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This paper deals with the system identification of a mechanical structure supported by nonlinear springs subjected to an external load. If all mechanical parameters of the system were known, the displacement of the system subjected to this load could be easily calculated. However, the monitoring applications often deal with the inverse problem. The loads and displacements of the system are known and certain mechanical Parameters of the system are sought. The solution of such inverse problems can be difficult, especially when they have a nonlinear and multimodal character, which often makes them appear intractable at first sight. However, evolutionary computing can be applied to solve this inverse, nonlinear and multimodal problem. Sometimes a prior knowledge exists on certain system properties, which is difficult to implement into analytical or numerical solvers. This knowledge can play a decisive role in identifying the System properties and it can be easily included as a boundary condition when applying evolutionary algorithms.
This article discusses how and under what conditions the unknown spring resistances can be identified. The practical application of this procedure is exemplified here with the mechanical system of a pile foundation.

Offshore wind turbines enter unknown territory, especially where the foundations are concerned. This is because offshore wind power can only make use of the experience from the common offshore constructions used by the oil and gas industry to a limited extent. The offshore wind industry has tried to reduce foundation dimensions, especially the pile lengths, as much as possible compared with those of the oil and gas industry. This is because with the large number of wind turbines involved it can provide considerable economic advantages. On the other hand, the stability of the foundations is additionally at risk because due to the much larger number of cyclic loads they are subjected to it is very difficult to predict how they will behave. Since offshore wind farms are manufactured in series, every systematic fault in the foundation acts as a series fault for a large number of turbines. This calls for monitoring – and the right dimensions of pile foundation, the most common type of foundations used for wind turbines

A great deal is possible, even on the seabed. Together, wind and waves shake the foundations of the offshore wind turbines. "ere is also the “normal” current and ebb and #ow of the tides that are so distinctive in the North Sea. Pore water pressure can also occur on the seabed, loosening it. Where monopiles are involved, the worst case is that the stability of the whole turbine can be altered – even if such a monopile rammed into the seabed has a diameter of up to eight metres. Over half the planned offshore wind turbines in the North and Baltic Seas are to have monopile foundations, and over 40 % are to have multi-pile foundations, designed for example as a tripod. "is is why pile foundations and their loads deserve special attention. For one thing above all is to be avoided in plant operations, and that is the risk of turbine tilt.

A mechanical structure supported by nonlinear springs subjected to an external load is considered. If all mechanical parameters of the system were known, the displacement of the system subjected to this load could be easily calculated. If not all of the parameters are known, but the load and the displacement are measured at one location, an inverse problem exists. In the presented problem the nonlinear springs are unknown and have to be determined. At first glance a problem needs to be solved, which is underdetermined due to the number of unknown variables. However, evolutionary computing can be applied to solve this inverse, nonlinear and multimodal problem. Sometimes a prior knowledge exists on certain system properties, which is difficult to implement into analytical or numerical solver. This knowledge can play a decisive role in identifying the system properties and it can be easily included as boundary condition when applying evolutionary algorithm. This article examines how and under what conditions the spring resistances can be identified. The procedure is exemplified at a mechanical system of a pile foundation.

Offshore piles have to withstand predominantly cyclic axial loads when they are installed in multi-pile configurations, as in jacket foundations. The dimensions of the pile are governed by both the internal capacity and the fatigue behaviour of the steel cross-section as well as by its external capacity in the pile-soil interaction. Owing to the large numbers of piled foundations required for current and future offshore wind farms, there is an urgent need to optimize the dimensions and related costs of single piles. With regard to the pile capacity, two major topics of research are the determination of possible capacity gains due to pile ageing effects and proper consideration of cyclic degradation. In order to investigate both effects, a large-scale testing facility has been constructed at the BAM TTS site in Horstwalde near Berlin. This open-air facility allows large tubular driven piles to be loaded cyclically in both tension and compression while studying the ageing effects by introducing delays between the testing campaigns. First results already show a moderate increase in pile capacity over time. Concerning the anticipated capacity degradation of cyclically loaded piles, preliminary results show an unexpected behaviour. Additional tests are currently being conducted for further clarification.