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Unit information: Applied Soil Mechanics 2 in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Applied Soil Mechanics 2
Unit code CENG20007
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Diambra
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Civil Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


To enable students to gain a sound grasp of the fundamentals of soil material behaviour. To introduce students to some methods of Geotechnical Analysis.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of the unit the student will be able to

1. Recognise the nature of stress and pore water pressure in soils; state the definition of the principle of effective stress and state its importance; and calculate profiles of total and effective stress beneath horizontal ground for one-dimensional cases.

2. State the definitions of soil phase relationships and soil properties (void ratio, porosity, moisture content, density, etc.); calculate these properties from their inter-relationships; and recognise their significance and use in practice.

3. Recall and use simple descriptions of one-dimensional stiffness of soils to estimate deformations of soils.

4. Apply the spring/piston analogy for stress change in fine-grained soils and calculate short term and long term responses to changes in total stress. Recognise the nature of soil strength and apply a simple empirical expression for frictional strength.

5. State the definition of ‘total head’ and state its role in controlling the flow of water in soils. Sketch profiles of groundwater pressure, and calculate total head, elevation head and pressure head.

6. Summarise the standard methods of soil classification.

7. explain the fundamental and principles of Engineering Geology;

8. explain the basic principles of the seepage in soils, effective stresses, shear and compression behaviour of soils;

9. apply the basic principles of the seepage in soils, Mohr’s circle, stress paths, effective stresses, shear and compression behaviour of soils to solve simple geotechnical problems;

10. devise mathematical models of simple geotechnical problems;

11. apply some methods of Geotechnical Analysis to solve simple problems for two-dimensional flow in soils, slope stability and earth retaining structures

Teaching details

30 hours of Lectures

15 hours of Examples classes

5 hours of laboratory work

Assessment Details

Laboratory work (25%)

3 hour written exam (75%)

Reading and References

David Muir Wood Soil mechanics: a one-dimensional introduction.
Lambe TW & Whitman RV Soil mechanics. Wiley

Craig RF. "Soil Mechanics". 7th Ed. E & FN Spon, 2004 and e-book

Scott CR. "Introduction to Soil Mechanics and Foundations". Applied Science.

Powrie W. “ Soil Mechanics, concepts and applications” Second Edition, Spon press, Taylor & Francis group