Monopiles are an often-used foundation concept for offshore wind turbine converters. These piles are highly subjected to lateral loads and overturning bending moments due to wind and wave forces. To ensure enough stiffness of the foundation and an acceptable pile-head deflection, monopiles with diameters of 4 to 6 m are typically employed. In current practice these piles are traditionally designed by means of the p-y curve method although the method is developed and verified for slender piles in sand with diameters up to approximately 2 m. One of the limitations of the p-y curves used in current design (e.g.  and ) is the effects of diameter on the initial part of the p-y curves. This part is especially important in connection with the serviceability limit state and fatigue. The effects of diameter on the p-y curves can be investigated by means of either numerical analyses or physical modelling (large- or small-scale). This paper investigates the effects of diameter on the initial part of the p-y curves by small-scale testing. A new and innovative test setup is presented. In order to minimize scale effects the tests are successfully carried out in a pressure tank enabling the possibility of increasing the effective stresses. The test setup is thoroughly described in the paper. Two non-slender aluminium pipe piles subjected to lateral loads have been tested in the laboratory. The piles are heavily instrumented with strain gauges in order to obtain p-y curves, displacement and bending moment distributions along the pile.
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