C&ENVENG 2069 - Geotechnical Engineering IIA

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2015

The course provides an understanding of: the nature of soils and their variability; and the state and behaviour of a soil. Topics include: The Origin and Composition of Soils: introduction to geotechnical engineering, processes that form soils, clay mineralogy; phase relationships, Atterberg limits and soil classification: soil state definitions, phase relationships, grain size analyses, Atterberg limits, soil classification and description; vertical stress in soils: soil suction, total vertical stress, pore water pressure, effective vertical stress; flow of water through soils: water flow, permeability, 2D seepage and measurement; consolidation: introduction to consolidation theory, oedometer test, overconsolidation ratio, consolidation settlement, time rate effects, sand drains; strength of soils: shear strength of sands and clays, Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion, direct shear test, triaxial test, soil improvement: compaction - concepts, measurement and field techniques, overview of other soil improvement techniques.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code C&ENVENG 2069
    Course Geotechnical Engineering IIA
    Coordinating Unit School of Civil, Environmental & Mining Eng
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 4 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Incompatible C&ENVENG 2006
    Assumed Knowledge C&ENVENG 1010, MATHS 1011 & MATHS 1012
    Assessment Exams 70%, Coursework 30%
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr An Deng

    Lecturer:  Dr. An Deng (an.deng@adelaide.edu.au, N144, Engineering North, Ph: 8313 2830), School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Lectures and Tutorials:
    ·   Mondays, 12:10 – 1 pm
    ·   Tuesdays, 11:10 am – 12 pm
    ·   Thursdays, 11:10 am – 12 pm
    All in Johnson Labs, G29, Rennie Lecture Theatre.

    Practicals (Laboratory Sessions):
    ·   Wednesdays, 12:00 am – 2 pm, 3:00 pm – 5 pm
    ·   Thursdays, 12:00 am – 2 pm, 3:00 pm – 5 pm
    All in Geotechnical Engineering Laboratories, Ground Floor, Engineering Annex.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1. Introduce geotechnical engineering and soil mechanics in the broader discipline of civil engineering;
    2. Develop an understanding of the different types of soil and their engineering properties;
    3. Develop an awareness of soil description;
    4. Develop an understanding of the soil compaction and ground improvement;
    5. Develop an understanding of the concept of effective stress and its influence on soil behaviour;
    6. Develop an understanding of the influence of water flow on the engineering behaviour of soils;
    7. Develop an understanding of the compressibility of soils and the concept of consolidation;
    8. Develop an understanding of soil shear strength;
    9. Develop a proficiency in handling experimental data; and
    10. Develop the ability to report the results of a laboratory experiment at a professional standard.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-9
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1-9
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1-9
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 10
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1-9
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-9
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 10
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1-10
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Lecture notes and other relevant learning resources, such as copies of PowerPoint slides and audio recordings of lectures, will be made available to students, at no cost, via MyUni.  In addition, hard copies of the notes are available to order (around $12 each) on-line through the student unified online shop. You then need to take the order receipt to the Image and Copy Centre (Level 1 of Hughes Building) to collect the notes. 

    The lectures are a critical component of the course. The lecture recordings (powerpoint slides and audio) will be available on MyUni after the lectures for review and for students who are absent. If a lecture is missed it is essential to view its recording prior to the next scheduled contact time.
    Recommended Resources

    Students are encouraged to purchase a text book for this course, although this is not essential.  It is suggested that students consider purchasing ONE of the following texts, where independent exercise problems are provided.

    • Holtz, R, Kovacs, W. and Sheahan, T. An Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering, 2nd ed., 2011,  Pearson Prentice Hall.
    • Knappett, J. and Craig, R. F., Soil Mechanics, 8th ed., 2012, Spon Press. (Solutions Manual is also  available).
    • Budhu, M., Soil Mechanics and Foundations, 3rd ed., 2011, Wiley.
    Online Learning
    MyUni will be used to disseminate learning resources and information relevant to the course.  Online learning modules will be used to assist your preparation for laboratory experiments and these are available on MyUni.  In addition, the MyUni Discussion Boards, online Quizzes and Grade Centre will also be utilised in this course.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    The course involves the following teaching and learning approaches:

