Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Civil Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Nadarajah Ravichandran

Committee Member

Dr. Sez Atamturktur

Committee Member

Dr. Ronald Andrus


The foundational condition of the historical coastal fortification of Fort Sumter in Charleston, SC was analyzed though the use of numerical modeling. In this study, two-dimensional Finite Element (FE) analyses were conducted to assess the stability of the foundation-casemates-wall system in a coupled manner subjected to potential loadings such as ocean waves, storm surge and earthquake. The finite element model was verified by modeling the historical events (construction between 1820 and 1860, demolition due to artillery bombardment, reconstruction, earthquake, building of the Battery Huger, and the removal of fill from the parade ground) since the construction of the fort in 1820 and comparing the results with available settlement data. The calibrated model was then used to investigate the performance of the Fort (foundation-casemate-wall system) subjected to waves, storm surge and earthquake loadings. The stress distribution, displacements, and performance at various locations in the foundation were studied and reported. The FE simulation results show that the soil beneath the fort's foundation is no longer experiencing settlement but is rebounding towards its original position after much of the initial loading has been removed. It was determined that the presence of an earthquake event had limited impact on the Salient Angle but created a larger amounts of displacement at the Left Face. Due to the large width and mass of the foundation elements of the fort, the FE analysis concluded that the foundation is unaffected by the ocean waves repeatedly colliding with the base of the scarp wall. Simulation results show that large stresses were formed in the casemate structure of the Right Flank during the storm surge loading but were not sufficient to cause failures. Through consultation of previous investigation and the use of Finite Element Analysis, the foundation of Fort Sumter was determined to be in stable condition and to remain so following the occurrence of multiple loading scenarios.



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