Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Engineering Science


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Cristiane Q. Surbeck

Second Advisor

Alexander Cheng

Relational Format



Hazardous dense gases such as chlorine are often transported throughout the United States in their liquid form in pressurized railway tankers. These tankers can hold up to 90 tons of liquid chlorine. A high-powered, ballistic attack on a chlorine-carrying tanker could cause devastating outcomes for the surrounding population and environment. This particular terrorist attack was modeled and analyzed by varying a large number of weather parameters and by varying terrain in order to provide specific concentration data at different distances from the source. Data was compiled to provide first responders with a reliable reference for such an emergency so that evacuations and mitigation could be done effectively. The Hazard Predication and Assessment Capability (HPAC) model provided by the Defense and Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the Areal Locations of Hazardous Atmospheres (ALOHA) model provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were verified against actual experiments and plume theories and were used to model the chlorine gas plumes resulting from such an attack. Locations of interest were Chicago, IL due to its urbanized area and skyscrapers and Jackson, MS because of its relatively flat terrain and wooded areas. The varying of the locations provided different terrain factors. This research was not only limited to worst-case scenarios, but it also took into account other, less disastrous scenarios in order to provide useful and practical data for first responders. The goal was to reduce the preliminary work first responders must perform before reacting to a ballistic attack on a chlorine-carrying railway tanker.


Emphasis: Civil Engineering

Included in

Engineering Commons



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