Reliability of Wood Utility Poles under Stochastic Wind Load and Material Considering Knots

Laura V. González de Paz, Diego A. García, Marta B. Rosales


Wood utility poles are simple structures used in power networks and their failure may produce a significant impact on their reliability as well as economic consequences. Wind loads are one of the main causes of damage in wood utility poles. The present study addresses the dynamic behavior of Argentinean Eucalyptus grandis wood poles with uncertain material properties under stochastic wind load. Regarding the material, the lengthwise variability of the Modulus of Elasticity (MOE) and the second moment of area are simulated through the Weak Zone (WZ) model taking into account the knots presence. The stochastic wind velocity field is derived using the Spectral Representation Method (SRM) considering temporal and spatial correlation. Then, the wind load is obtained under the considerations of the Argentinean standard CIRSOC 102. The governing equations are discretized through the Finite Element Method (FEM). The stochastic analysis is performed by means of Monte Carlo Simulations (MCS). In this study, displacements are evaluated such that a percentage of damage is found for each wind velocity. Fragility curves are a useful means to evaluate the failure probability of the poles for a defined failure mode, under a given range of demand, here the wind load. The WZ model results are compared with other MOE models previously developed (as a random variable and as a random field through the Non Gaussian Karhunen-Loève Expansion). Also, confidence bands of the fragility curves are obtained for 95% of confidence.

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