Geotechnics

Module aims

In this module you will have the opportunity to:  
 
· Learn about fundamental soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering Analyse soil origin, composition and variables used to classify soils and assess their state.  
 
· Learn basic concepts related to the one-dimensional flow of water through soils.  
 
· Explain the purpose and basic design principles of building foundations and retaining walls Familiarise yourself with soils, rocks and the use of geological maps and sketches in desk studies.  
 
· Appreciate the importance of developing a detailed understanding of ground conditions in successful civil engineering.  
 
· Recognise major geotechnical hazards, plan appropriate site investigations, and develop safe and successful geotechnical design. 

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module you will be able to:  
 
· Analyse the importance and variability of geomaterials and their impact on civil engineering design.  
 
· Characterise and classify sands and clays from a geotechnical engineering perspective.  
 
· Define relevant state variables for different types of soils and estimate their potential impact on the expected behaviour of soils in various geotechnical applications (including but not limited to analyses related to the one-dimensional flow of water through a geomaterial).  
 
· Explain basic design considerations for foundations and retaining walls.  
 
· Identify primary rocks, their basic engineering properties, uses and hazards.  
 
· Use geological maps to identify materials, hazards and the geometry of the subsurface.  
 
· Draw properly scaled, proportioned and annotated site sketches.  
 
· Assess major geological and geotechnical hazards and their potential impacts on the engineered environment. 

Module syllabus

In this module, you will be introduced to Geotechnics by reviewing several design applications that are related to Geotechnical Engineering.  
 
In an in-class exercise, you will join a diverse group of students to discuss and articulate to the entire class the reasons that led to the well-documented Rissa landslide.  
 
You will then learn how to produce site sketches to visualise the processes that led to its observed appearance. You will also learn how to identify primary rocks and soils, and appreciate their basic properties and engineering hazards.  
 
The nature and variability of geological materials and their engineering behaviour will be discussed in relation to common civil engineering projects, including building foundations, dams, tunnels, bridges and transportation corridors.  
 
Next, you will review the origin and composition of classical types of geomaterials such as soils and rocks and learn how to classify soils, from an engineering standpoint, based on their inherent characteristics such as mineralogy, particle sizes, particle shapes, and plasticity.  
 
You will then develop skills on how to systematically quantify and use fundamental state variables related to the fabric and structure of soils. Likewise, you will learn how to quantify and use variables associated with the stress state in a soil mass.  
 
These skills are critical to successful design and analysis in geotechnical engineering. Subsequently, you will learn how to rigorously assess and quantify fundamental parameters that control the one-dimensional flow of water through soils and its implications to geotechnical analyses.  
 
Finally, you will engage with classmates in the review and analyses of practical examples that illustrate how the concepts covered in the module are typically used in typical geotechnical applications such as foundations and retaining walls. 

Teaching methods

Assessments

Assessment Information is provided separately in Blackboard Learn.

Reading list

Core

Supplementary

Module leaders

Dr Joao Antonio Harb Carraro