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AR30034: Geotechnical engineering

[Page last updated: 15 October 2020]

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2020/1
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering
Further information on credits Credits: 6      [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 120
Further information on unit levels Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 1
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: EX100
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Assessment detail data for this unit is currently being updated as a change has been approved. Updated assessment information will be published here shortly.
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Description: Aims:
To give a knowledge and understanding of a range of geotechnical engineering processes, including an appreciation of how soil mechanics theory combines with a general engineering approach to yield practical solutions to real problems.

Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of the unit, the student should be able to demonstrate a depth of understanding of the technologies studied, and the way in which approaches to design and construction have been developed. The successful student should also be able to examine a new situation, realise the potential geotechnical problems involved, and be able to make reasonable suggestions as to how they might be dealt with.

Ability to analyse and design solutions to a range of geotechnical engineering problems.

Slope stability analysis. Purpose, derivation of Bishops' and Janbu's simplified methods. Application. Other methods. When to use soil mechanics and when to use rock mechanics. Soil as fill. Requirements of engineering fills, suitability criteria, excavation, transportation and compaction. Earth Retaining Structures: generalised types, failure modes, construction. Different approaches to design. Gravity structures, cantilever structures, introduction to sheet pile and embedded design. Excavations - design and construction. Reinforced soil. Mode of reinforcement, distinction between reinforced soil and soil anchors. Requirements of reinforcing elements - tensile strength/stiffness, durability, ease of construction. Importance of interaction, strain compatibility. Function of and requirements for facing, types of construction. Use in embankment foundations, slope repair. Methods of analysis and design - walls and steep slopes, ensuring a margin of safety, other slopes, common errors.
The 'trees and foundations' problem. Importance of soil type, tree species and size, location relative to building, rainfall, ground cover, ground water movement, building brittleness. Behaviour of soil as water content is reduced and air enters. Approaches to risk in design and assessment of existing buildings. Need for an empirical approach in the face of inevitable shortage of data for a theoretical approach.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

AR30034 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering
  • UEAR-AFB07 : BEng(Hons) Civil Engineering (Year 3)
  • UEAR-AKB07 : BEng(Hons) Civil Engineering with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • UEAR-AFM03 : MEng(Hons) Civil and Architectural Engineering (Year 3)
  • UEAR-AKM03 : MEng(Hons) Civil and Architectural Engineering with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • UEAR-AFM07 : MEng(Hons) Civil Engineering (Year 3)
  • UEAR-AKM07 : MEng(Hons) Civil Engineering with Year long work placement (Year 4)