CEME 7306 - Geotechnical Engineering

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2022

The course applies and extends the fundamental understanding of soil mechanics to the design of geotechnical engineering systems. The following topics are examined: site investigations and in situ testing; lateral earth pressures and retaining wall design; foundation design; loading induced stresses and displacements; bearing capacity of shallow foundations; design of shallow foundations; analysis and design of pile foundations; pavement design; and the stability of slopes.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code CEME 7306
    Course Geotechnical Engineering
    Coordinating Unit School of Civil, Environmental & Mining Eng
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 4 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Assumed Knowledge C&ENVENG 2069
    Assessment Exams, coursework
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr An Deng

    Course Timetable

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

    A full timetable will be available to students through MyUni.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1 Interpret and summarise desktop information to predict the expected soil and groundwater conditions prior to undertaking a site investigation;
    2 Scope and plan site investigations that are feasible, cost effective and appropriately characterise the ground;
    3 Develop an idealised geotechnical model that summarises the ground profile and identifies and quantifies key parameters needed for design;
    4 Calculate 2D seepage, pore pressure coefficients, time-dependent consolidation, lateral earth pressures, loading induced stresses and displacements, and bearing capacity of shallow foundations;
    5 Design retaining walls, foundations, and analyse the stablility of slopes;
    6 Evaluate design options and specify final design recommendations based on factors such as sustainability, construction feasibility and cost effectiveness;
    7 Measure soil properties in the laboratory and interpret and summarise the data.

    The above course learning outcomes are aligned with the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer.
    The course is designed to develop the following Elements of Competency: 1.1   1.2   1.3   1.5   1.6   2.1   2.2   2.3   2.4   3.1   3.2   3.3   3.4   3.5   3.6   

    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)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Electronic copies of 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.
    Recommended Resources
    Students are encouraged to purchase text books; they will be beneficial for this course (although not essential). 

    Recommended text books:

    Atkinson, J., The Mechanics of Soils and Foundations, 2nd ed., 2007, Spon Press.

    Bowles, J. E. Foundation analysis and design, 5th ed., 1996, McGraw-Hill.

    Knappett, J. A. and Craig, R. F., Craig's Soil Mechanics, 9th ed., 2019, CRC Press.

    Smith, I., Smith's Elements of Soil Mechanics, 9th ed., 2014, John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

    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 and Gradebook will also be utilised in this course.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course will be delivered in the format of lectures and interactive learning modules supported by problem-solving tutorials and assignments.  In addition, laboratory classes will be used to develop skills in the determination of soil properties.

    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 28 0 28
    Tutorials 8 16 24
    Practicals 3 6 (per person) 9
    Assignments 0 46 46
    Exam Preparation 0 40 40
    Exam (x1) 3 0 3
    Total 42 108 150
    Learning Activities Summary
    This course explores the following topics:
    • Site Investigations and In Situ Testing
      Purpose of a site investigation, plan and execute a site investigation, interpret information from site investigations, and reporting;
    • Two-Dimensional Flow of Water Through Soils
      Governing equation for 2D flow, construct a flownet, practical uses of a flownet, porewater pressure distribution under a hydraulic structure, determination of uplift pressure, heaving and piping failures;
    • Consolidation
      Governing equation for 1D consolidation, time rate of consolidation settlement, determination of consolidation coefficient, and sand drains;
    • Pore Pressure Coefficients and Stress Paths
      Importance of Skempton's pore pressure coefficients, determination of the coefficients, purpose of stress paths, determination of Kf line, and plot of total and effective stress paths;
    • Lateral Earth Pressures and Retaining Wall Design
      Typical retaining walls (e.g. gravity, cantilever, sheet pile, anchored), Rankine's theory, Coulomb's theory, factors leading to instability of a retaining wall, and design a retaining wall;
    • Foundations
      Purpose & types of foundations, construction processes, and selection & design criteria of a foundation;
    • Loading Induced Stresses and Displacements
      Determine stresses and displacements imposed on a soil by external loads (point, line, strip, rectangular), Boussinesq's solutions, Fadum's Chart, and effect of layered soil profiles;
    • Bearing Capacity of Shallow Foundations
      Determine ultimate/allowable bearing capacity for shallow footings, effects of soil parameters, ground water and eccentric loads on bearing capacity, short- and long-term bearing capacity, and layered soil profiles;
    • Design of Shallow Foundations
      Determine size of a footing (pad, strip or raft) to satisfy loading and serviceability requirements;
    • Analysis and Design of Pile Foundations
      Allowable load capacity of a single pile and pile group, settlement of a single pile, effects of clay and sand, uplift capacity, piles rested on rock, and Franki piles;
    • Stability of Slopes
      Types of slope failure, factors causing slope failure, and calculate factor of safety of a slope (short- and long-term methods).
    These topics are delivered in the context of a set of integrated learning units designed to motivate students to attain learning outcomes
    of this course. The learning activity details are provided on MyUni.
  • 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
    Assessment Task Weighting (%) Individual/ Group Formative/ Summative
    Due (week)*
    Hurdle criteria Learning outcomes
    Assignments 30 Individual Formative Weeks 3-12 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
    Practical Reports 10 Group Formative Weeks 6-11 7.
    Examination 60 Individual Summative Exam period 40% min 3, 4, 5, 6
    Total 100
    * The specific due date for each assessment task will be available on MyUni.

    This assessment breakdown complies with the University's Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy.
    This course has a hurdle requirement. Meeting the specified hurdle criteria is a requirement for passing the course.
    Assessment Detail
    Full details of each assessment task will be provided on MyUni.
    e-Submission through MyUni is used for assessment tasks. Full submission details are provided on MyUni.
    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.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.