With her PhD work advancing methodologies for foundation design and her expertise applied to a recent project resulting in a significant reduction in CAPEX AND CO2, Iona’s experience paired with her dedication for continual innovation is making waves both at WT and for the industry.

With a degree in Engineering Science from the University of Oxford, Iona proceeded to do her PhD in Renewable Energy Marine Structures at Oxford, specialising in monopile foundations under complex cyclic lateral loading. Work undertaken during her PhD has contributed to improvements and innovation in current methodologies for foundation design and formed a solid basis for the work she now does with Wood Thilsted.

Since joining Wood Thilsted in 2020, Iona has been able to harness her technical knowledge and expertise to support the optimisation of detailed design work for WT’s clients.

Iona is passionate about innovation and champions key learnings throughout her department and the company. For example, she has set up a working group to share key learnings on geotechnical foundation design and ensure they can be incorporated into WT’s approaches for forthcoming design projects. Set up over a year ago by Iona, this internal working group meet every two weeks and discuss lessons learnt across projects to help inform continuous improvement for the work WT does.

Iona’s work on developing the cyclic design approach for jacket piles in Taiwan saw her processing data from large-scale field testing, including the extraction of local pile-soil responses from fibre optic strain gauge data, to better understand the cyclic soil-pile response. Iona used the data to develop a site-specific cyclic stability diagram for application in design. Accounting for cyclic degradation allowed for the beneficial impacts of ageing to be included in design, which led to significant design optimisation and ensured the project could be as efficient and successful as possible.

Whilst working on a UK offshore wind farm project, Iona developed a new soil reaction curve formulation which allowed for an increase in modelled stiffness, leading to significant reduction in pile masses. The development involved close collaboration with the internal Primary Structures team to ensure the development targeted the design drivers for this site. The technical rigour and dedication applied by Iona for this project saw a significant reduction in not only CAPEX, but also CO2, which supports WT’s commitment to sustainability.

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