The Siemens Concrete Wind Tower Prototype project in Iowa.

Concrete Wind Tower Prototype



Thornton Tomasetti was a member of a uniquely-qualified team assembled for the Siemens Concrete Wind Tower Prototype project, which reaches a hub height of 115 meters, making it the tallest wind tower in North America. This new wind tower prototype incorporates segmental, match-cast reinforced concrete ring walls that are constructed on-site with reusable formwork. The ring wall segments are then lifted into place and vertically stacked. Post-tensioning steel techniques, similar to segmental precast bridge construction, are used to anchor the tower segments to the pedestal base.

The record height of the wind tower allows for higher energy production in many geographical markets in which the new wind turbine is planned to be deployed. According to our colleagues at Siemens and WTT, over the next five years, an estimated 17,000 new steel and concrete wind towers will be constructed in the United States and will achieve a potential 47 gigawatts of energy production.

Tall and Slender Building Expertise
From the onset of the project, Thornton Tomasetti’s tall and slender concrete tower design experience was brought to bear to evaluate and refine the prototype concept. Key topics for which we provided technical leadership on include concrete mix design performance requirements, advanced analytical investigations of the tower dynamic properties, vertical shortening analyses and predications due to the creep and shrinkage effects of concrete, and fatigue analyses and design.

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While the range of shapes and forms that can be designed with modern modeling tools is almost limitless, geometric discipline is still essential for budget control. When forms are still in flux, the design team can use our proprietary tools to interactively study multiple geometric options and establish optimized shapes for structural frames and building surfaces, along with related systems.

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Generative modeling uses scripts – instead of direct input – to generate elements, providing even greater flexibility in iterating and testing many options. It allows architects, engineers and other project stakeholders to work together to quickly evaluate any number of concepts and variations.

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Pioneers in the design of high-rise buildings, we use advanced analysis to optimize structural systems, resolve interdisciplinary conflicts, and guard the safety and comfort of occupants. For structures of unconventional size, shape, structural system or function, we employ performance-based design methodologies when prevailing building codes are inapplicable or inadequate, such as in high-seismic areas. Our deep bench of seasoned professionals combines unequalled experience with sophisticated technological tools to enrich the creative process, promote effective collaboration, improve coordination and enhance visualization and communication throughout planning, design and construction. Click here for our brochure (PDF).