified numerical model. The findings of this work showed that investigating a priori the monopile's features provides an underwater noise prediction, which can be used to design the upcoming noise-cancelling devices.

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