Soil Modelling and Numerical Methods

"Excellent CPD course for structural engineers who wish to gain a sound theoretical background for soil-structure interaction problems"

Soil Modelling and Numerical Methods

Fees for 2015-16 courses held at 2014-15 prices

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Soil Modelling and Numerical Methods

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This course provides an introduction to the basic features of commonly used constitutive models capable of describing soil behaviour, and an understanding of the principles of numerical modelling.

It introduces the advantages and limitations of different models of soil behaviour, and provides an understanding of how to select the appropriate soil parameters. Presentations and specially prepared notes and tutorial exercises are combined with the use of geotechnical finite element software to provide a thorough knowledge and understanding of soil modelling.

This course will:

  • introduce a range of constitutive models capable of describing soil behaviour;
  • provide an understanding of the principles of numerical modelling;
  • enable delegates to develop a working knowledge of geotechnical finite element programs.

Course Objectives

On completion of the course, delegates will have developed the ability to:

  • describe the basic features of commonly used models of soil behaviour;
  • understand the advantages and limitations of different models of soil behaviour, and to select the appropriate soil parameters;
  • use a finite element program to analyse a wide range of geotechnical problems such as foundation or embankment loading situations.

Course Outline

  1. Introduction: design objectives, theoretical considerations, physical and analytical models.
  2. Elastic models: characteristics of soil behaviour, strain increments and stress variables, elasticity, drained triaxial test, undrained triaxial test, measurement of elastic parameters - oedometer, in-situ geophysics, plate loading, pressuremeter, anisotropy, nonlinearity-secant and tangent stiffness, advantages and limitations of elastic models.
  3. Elastic-plastic models: yield surface - Tresca criterion, Von-Mises criterion, Mohr-Coulomb criterion, hardening models, plastic flow rules.
  4. Elastic-perfectly plastic Mohr-Coulomb model: elastic properties, yield criterion, flow rule, elastic-plastic stiffness matrix, selection of soil parameters.
  5. Extended Mohr-Coulomb model.
  6. Clay-clay model: 3D space, isotropic consolidation, critical state line, model ingredients, drained and undrained tests on NC clay, elastic properties, yield surface, flow rule, hardening rule, compliance matrix.
  7. Stress paths: foundation loading, slope stability, stress path, 2D and 3D stress spaces, examples of stress paths, pore pressure changes, application of stress paths.
  8. Finite element method: introduction, how the FE works, mathematical foundations, nodes, elements and shape functions, principle of virtual displacement, external and internal work.

Update to course content

Please note that our courses are reviewed regularly, both in response to feedback and so that information about recent research and developments can be included. Thus, content may be subject to change.

Who is the course aimed at?

The course offers an introduction to soil modelling and numerical methods in geotechnical engineering along with the use of the commercial finite element package Plaxis. The course is designed for complete beginners in Geotechnics along with practitioners with previous experience who wish to update their knowledge.


School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences


  • Soil Modelling and Numerical Methods
    • £1175

We offer a 30 percent discount to full time students and to Newcastle University staff.

The course fee includes tuition, course materials, lunch and refreshments.

[ Information about Cancellations ]

Formal assessment may be available for this Course. Assessment attracts an additional fee of £285, and delegates will be issued with a transcript and Certificate of Credit Achieved. Owing to visa restrictions the assessment option is not available to international students outside the European Economic Area (EEA).


Course content

It is anticipated that delegates who attend the course will have knowledge/experience equivalent to the content of the following Modules:

Prerequisite knowledge

It is anticipated that delegates who attend the course will have a reasonable level of knowledge of the following topics:

  • A suitable undergraduate degree qualification in an engineering, geosciences or geological field.

Please contact the Professional Development Unit if you require further information.

Academic Module Outline

This course is also delivered as a Module (code CEG8205) on at least one of the School's Masters programmes, the majority of which can be studied part time, making them suitable for those in employment. Delegates will attend with full and part time registered students. The Academic Module Outline is available via the University's Module Catalogue.

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