Single-Course English 5 ECTS

Basic Soil Mechanics

Overall Course Objectives

To enable the student to a) establish a simple constitutive model for soil and its input parameters, b) conduct elementary analysis of geotechnical seepage, soil deformation, and soil failure, c) develop critical thinking regarding alternative design approaches.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the classification tests, determine key parameters and use the criteria needed to distinguish between gravel, sand, silt and clay
  • Calculate vertical and horizontal stresses in soil (total, effective and pore pressures)
  • Calculate consolidation time and sketch the development of stresses and deformations as function of time for a 1D consolidation problem
  • Describe and interpret consolidation tests to obtain deformation parameters
  • Describe and interpret laboratory and field tests to obtain the effective (drained) strength parameters and undrained strength parameters
  • Combine strength and deformation properties determined from tests into a simple constitutive model for soil
  • Obtain a basic understanding of soil behaviour through means of laboratory experiments
  • Calculate one-dimensional settlements
  • Use bearing capacity formulas for shallow footings

Course Content

Soil classification and description. The principle of effective stress, capillarity. Groundwater, permeability and one-dimensional water flow. Strength of soil: triaxial, shear box and cone penetration test, short and long term strength of soil. Field measurements. One-dimensional consolidation and compression, oedometer test. Settlements and bearing capacity of shallow footings.

Recommended prerequisites

Basic material properties: Particle Size Distribution, Unit weight, Strength and Stiffness.

Teaching Method

Lectures, tutorials, group work, laboratory exercises.


See course in the course database.





13 weeks




DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 12411
Course type Bachelor
Semester start Week 5
Semester end Week 19
Days Mon 8-12

7.500,00 DKK