CEG8205 : Soil Modelling and Numerical Methods

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The aim of this module is:
To introduce a range of constitutive models capable of describing soil behaviour.
To provide an understanding of the principles of numerical modelling.
To enable students to develop a working knowledge of geotechnical finite element program.

This module will provide an introduction to the basic features of commonly used constitutive models capable of describing soil behaviour, and provides an understanding of the principles of numerical modelling. It will introduce the advantages and limitations of different models of soil behaviour, and 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 the students with a thorough knowledge and understanding of soil modelling.

Outline Of Syllabus

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 test on NC clay, undrained test on NC clay, elastic properties, yield surface, flow rule, hardening rule, compliance matrix.
7. Stress paths- foundation loading, slope stability, stress path, 2D stress space, 3D stress space, examples of stress paths, pore pressure changes, application of stress paths.
8. Finite element method- Introduction; how does the FE work, mathematical foundations, nodes, elements and shape functions, principle of virtual displacement, external work, internal work.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion240:3012:00Revision for exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion115:0015:00Coursework - Group work
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical33:009:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching31:003:00Tutorials
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study135:0035:00Includes background reading and reading lecture notes for a full understanding of material
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Teaching and learning is by a combination of presentations, block-courses, directed reading and through the use of specially prepared notes, small group teaching exercises and geotechnical finite element software.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A70Unseen written examination
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M30Group work (1000 word equivalent per student) - experience of factors that influence results of numerical analysis.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A formal examination will be used to assess understanding of theoretical aspects of commonly used models of soil behaviour and stress paths. The coursework will allow to develop students' skill in the use of parametric studies of the constitutive and numerical aspects of geotechnical design of earth structures.

Reading Lists