The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 91 (2013) > Issues > Issue 1 > Capacity of cylindrical shaped grouted connections with shear keys in offshore structures
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Capacity of cylindrical shaped grouted connections with shear keys in offshore structures

Over the last 30 years it has become standard practice to connect offshore oil and gas structures to their foundation piles using cylindrical shaped grouted connections with shear keys or weld beads. Circumferential shear keys, or weld beads, are provided around the outside of the pile and the inside of the sleeve to give the required capacity. The same methodology is also now being used by the wind energy industry to connect wind turbine support structures to their foundation piles. These structures are subjected to rather severe dynamic loading. It is therefore important to document the fatigue capacity of these grouted connections. As a direct result of this need, a joint industry project focusing on the capacity of cylindrical shaped grouted connections with shear keys was initiated by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) in January 2011 and completed in May 2012. This project has involved fatigue testing of grouted test specimens in the laboratory, finite element analyses and assessment and development of a recommended design methodology. The design methodology includes the Ultimate Limit State and the Fatigue Limit State. Fatigue testing of full scale specimens would require very large test setup and hydraulic actuators. Therefore special box specimens were designed with a representative radial stiff ness similar to that of large diameter connections, with both full size grout thickness and geometry of the shear keys. The design and testing of these specimens is presented in this paper together with the main results from the project.

Author(s): I. Lotsberg, A. Serednicki, R. Oerlemans, H. Bertnes and A. Lervik All authors are with Det Norske Veritas, Oslo, Norway