Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.

Theses that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Access Type

Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program

Civil Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (M.S.C.E.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



reliability, monopile foundation, offshore wind turbine


A literature review of current design and analysis methods for offshore wind turbine (OWT) foundations is presented, focusing primarily on the monopile foundation. Laterally loaded monopile foundations are typically designed using the American Petroleum Institute (API) p-y method for offshore oil platforms, which presents several issues when extended to OWTs, mostly with respect to the large pile diameters required and the effect of cyclic loading from wind and waves. Although remedies have been proposed, none have been incorporated into current design standards. Foundations must be uniquely designed for each wind farm due to extreme dependence on site characteristics. The uncertainty in soil conditions as well as wind and wave loading is currently treated with a deterministic design procedure, though standards leave the door open for engineers to use a probability-based approach. This thesis uses probabilistic methods to examine the reliability of OWT pile foundations. A static two-dimensional analysis in MATLAB includes the nonlinearity of p-y soil spring stiffness, variation in soil properties, sensitivity to pile design parameters and loading conditions. Results are concluded with a natural frequency analysis.


First Advisor

Sanjay R. Arwade

Second Advisor

Don J. DeGroot