ADVANCED SOIL MECHANICS - 2019/0

Module code: ENGM269

Module Overview

This module is designed to provide insights into aspects of advanced soil mechanics, which are necessary to carry out design of geotechnical structures and foundations.

Module provider

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Module Leader

CUI Liang (Civl Env Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: H250

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

A knowledge of basic soil mechanics to FHEQ Level 6

Module content

Indicative content includes:


  • Revision of basic soil mechanics



Index properties of soil, soil classification, charicterisation and testing, permeability, compressibility and consolidation, fundamental soil testing


  • Strength of soil



Effective stress concept, undrained strength of clay, drained strength of sand and clay (peak, residual, critical state)


  • Soil stiffness



Undrained/drained modulus, Young’s modulus, shear modulus, bulk modulus, strain level, stiffness variation against depth, anisotropy.


  • Constitutive models for soil



Basic FE in geotechnical engineering, stress paths, compression and swelling, normal compression line (NCL), critical state line (CSL), Mohr-Coulomb model, Cam-clay model, critical state framework


  • Advanced soil testing



Cyclic triaxial tests, dynamic simple shear, bender element test, resonant column test.


  • Site Investigation



Exloration and sampling, in-situ testing, interpretation of test data.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 1 20
Coursework COURSEWORK 2 10
Examination 2 HOUR EXAM 70

Alternative Assessment

None.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is centred on three units of assessment.


  1. The end-of-semester examination provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of soil constitutive model and soil stiffness and their ability to apply this understanding to solve engineering problems (LO's 1-4).

  2. One piece of coursework assessing the ability of students to select appropriate parameters and models to carry out FEM modelling on a practical problem and ability to apply the principles of soil models to carry out numerical calculations. (LO's 1, 3, 5, 6).

  3. One piece of coursework assessing the ability of students to conduct and analyse practical experiments, and to effectively represent the results graphically (LO's 4, 6)



Where appropriate, tutor support comment and feedback will be given in the lab sessions and lectures. Students will receive written feedback on the coursework.

Module aims

  • This module aims to introduce students to the deeper aspects of geotechnical engineering, including soil constitutive models, soil stiffness and its nolinearity and anosotropy, as well as their implications for geotechnical design. This module will also introduce the advanced soil testing methods for obtaining design parameters.

    This module delivers teaching in the core subject of Geotechnics and cross-subject threads of Design (in particular of foundation) and Health and Safety (in particular in the laboratory classes)

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed Ref
001 Make an appropriate choice of strength parameters to be used in geotechnical design for various ground conditions and loading conditions. KCPT SM6M, EA1M, D4
002 Make an appropriate choice of soil stifness in geochnical design. KCPT SM6M, EA1M, D4
003 Compare the advantages and limitations of typical constitutive models of soil KCPT SM5M, EA3M
004 Make an appropriate choice of soil testing, and interprete test data to obtain   paramters for a range of geotechnical design scenarios such as the design of earth retaining structures. KCPT P2M, P3
005 Independent learning skills T D4
006 Synthesis and graphical presentation of data T D3M

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 117

Lecture Hours: 33

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The module is delivered principally by lectures and supported by two laboratory classes which include cyclic triaxial test and resonant column test.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Reading list for ADVANCED SOIL MECHANICS : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/engm269

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Infrastructure Engineering and Management MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Advanced Geotechnical Engineering MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Civil Engineering MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Structural Engineering MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Bridge Engineering MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Civil Engineering MEng 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.