SOLCYP: A Four-Year Joint Industry Project On the Behaviour of Piles Under Cyclic Loading

Puech, Alain (Fugro-France) | Canou, Jean (ENPC-Navier) | Bernardini, Christian (IREX) | Pecker, Alain (Geodynamique et Structure) | Jardine, Richard (Imperial College) | Holeyman, Alain (Universite Catholique de Louvain)



SOLCYP is a research and development project conducted in France to: (i) understand the physical phenomena conditioning the response of piles to vertical and horizontal cyclic loads; (ii) develop advanced design methods; and (iii) initiate pre-normative development of methodologies that may later be included in national and international codes or professional standards. The potential applications include conventional structures, such as electricity pylons or chimneys, high rise towers and high speed train bridges. However, a central emphasis is also given to more novel foundations for offshore and onshore renewable energy engineering. The paper describes the objectives and overall technical content of the project. Several companion papers focus on more specific aspects and the results obtained so far.

1. Introduction

The oil and gas industry has developed various procedures for considering the effects of large wave cyclic loads on foundations for offshore structures. Design guidelines include the American Petroleum Institute (API) RP 2GEO (2011); Det Norske Veritas (DNV) Foundations (1992) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 19901-4 (2003). In addition, the offshore turbines industry is progressively adapting such methodologies given in DNV-OS-J101 (2011) and Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) publication entitled, Design of Offshore Wind Turbines (2007). Surprisingly, the effects of cyclic loading on foundations are largely ignored in most civil engineering and building activities. French codes and Eurocode7 (2007) reflect this poor level of consideration. A committee working under the umbrella of the French national agency, IREX, called for national engagement in an ambitious research and development project to address the present lack of guidance regarding piles under cyclic loading. This paper describes the objectives and overall technical content of the project. Several companion papers focus on specific aspects and initial outcomes. Cyclic loads may be essentially environmental (e.g. wave, wind) or operational in origin.