CIVENG 3A03 Geotechnical Engineering I: Outline
CIVENG 3A03 Geotechnical Engineering I
Soils are weak, compressible, porous earthen materials. All Civil Engineering works
(buildings, bridges, roads, airfields, tunnels, landfills, reservoirs, pumping stations, etc.)
are founded on or within geotechnical materials (soil and/or rock). The stability and
safety of engineering structures depend upon the characteristics and behaviour of the
various types of soil and rock.
Geotechnical Engineering is the subdiscipline that deals with the physical and
mechanical properties (or behaviour) of geological materials, as well as with their
interaction with engineered structures. A Geotechnical Engineer is normally involved in
the analysis, design and construction of foundations for structures, earth and rock dams,
embankments, highways, airfields, aqueducts, levees, bridge abutments, retaining walls,
tunnels, etc. Geotechnical engineers often also get involved in geoenvironmental
problems dealing with underground contamination and transport, as well as
decommissioning of sites and remediation.
The purpose of this course is to develop a good understanding of the mechanics of
soil behavior under various natural and imposed loading conditions. Attention will be
focused on the behavior of idealized soil elements from which the behavior of large soil
masses may be inferred. To complement the theoretical studies, students will be given the
opportunity to carry out standard laboratory tests on various soils.
The topics in the course will be presented using a traditional lecture format. Students are
encouraged to attend lectures and tutorials to ensure that they appreciate what material is
considered to be most important. Tutorials will be used in general, to present examples
and case histories, or review material that the student should already be familiar with.
Assignments are intended to help consolidate the understanding of material presented in