Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Civil Engineering

Major Professor

Rajan Sen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

William Carpenter, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gray Mullins, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Daniel Hess, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jose Danon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Steve Cooke, M.Arch.


interlocking, fiber reinforced polymers, high wind design, hurricane construction, rapid deployment buildings


Using advanced composites, an emergency shelter system has been designed. The system parameters are hurricane resistance to 138 mph wind velocity, simple erection, light weight, high durability and rapid construction. The project involves the solicitation of design proposals from several building system manufacturers and the development of an optimized emergency shelter system. The usage is well suited to pultruded members made from fiber reinforced polymers (FRP). Due to the anisotropic nature of FRP composites, a limited amount of research has been conducted to develop design optimization techniques for panels used in construction.

This project allows for the development of optimization techniques for use in pultruded FRP panel members. The Project consisted of a detailed literature review conducted of emergency building industry to assess the validity of existing shelter systems, a state of the art review of connection design in FRP structures with an emphasis on non-standard types of connectors (ie...snap type), systemic structural optimization of emergency shelter for building geometry, roof configuration, foundation anchorage and building envelope, development of statistical methods for evaluation of viable existing emergency shelter systems.

Subsequent to the initial phase of the investigation, an interlocking FRP composite panel system was developed. The system was analyzed for local buckling, first ply failure and global deflection criteria using modified equations originally developed for open section members. The results were verified using Finite Element Methods analysis software.

The findings from the study indicate the need for a second phase in which the most promising available systems and the concept developed are fully tested to verify their capacity to withstand high wind forces including impact of wind borne debris.