Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 23 Jan '17Published in: Wind Energy
In wind turbine towers, the preferred design is circular tubes that are connected by a bolted flange joint. The design is typically that of an L-flange resulting in an eccentrically loaded bolted connection. The eccentricity results in a non-linear relationship between external load on the tower and the tensile force in the bolt. In the literature and also in standards, different models are presented for this important non-linear response. In the present paper, a simplified expression for the non-linear force response is presented based on finite element calculations using contact analysis. The L-flange connection is in essence a bad design because it leads to a non-optimal ratio between external force and bolt force. Furthermore, bolt bending results in an even higher bolt stress resulting in a reduction of strength. The present paper presents simple modifications of the L-flange design that considerably improves the connection strength. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.