Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering

Degree Level



Civil Engineering


Prinz, Gary

Committee Member/Reader

Hale, Micah

Committee Member/Second Reader

Bernhardt, Michelle


This thesis analyzes damage due to fatigue of a typical lock gate on the United States waterway transportation system. Functioning lock gates are essential for this mode of transportation because they control water levels and provide access through dams for ships. Fatigue cracking is caused by cyclic loading and corrosion. Cyclic loading on a lock gate was imitated using a finite element model. This model was used to calculate stress ranges for a cycle so that the number of cycles to failure could be calculated. The proportion of cycles to cycles to failure is known as the fatigue capacity. A linear fatigue damage accumulation rule (Miner’s Rule) helped determine the fatigue critical regions within the gate. Twenty-seven sections of high stress were identified and analyzed. A section at the base of the lock gate sustained the most damage and was determined to be the most fatigue susceptible location. Further analysis and experimentation will validate these results so that retrofits become a possibility in preventing damage due to fatigue caused by cyclic loading.