Wind farm construction requires large cranes to lift massive wind turbine structures over 300 feet tall and exceeding 160 tons. Installing these structures requires many crane “walks”, moving the heavy cranes around 50 miles along soil surfaces of varying strengths. Moving the cranes quickly is critical to installation economics, but this must be done safely by ensuring soil strength stability to avoid sinking or toppling the crane. Conventional best practices require cone penetrometer tests (CPTs) and performing numerical modeling to establish a safe path for moving the cranes requires on the order of four to six weeks. Itasca developed a rapid bearing capacity prediction tool using Python scripts, FLAC3D, and machine learning to provide near real-time feedback on the soil bearing capacity at a location, allowing enhanced crane walk planning.
The 56th US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium covers all aspects of rock mechanics, geomechanics, and rock engineering.
Dr. Cundall performed his doctoral work at Imperial College, London, where, in 1971, he originated the Distinct Element Method for modeling jointed rock and granular material. In addition to being an independent consultant for several years, he worked for Dames and Moore for five years, was a faculty member at the University of Minnesota for seven years, at which he is now Adjunct Professor. He was employed by Itasca for more than 20 years, and continues involvement as an Associate.
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