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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: Hydrodynamic and Geotechnical Controls of Scour Around Offshore Monopiles

Currently Active: 

Scour, is the removal of sediment from around the base of an object on the seabed by and is a function of the interaction between  the hydrodynamics (tides and waves) and the geotechnical properties of the seabed. Scour, left unchecked, can reduce the stability of offshore wind turbine foundations and the integrity of power cabling. It can also affect biological communities and heritage assets.

Figure 1
Figure 1


The primary objectives of this research are to :

  1. Quantify the morphological change of the seabed around wind farm foundations
  2. Assess the control of local environmental factors on scour
  3. Appraise the performance of existing guidance for scour protection
  4. Consider alternative modelling approaches


Figure 2
Figure 2

Analysis and interpretation of offshore wind farm field data

To quantify the extent of scour around monopiles and understand the influence of hydrodynamic and geotechnical factors on the nature of scour a wide variety of field data is being analysed. The extent of scour is quantified from bathymetric surveys (pre and post-install). Surface sediments are characterised from grabs and side scan sonar. The sub-surface stratigraphy is explored through seismic profiles and intrusive geotechnical surveys such as cone penetration tests, boreholes and vibrocores. Metocean data is also analysed where available and can be augmented with hydrodynamic models. This is the first ever study directed at a comprehensive analysis of field data from within a single windfarm and between different windfarms to draw out the manifestation of geological constraints on scour depth, patterning and maximum extent.

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Figure 3

Key Contacts

Greg Melling (PhD Student)

Prof Justin Dix (Supervisor)

Prof Stephen Turnock (Supervisor)



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Figure 4

PhD and Other Opportunities

Please see GSNOCS

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