The University of Southampton
Courses

CENV3020 Geotechnical Engineering

Module Overview

This module will introduce you to the analyses often used in the design of gravity, embedded and reinforced soil retaining walls, simple shallow and pile foundations, the assessment of slope stability and slope stabilisation schemes. It will build on the basic concepts of soil mechanics introduced in the second year module CENV2006, and provide a basis for geotechnical design within CENV3015 Design 3.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• To introduce you to the form of and typical methods of construction for geotechnical structures. • To provide you with the skills to investigate quantitatively the stability of unreinforced and piled slopes; gravity, embedded and reinforced soil retaining walls; and simple foundations. • To understand the importance of pore water pressures, and assess the impact of changes in pore water pressure on the stability of geotechnical structures. • To apply suitable factors to limit state calculations to meet the demands of real situations.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Geotechnical structures and how they are constructed.
  • The difference between total and effective stress analysis.
  • The importance of pore water pressure.
  • The theoretical scientific basis of traditional limit-based design calculations.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Time management
  • Engineering approach to solution of problems
  • Effective communication through written reports
  • Creativity and innovation in problem solving
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Use engineering IT tools to aid in the analysis and design of embedded retaining structures.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Calculate lateral and shear stresses on retaining walls and foundations.
  • Apply factors of safety and standard empirical modifications to the basic limit-state calculations to meet the demands of real situations.
  • Investigate quantitatively the stability of unreinforced and piled slopes; gravity, embedded and reinforced soil retaining walls; and simple foundations using total or effective stress analysis as appropriate.

Syllabus

Lectures 1-7. Gravity retaining walls: • limit equilibrium calculations to determine active and passive forces by analysing the static equilibrium of an assumed sliding wedge failure mechanism • assessment of wall stability against sliding, overturning and base bearing failure • short and long term conditions (total and effective stress analyses) • application of factors of safety for use in design. Lectures 8-9. Reinforced soil walls: • limit equilibrium calculations to determine reinforcement length and spacing • assessment of reinforced wall stability. Lectures 10-15. Embedded cantilever walls: • pore pressure distributions • equilibrium analysis based on limiting (active and passive) lateral stresses • short and long term calculations (total and effective stress analyses) • calculation of propping forces • application of factors of safety for use in design • construction techniques for embedded walls. Lectures 16-24. Embedded retaining wall coursework exercise (tutorial sessions held in the computer suite). Lectures 25-29. Shallow foundations: • revision of bearing capacity • effects of foundation shape and depth • shallow foundations subjected to combined vertical, horizontal and moment loading • short and long term calculations (total and effective stress analyses) • application of factors of safety for use in design. Lectures 30-33. Pile foundations: • skin friction and end bearing • pile groups • lateral loads on piles • short and long term calculations (total and effective stress analyses) • application of factors of safety for use in design. Lectures 34-36. Slope stability analysis: • the infinite slope • slip circle analysis in terms of both total and effective stresses • hazard and risk in relation to slopes • slope stabilisation using discrete piles. Lectures 37-39. Revision.

Special Features

Supported computer sessions are provided for the coursework exercise and a licenced version of the software is available for students to use off-campus.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, supported by example problems, and a coursework assignment supported by computer laboratory tutorials.

TypeHours
Wider reading or practice11
Completion of assessment task35
Follow-up work15
Revision35
Lecture30
Preparation for scheduled sessions15
Practical classes and workshops9
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Powrie, W (2014). Soil Mechanics: Concepts and Applications. 

Powrie, W (2014). Solutions Manual for Soil Mechanics: Concepts and Applications. 

Oasys Slope. Oasys FREW: Used for the summative coursework exercise. This is available on iSolutions machines and a licenced student version is provided for home use.

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

Repeat year method - External repeat as per referral method.

Formative

Problem Sheets

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 40%
Exam  (120 minutes) 60%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 40%
Exam  (120 minutes) 60%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Costs

Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Students may wish to purchase a copy of the Powrie textbook, cost circa £40. (books) - £40

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

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