TU Delft
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2016/2017 Civil Engineering and Geosciences Bachelor Civil Engineering
Soil Mechanics
Responsible Instructor
Name E-mail
Prof.dr. M.A. Hicks    M.A.Hicks@tudelft.nl
Name E-mail
Dr. P.J. Vardon    P.J.Vardon@tudelft.nl
Contact Hours / Week x/x/x/x
Education Period
Start Education
Exam Period
Course Language
The course is split into 2 parts: the first part is largely equivalent to the old Soil Mechanics 1 course; the second part is largely equivalent to the old Soil Mechanics 2 course.
The course explains the basic concepts of theoretical and applied soil mechanics. Theoretical soil mechanics includes: Soil Characteristics; Groundwater; Geomechanics; Shear Strength of Soils. Applied soil mechanics includes: Retaining Structures; Foundations; Slope Stability.
Course Contents
Soil Characteristics: Classification and mineralogy of soils; Grains, grain size distribution and porosity; Introduction to in situ testing.

Groundwater: Pore pressure and effective stress; Darcy’s law, permeability and groundwater flow.

Geomechanics: Stresses and initial stress state; Strains, stress-strain relationships and tangent modulus; Elastic solutions; Consolidation, drained and undrained behaviour.

Shear Strength of Soils: Drained and undrained soil behaviour; total and effective shear strength parameters; Mohr circles; Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion; stress paths; shear test; triaxial test; site investigation; soil sampling.

Retaining Structures: Lateral earth pressure at rest; passive and active pressures; Rankine; Coulomb; sheet pile walls; Blum.

Foundations: Geotechnical bearing capacity; shallow and deep foundations; Prandtl; Brinch Hansen; pile foundations.

Slope Stability: Limit equilibrium methods; vertical slope; infinite slope; method of slices; Fellenius; Bishop.
Study Goals
The main goal of this course is to:
Have an understanding of, and be able to apply, the following: Soil classification; In situ testing; Groundwater flow; Stresses in the ground; Strains and stiffness; Consolidation theory; Shear strength of soils; Laboratory and in situ testing; Earth retaining structures; Foundations; Slope stability.

By the end of the course the student should be able to:
• Explain the various forms of soil behaviour, including the influence of soil properties, degree of saturation and loading rate.
• Evaluate laboratory data to determine material parameter values.
• Plan an engineering strategy for analysing geotechnical problems, involving settlements, consolidation, groundwater flow, basic foundations, retaining structures and slope stability.
• Analyse appropriately and evaluate geotechnical problems, utilising presented theory, on the following topics: elastic behaviour and settlements, consolidation, groundwater flow, basic foundations, retaining structures and slope stability.

Study load:
36 lecture hours, 12 tutorial hours, 72 self-study hours, 17 exam preparation hours, 3 exam hours.
Education Method
Lectures, tutorials and self-study.
Course Relations
Design of Structures and Foundations 1 & 2

In 'de Bouwplaats' a soil mechanics practical will be executed
The learning goals of this course will be tested with:
Written examination (in English/Dutch) at the end of the course.
Mid-term test must be passed to gain entry to the exam.
Permitted Materials during Tests
• Calculator as described in the Examination regulations
• Writing and drawing implements.
Expected prior Knowledge
• Structural Mechanics 1
• Structural Mechanics 2
• Fluid Mechanics
Academic Skills
Analytical skills.
Literature & Study Materials
• Course book (optional): Soil Mechanics, A. Verruijt, Delft University of Technology, 2012. Go to: http://geo.verruijt.net/ and download the book (in English) stored as SoilMechBook2012.pdf
• Accompanying lectures notes (in the form of ppt slides).
• Worked examples.
Mid-term test must be passed to gain entry to the exam. Final mark = examination grade only.
Permitted Materials during Exam
Standard calculator. Formula sheet will be provided.