SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3K224616
Module Leader Martin MacDonald
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject SCEBE - School Office
  • B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Applicable Mathematics I

Summary of Content

The module contents emphasize the application of the principles of geotechnical engineering in order to classify the soil. Methods of determination of shear strength, permeability, consolidation settlements of soil are also dealt with in the module. Concepts of Bearing capacity, analysis of pressure distribution in a soil mass, foundation settlement also forms part of the module.


The teaching syllabus will cover the following areas: Introduction: Origin and formation of soil, Soil deposits and their engineering suitability, Phase Diagram, Basic soil properties and their inter relationships. Soil properties and their determination : Index Properties of soil and their determination in the laboratory: Moisture content, Specific gravity, Particle size distribution (Sieve analysis), Atterberg Limits. Classification of soils: Purpose of soil classification, basis for soil classification, Particle size classification - British Soil Classification. Field identification of soils. Soil water dynamics: Occurrence of ground water and capillary action. Darcy's law- assumption and validity, coefficient of permeability and its determination (laboratory), factors affecting permeability, effective stress concept-total pressure and effective stress, quick sand phenomena. Compaction of soils: Purpose of compaction, optimum moisture content determination, laboratory and field tests, factors affecting compaction, effect of compaction on soil properties, field compaction and compaction equipment's, CBR test. Consolidation of soils: Mass-spring analogy, Terzaghi's theory-assumption and limitations (no derivation), normally consolidated, under consolidated and over consolidated soils, pre-consolidation pressure and laboratory test Odometer. Shear strength of soils: Concept of shear strength, stress analysis using Mohr's circle, Mohr-coulomb theory, Total and effective shear strength parameters, Concept of pore pressure, factors affecting shear strength of soils, Laboratory and field tests including unconfined compression, direct shear test and triaxial test. Bearing capacity: Definition of safe bearing capacity, factors effecting bearing capacity. Terzaghi's and Brinch Hansen's bearing capacity equations-assumptions and limitations. Effect of load eccentricity on bearing capacity, Effect of water table on bearing capacity. Plate load test, standard penetration test. Foundation settlement: Types of settlement, causes and remedial measures. Settlement Analysis, Data for settlement analysis, computation of settlement. BS specifications for total and differential settlements of footings and rafts.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the students should be able to:1. Classify the soil according to British Soil Classification System (A2, A4, C5, D1)2. Examine the Soil Characteristics (A5, C6)3. Analyze the Shear strength parameters of soils ( B3, B5, C2, D1)4. Analyze permeability of soils (B1, B3)5. Calculate consolidation and settlements (B2)6. Analyze pressure distribution in a soil mass (B3, D6)7. Calculate bearing capacity of soils (B7, C4, D3, D6)8. Analyze soil slope stability (B5, D6)

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The main teaching method will be based on lectures. The students will be expected to perform directed reading exercises and self-learning exercises on emerging technologies. Tutorials will be used to reinforce the module material discussed during lecture sessions. Tutorials also serve as a platform of technical discussions to clarify any queries that arise from directed studies .

Indicative Reading

Barnes, G.E. (2000), "Soil Mechanics", 2ndEd, Palgrave, Britain. Bell, F.G. (1998), "Engineering Geology", 3rd Ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, UK. Budhu, M. (2009), "Soil Mechanics and Foundations", 2nd Ed., John Wiley &Sons, Inc. Craig, R. F. (2004), "Soil Mechanics", 7thEd. ELBS, Great Britain. Das, B.M. (2009), "Principles of Geotechnical Engineering", 7thEd. PWS Publishing Company, Boston. Harris, F. (2006), "Modern Construction and Ground Engineering Equipment and Methods", 3rdEd. Prentice Hall. Smith, G. N. (2007), "Elements of Soil Mechanics", 8thEd. Blackwell Publishing. Whitlow, R. (2004) (), "Basic Soil Mechanics", 4thEd. Prentice Hall Tomlinson, M.J. (1995), "Foundation Design and Construction", 7thEd. Longman.

Transferrable Skills

Problem Solving and Numeracy Communication and Critical Evaluation

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 100.00
Assessment (FT) 16.00
Lectures (FT) 56.00
Tutorials (FT) 28.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 30.00 35% Quiz is considered as formative assesment. Problem solving exercise linked with submission of report (1500 words) on propertise of soil and field tests
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 50.00 45% Unseen Written Examination
Exam (School) 1.50 20.00 35% Mid Term Test - Unseen written Examination 1½ Hours