    • Lectures
    • Tutorial assignments
    • Online quizzes
    • Physical demonstrations
    • Practical classes
    • Examinations
    Teaching for this large class will consist primarily of lectures where the fundamental theory will be presented, followed by examples to illustrate how the theory can be applied to solve practical  geotechnical engineering problems.  Students will conduct 3 laboratory experiments (a 1.5 hour time frame in total) to see physical demonstrations of the soil characterisation that is described in the lectures.  Students will develop their understanding of the course content through reading of the notes/textbooks, problem solving through the tutorial questions and attendance at lectures where problem solving strategies are presented and discussed.  Online quizzes and final exam are provided to assess individual understanding of course contents.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Activity Contact Hours Independent Study Hours Total
    Lectures 26 0 26
    Tutorials 10 20 30
    Assignments (formative, x5) 0 20 20
    Practicals (formative, x3) 1.5 4.5 6
    Bonus quizzes (formative,
    x7, conditional marks to final mark)
    0 3.5 3.5
    Exam Preperation 0 48 48
    Exam (summative, x1) 3 0 3
    Total 40.5 96 136.5
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week Lecture Lecture Topic Day Time Date Assignments
    1 1 Introduction Mon 12-13 27-Jul
    2 LS1: The Origin and Composition of Soils Tue 11-12 28-Jul
    3 LS1 continued Thu 11-12 30-Jul
    2 4 LS2: Phase Relationships Mon 12-13 3-Aug
    5 LS2 continued Tue 11-12 4-Aug
    6 Problem Set 1 Thu 11-12 6-Aug
    3 7 LS2 continued Mon 12-13 10-Aug
    8 LS2 continued Tue 11-12 11-Aug
    9 Problem Set 2 Thu 11-12 13-Aug Assignment 1: LS2
    4 10 LS3: Soil Improvement Mon 12-13 17-Aug
    11 LS3 continued Tue 11-12 18-Aug
    12 Problem Set 3 Thu 11-12 20-Aug Assignment 1 due
    5 13 LS4: Vertical Stress Mon 12-13 24-Aug
    14 LS4 continued Tue 11-12 25-Aug
    15 Problem Set 4 Thu 11-12 27-Aug Assignment 2: LS3&4
    6 16 LS5: Flow of Water Through Soils Mon 12-13 31-Aug
    17 LS5 continued Tue 11-12 1-Sep
    18 Problem Set 5 Thu 11-12 3-Sep Assignment 2 due
    7 19 LS5 continued Mon 12-13 7-Sep
    20 LS5 continued Tue 11-12 8-Sep
    21 Problem Set 6 Thu 11-12 10-Sep Assignment 3: LS5
    8 22 LS6: Consolidation Mon 12-13 14-Sep
    23 LS6 continued Tue 11-12 15-Sep
    24 LS6 continued Thu 11-12 17-Sep Assignment 3 due
    Mid-Semester Break
    9 25 No class - Labour Day Mon 12-13 5-Oct
    26 Problem Set 7 Tue 11-12 6-Oct
    27 LS6 continued Thu 11-12 8-Oct
    10 28 LS6 continued Mon 12-13 12-Oct
    29 Problem Set 7 continued Tue 11-12 13-Oct Assignment 4: LS6
    30 LS7: Strength of Soils Thu 11-12 15-Oct
    11 31 LS7 continued Mon 12-13 19-Oct
    32 Problem Set 8 Tue 11-12 20-Oct Assignment 4 due
    33 LS7 continued Thu 11-12 22-Oct
    12 34 Problem Set 8 continued Mon 12-13 26-Oct Assignment 5*: LS7
    35 Review of Past Exam Questions Tue 11-12 27-Oct
    36 Revision and Exam Information Thu 11-12 29-Oct
    Notes: *: Assignment 5 due on 2 Nov.
    This Schedule is subject to change.  Please check MyUni regularly.
    Specific Course Requirements
    Not applicable.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Breakdown of the assessment tasks is shown in the table below.

    Assessment Tasks Weighting Submission Due Date Learning Outcomes
    Assignments (×5 sets, formative) 15% Individual 1 week after being assigned 1-8
    Practicals (×3 sets, formative) 15% Group 2 weeks after session 9-10
    Final Examination (summative) 70% Individual 3 hour duration, closed book 1-10
    Sub-Total 100%
    Bonus quizzes (×7 sets,
    3.5 marks* Individual Flexible and before final exam 1-10
    Note: no hurdle requirement.
    *: read the details about 3.5 conditional marks which are shown below and under ‘Bonus quizzes’.

    There will be assignments set on each main lecture topic (5 in total) throughout the course.  These will typically consist of 2 problems per assignment and will be submitted, marked and returned regularly throughout the semester. Each assignment will be released at the end of relevant lecture topics, and then completed and submitted in 1 week.

