Geotechnical Engineering


Initial development of geotechnical analysis and design and their application in civil engineering.


The aim of this Module is to provide the students with : An understanding of soils physical and mechanical properties in theory and practice and an introduction into geotechnical engineering problems.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  1. Comprehend the origin, physical and mechanical properties of cohesive and granular soils.

2.  2. Understand the basic rock mechanics and laboratory tests to determine the mechanical properties.

3.  3. Analyse geotechnical shear strength and compressibility data to obtain the relevant design parameters.

4.  4. Evaluate and classify soils based on their physical and mechanical properties derived from visual examination and data from laboratory tests.

Indicative Content

1 Physical properties of soil

Factors controlling the weathering of rock and the formation of soils. Moisture content, density, void ratio, porosity, air content and saturation.

2 Soil Compaction and re-use

The compaction of soils − theory and practise. Suitability criteria and the re−use of fill for engineering purposes.

3 Effective stress

The concept of total and effective stress and pore water pressure.

4 Soil Shear Strength

The theory of soil shear strength, Mohr Coulomb failure criterion. Determine shear strength parameters for design purposes from shear box, undrained triaxial.

5 Consolidation of soils

Measurement of the consolidation of cohesive soils in the laboratory, theoretical consideration of amount and rate of settlement, over-consolidation ratio and the application of the e/log p' graph.

6 Seepage

Flow net construction, seepage into excavations, seepage forces and piping.

7 Laboratory Work

Determine moisture content, Atterberg Limit and shear strength of sand and saturated clay. Safe working practices in a laboratory situation.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Delivery through lectures, tutorials and laboratory work. Lectures are informative accompanied by the introduction to calculation techniques which are reinforced through tutorial and laboratory activities. Assessment by coursework (laboratory report) and exam.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 22
Tutorial/Seminar 16
Supervised Practical Activity 8
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 60
Independent 94

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/20 , and may be subject to change for future years.