Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Engineering Science


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Chung R. Song

Second Advisor

Hunain Alkhateb

Third Advisor

Ahmed Al-Ostaz

Relational Format



On Monday, August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the southern gulf coast of the United States. Hurricane Katrina produced record high amounts of surge water along the coastal regions, that over topped and eroded levees and flood walls, inevitably flooding the entire city of New Orleans. After Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security approved a research grant to The University of Mississippi to develop effective but economic technique of strengthening existing I-walls. Using composite materials, a new retrofitting technique was developed to increase the stability of existing I-walls by implementing composite caps. For economical and practical testing, scale models were tested for validation of results. Anisotropic scaling of materials dictated that each test become an independent case study. Each composite cap contains a principle fiber characteristic making each unique. The caps were denoted with a number to signify difference in mechanical properties. The cap denoted as Cap1 had a fiber orientation with a principle direction of X, Cap2 with a principle direction of Y, and Cap3 with a principle direction of X, with the difference being double the fibers and the addition of filler for Cap3. Therefore this study can state which cap exhibited superior structural integrity while sustaining high loading conditions and ultimately lowered the relative displacement of adjacent I-walls. The major findings were that the fiber orientation, thickness, and length, coupled with the application method of the material, played a major role in the structural integrity of the cap. Observations during testing shothat there was an effective height of the cap. When choosing the optimum geometrical properties of composite caps, one must consider the integrity of the concrete. If a cap is too small and extremely stiff, the cap can potentially damage the concrete due to tension. If the cap is too large and thin, then it is economically not viable and may continue to produce high relative displacement. Through intensive testing, the University of Mississippi's Retrofitted Composite Cap System (UMRCCS) has been proven as a viable geotechnical technique for economically and structurally improving I-wall structures, susceptible to highly deviated soil types that are prone to catastrophic failure.


Emphasis: Civil Engineering



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