    There are 3 compulsory practicals: soil gradation by sieve analysis, soil Atterberg limits, and soil compaction.  The practicals will be conducted in groups (4 students a group).  Groups are automatically assigned in terms of your session enrolment.  Should you have a need to be assigned together with your friend(s), make sure: 1) before Week 1, you have enrolled yourselves together with your friend(s) into the same session or at least sessions of the same time slot on the Course Planner, and 2) no later than the end of Week 1, you have emailed me all your names and the session number.  Requesting to pair students of different time slots would not be approved.

    Practical reports will be submitted as a group report – one submission per group and within 2 weeks after the practical session.  The due date for reports which are due in semester break will be extended to the weeks after, i.e., practicals conducted in weeks 7 and 8, respectively, due on the same day in weeks 9 and 10.  The practical schedule, group allocations and practical data are available on MyUni. Students are expected to read the practical on-line learning modules prior to attending the laboratory sessions.  The modules are available on Myuni and under the practicals tab.

    There will be no ‘make-up’ laboratory sessions for students who miss their scheduled session.  Students who miss a laboratory class due to medical or extenuating circumstances should present a medical certificate to the Course Coordinator or Practical Coordinator, and endeavour to reschedule into an active session.  Students who miss practicals will have up to 50% marks deducted.

    When writing up a practical report, include on the report only the names of the students who attended your session.

    Final Examination
    The final examination will cover all the materials covered during the semester.  The examination will be 3-hours and conducted under closed book conditions.  Sheets of formulae and charts will be attached as informative tools at the end of an examination book.  Supplementary or replacement exams will be awarded in accordance with the University policies.

    Bonus quizzes
    There are 7 sets of optional online quizzes, one set for each lecture series (chapter).  Each set of quiz comprises of 10 questions (e.g. multiple choice, true/false, matching, and fill in blanks), 1 point per each question and thus 10 points for each set of quiz.  

    The quizzes provide chances of gaining additional marks toward course final results.  A set of quiz contributes up to 0.5 conditional bonus mark to the final results, and thus a total of up to 3.5 conditional bonus marks is possible out of the 7 sets of quizzes.  

    The quiz marks are conditional in that: 1) a grade of 10 points in a quiz is equivalent to 0.5 bonus mark, and pro rate; 2) the final bonus mark will not effect the course final mark above 85%.  For instance, the combination of a weighed (assignments, pracs and final exam) mark of 83 and a final bonus mark of 3.0 simply results in 85% as a final course mark.  Additional instances of combination are shown in the table below.  Rounding will be applied for the real final course marks.

    Weighted mark (assignments, pracs and final exam) Final bonus mark   
    Final course mark  
    97 2.8 97 HD
    83 3.5 85 HD
    72.5 2.5 75 D
    70 3.3 73.3 C
    65 2.8 67.8 C
    47 3.0 50 P
    The quizzes are accessible on MyUni and from the ‘Online quizzes’ tab of this course webpage.  Up to ten attempts are allowed.  The average point of graded attempts is updated immediately after the attempts and viewable in My Grades of MyUni.  Extra attempts could be requested via emails to the Coordinator, which would be averaged as well.

    The calculation of the final bonus mark is demonstrated in the table below.

    No. of quiz attempt
    Points (/10)
    Lecture Series 1 (LS1) LS2      LS3      LS4      LS5      LS6      LS7     
    1 8 7 8 8 8 5 9
    2 9 6 9 7 9 6
    3 8 8 9 9 5 7
    4 7 5 9 7
    5 6 9 6 10
    6 8 9 9
    7 7 9
    8 9
    9 10
    10 10
    Averaged point 8.20 7.33 8.67 8.00 7.40 7.57 9.00    
    Bonus mark 0.41 0.37 0.43 0.40 0.37 0.38 0.45
    Final bonus mark sum of individual bonus marks = 2.81
    Assessment Related Requirements
    There is no hurdle requirement for this course.
    Assessment Detail
    Further details of each assignment will be provided in lectures and via MyUni well before the due date.
    E-Submission has been introduced for this course.  Assignments and practical reports must be submitted in electronic form (.pdf, .doc or .jpg) online through respective portals designed for this course on MyUni.  Hard copies dropped into the School’s submission box will not be collected nor graded.  The e-submission must be submitted before 5pm of the nominated due date (i.e., one week after assignment releasing and two weeks after a practical date).  

    Late submissions will be penalised at the rate of 5% per day.  No credit will be given for assignments uploaded after they have been marked and returned to the class.  A late submission will only be allowed when a deferred deadline has been approved by the Course Coordinator prior to the due date because of medical or extenuating circumstances (proof i.e. a medical certificate should be presented).  Any requests for extensions must be communicated by emails.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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