Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)

Degree Level



Civil Engineering


Gary Prinz

Committee Member

Michelle Barry

Second Committee Member

Wen Zhang


coupled forces, fluid-structure interaction, Port infrastructure


The United States economy is reliant on maritime transportation for 70% of imports and exports. Structures that are integral to the operation of ports, such as cranes, are jeopardized when tropical storms approach land. While wind is the only environmental load used to design dockside container cranes, storm surge often accompanies severe wind events and can create large structural loads. This study focuses on determining coupled storm-surge demands and the effect of waves on dockside container cranes. A damage index prediction tool that considers both maximum wind speed and storm surge height is developed and applied to historical hurricane data for effectiveness. Comparisons of the new damage index with traditional damage indices based solely on wind-speed indicate that the coupled wind-surge model more accurately represented the damage of the selected hurricanes. Analytical models in a parametric study investigate the influence of combined wind and water forces on port-type structures and an experimental model is created to validate the analytical results. Results from the parametric investigations indicate that when surge conditions are considered, wave height and wave type have more impact on the structural demands than wind speed. For loading scenarios impacted by surge, there was no identifiable increase in stress on the structure when wind speed increased. The developed wind-surge damage index and analytical model findings suggest that both storm surge and wave loading should be considered in port infrastructure design to reduce damage costs and improve resiliency.