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Advanced concrete materials for offshore floating structures

Date: July 09, 2018 at 17:12 GMT

Reinforced concrete (RC) is particularly suited for use in the offshore environment and can be more cost effective than using materials such as steel. However, the demands of wave energy converters (WECs) can be difficult to overcome using conventional RC techniques, for example: the minimum wall thickness requirement can make RC structures too heavy for floating WECs with tight buoyancy constraints; post-tensioning is required to prevent concrete cracking which can significantly increase costs; and large, multi-axial dynamic loading regimes can lead to complex reinforcement requirements. This paper investigates the potential for advanced fibre reinforced concretes to overcome these issues, by reducing the need for internal reinforcement; reducing the wall thickness and overall structural mass; and increasing the permeability of the material in the cracked state, which could remove the need for post-tensioning. If advanced concrete mixes can be successfully exploited they offer a significant benefit for floating wave energy converters and other offshore structures. The potential for the use of these materials is investigated through a case study, looking at the design of a Node structure, which is the main buoyancy element of the WaveNET array developed by Albatern. The paper compares the benefits of fibre reinforced concrete designs against baseline designs using conventional materials using finite element models, and shows that fibre reinforced concrete materials can be used to eliminate the requirement for internal reinforcement and post-tensioning required for conventional RC structures, reduce overall structural mass, and lower CAPEX costs.

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