Geomechanics 1



Semester 2, 2019



Calendar notes

The basic concepts and principles governing the mechanical behaviour of soil, including phase relationships, permeability and seepage, the principle of effective stress, soil strength, compressibility and basic stability analysis.

Further notes

PHILOSOPHY: This course is intended to present the basic concepts and principles governing the mechanical behaviour of soil, and how these are used in engineering applications. These fundamental ideas will prepare the way for the subsequent geomechanics courses. The three courses: Introductory Engineering Geology, Geomechanics 1 and Geomechanics 2 are intended to provide the core geotechnical knowledge thought to be essential for all graduates in Civil Engineering or Environmental Engineering. They are also intended as a preliminary to the geotechnical engineering elective courses.
1) Elementary Definitions and Phase Relationships
The basic composition of soil. Definition of soil properties (e.g. Water content, unit weight, dry unit weight, void ratio) and the relationships between them.
2) The Principle of Effective Stress
Concept of total stress, pore water pressure, and effective stress. Implications for soil behaviour.
3) Natural stress state in the ground and stresses arising from applied loads
Natural stress state including the Ko concept. The use of elastic theory for determining stresses due to point loads, line loads, and uniform circular or rectangular loads.
4) Seepage
Permeability and seepage, hydraulic gradient, one dimensional flow and Darcy’s Law, seepage through a soil mass, flow nets, seepage through embankments, critical hydraulic gradient, uplift pressures on weirs.
5) Shear Strength of Soil
The general expression for shear strength in terms of effective stress, the undrained shear strength, the triaxial test, undrained, consolidated undrained, and drained tests, the use of the Mohr’s circle, applications of total and effective stress analysis in practice.
6) Soil Compaction
Compaction methods in the laboratory and field; Laboratory tests for compaction properties; Contract specifications for construction compaction.



Coursework will consist of a group project, laboratory sessions and a mid-semester test.

The mid-semester test will cover the course material that was presented in the first half of the semester.

The group project will require statements from group members in relation to the level of effort that each group member put into the project. Failure to contribute a fair level of effort may result in a loss of marks for group members in this situation.

Three compulsory 2 hour laboratory sessions are held. These are to help students to understand the subject, and are an integral part of the course. Completion of the laboratory requirements is necessary to pass the course - failure to complete the laboratory sessions will result in a Did Not Complete grade for the course. A short report will be required from each student for each of the laboratory exercises. The reports will be inspected and, when satisfactory, signed-off. The laboratory sessions are an integral part of the course and satisfactory performance, i.e. attendance at the assigned laboratory sessions and the completion of the report, is required. In addition, examination questions may include material that is covered in laboratory sessions.

Exam rules

2 hour exam, closed book, restricted calculators (no memory functions).

Inclusive learning

Students are urged to discuss privately any impairment-related requirements face-to-face and/or in written form with the course convenor/lecturer and/or tutor.

Other assessment rules

No description given

Academic integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting his or her learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the world-wide web. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against electronic source material using computerised detection mechanisms. Upon reasonable request, students may be required to provide an electronic version of their work for computerised review.

All students enrolled at the University of Auckland are required to complete a compulsory Academic Integrity course, usually in their first semester/year of enrolment. The University of Auckland’s full guidelines on procedures and penalties for academic dishonesty are available here.

Student feedback

Actions shared/based on previous feedback

Feedback from previous years has been used to update course content, course materials, and modify laboratory sessions.

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