Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Document Type



The population of the Gulf Coast has grown immensely since 1960. Bridges along the coast are a vital part of this area’s infrastructure. They impact the transportation of goods and services, as well as the tourism in these areas. Many of these coastal bridges are at risk of being damaged or even destroyed during extreme weather events. This can cause not only short and long-term monetary problems, but the damage also can exacerbate the issues in getting people out of dangerous areas and getting help into areas in need, after an event. Damages during extreme weather events are the result of the storm surge being able to raise the water level enough for waves to impact the bridge superstructures, unseating or shifting the bridge superstructures. Even though some bridges are designed to be fixed to the supports, wave forces can be greater than the capacity of the supports. Therefore, new technologies need to be, and have been, developed to make these bridges safer and stronger during these events. This research has set forth to determine the impact that the different parts of a bridge have on the total forces experienced by bridges. Research and tests have been performed on some of the recommended methods of damping that would reduce these damages. Some methods can be implemented only on new bridges, and others may be able to be implemented on existing bridges. Five different clearances were tested along with seven different bridge models that ranged from a flat plate to a fully developed slab-on-girder bridge model. Two different support systems were also tested: a fixed support system and a system that allowed for some horizontal and rotational movement. It was found that the girders of a bridge play the largest role in increasing the experienced forces, with open, closed, and vented girder systems changing this increase in force. It was also determined that the different support systems do have an effect on the wave forces, with the fixed support system giving less predictable data, while also showing more wave force for certain deck clearances and less wave force for others.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Cai, Steve