ENCN452-24S1 (C) Semester One 2024

Advanced Geotechnical Engineering

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 February 2024
End Date: Sunday, 23 June 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 3 March 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 12 May 2024


Stress-strain behaviour of soils. Critical-state soil mechanics. Approximations and limitations for geotechnical analyses. Piles under axial and lateral loading. Shallow foundations.

The aim of the course is to increase students' understanding of deformational behaviour of soils and fundamental concepts in geotechnical analysis and design. The course focuses on two aspects in particular: stress-strain behaviour of soils, and analysis and design of foundations. The background theme of the course is modelling as a fundamental engineering problem-solving methodology. The coursework includes performing laboratory tests on soils specimens and shake-table experiments on scaled-down soil models, use of analytical and numerical tools for geotechnical analysis, and scrutiny of procedures for design of shallow and deep foundations.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course you should be able to:

(1) Interpret key features of stress-strain behaviour of soils (Washington Accord WA2, WA4), (UC GA2, EIE2, EIE3)

(2) Explain fundamental concepts in modelling of stress-strain behaviour of soils (Washington Accord WA1, WA2), (UC EIE3)

(3) Apply analytical and numerical methods for geotechnical analysis, and discuss their assumptions, approximations and limitations (Washington Accord WA1, WA5), (UC GA2, EIE3, EIE4) CE3)

(4) Apply principles of foundation engineering to geotechnical and structural design of shallow foundations (Washington Accord WA1, WA4, WA5) (UC GA2, EIE3, EIE4 CE3)

(5) Discuss and apply methods for analysis and design of piles under axial and lateral loading (Washington Accord WA1, WA5) (UC EIE3, EIE4)

(6) Develop understanding for testing of soils in the geotechnical laboratory, and analytical skills required for geotechnical modelling, analysis and design (Washington Accord WA2, WA4, WA5) (UC GA1, EIE3, EIE5)

(7) Develop and integrate knowledge and skills required for solving complex problems in geotechnical and foundation engineering.Washington Accord WA1, WA4, WA5) (UC GA2, EIE3, EIE4, CE3)




Timetable 2024

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 13:00 - 15:00 F3 Lecture Theatre
19 Feb - 31 Mar
29 Apr - 2 Jun
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 11:00 - 13:00 F3 Lecture Theatre
19 Feb - 31 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun
Lab A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 13:00 - 16:00 Civil - Mech E112 Geo-mechanics Lab
4 Mar - 10 Mar
02 Monday 09:00 - 12:00 Civil - Mech E112 Geo-mechanics Lab
4 Mar - 10 Mar
03 Wednesday 15:00 - 18:00 Civil - Mech E112 Geo-mechanics Lab
4 Mar - 10 Mar
05 Wednesday 08:00 - 11:00 Civil - Mech E112 Geo-mechanics Lab
4 Mar - 10 Mar
Lab B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 12:00 - 15:00 Civil - Mech E112 Geo-mechanics Lab
18 Mar - 24 Mar
02 Tuesday 09:00 - 12:00 Civil - Mech E112 Geo-mechanics Lab
18 Mar - 24 Mar

Timetable Note

The course is delivered in 34 lectures, 2 tutorials, and 4 laboratory sessions. The material will be presented using slide presentations and clarification notes on the whiteboard. The latter is an essential component in the delivery of lectures, integrating various concepts and highlighting key content and considerations.

The tutorials are used to prepare for and facilitate laboratory sessions. The methods and tools covered are directly used in the homework for the assignments.

An independent study including preparation for lectures, scrutiny of concepts and example calculations is an essential component for making this course most effective for you.

The anticipated workload for the course is summarized below.

Lectures - 34
Labs (Geotech) - 6 (3, 3)
Tutorials - 4
Independent study - 106
Reading - 27
Test and exam preparation - 25
Assignments and reports - 45
Tutorials and lab preparation - 9

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Misko Cubrinovski


Christopher McGann


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Assignment 1 (Geotech lab 1 : triaxial test) 8% Learning Objectives: 1, 2, 6
Assignment 2 (state concept interpretation) 7% Learning Objectives: 1, 2 6
Assignment 3 (Geotech Analysis/Modelling using In-situ/Lab tests) 10% Learning Objectives: 2-, 3, 6, 7
Assignment 6 (shallow foundations) 13% Learning Objectives: 3-4, 6, 7
Assignment 6: (Piles:under lateral loads; elastic analysis 5% Learnimg Objectives: 3, 5, 7
Assignnment 5 - Settlement of piles 7% Learning Objectives: 3, 5, 7
final exam 50% Learning Objectives: 1-7

1. Final exam:  A minimum pass mark of 50% in the exam is required in order for a student to pass the course.
2. All assignments must be submitted by the due date. Late submissions will not be accepted. If a student is unable to complete and submit an assignment by the deadline due to personal circumstances beyond their control they should discuss this with the lecturer involved as soon as possible.
3. Aegrotat eligibility: “Aegrotat provisions are intended to assist students who have covered the work of a course but have been prevented by illness or other critical circumstance from demonstrating their mastery of the material or skills at the time of assessment” [UC Calendar].
4. All assignments should be done individually.
5. Homework assignments should be submitted electronically as pdf files, with details as advised by the TAs.

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Coduto, Donald P; Foundation design : principles and practices ; 2nd ed; Prentice Hall, 2001.

Muir Wood, David; Geotechnical modelling ; Spon Press, 2004.

Muir Wood, David; Soil behaviour and critical state soil mechanics ; Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Electronic files of course materials, including assignments, course materials, and any lecture notes will be made available through LEARN. Handouts may be provided during lectures and recommended readings from textbooks may be assigned.

Additional Course Outline Information

Assessment and grading system

Emergency provisions: In the case of an emergency that affects the whole course, the Course Coordinator, in consultation with the Dean, may change the nature, weighting and timing of assessments, e.g. tests and examination may be replaced with assignments of the same weight or different weight at a different time and/or date (which, under certain circumstances, may be outside the prescribed course dates).  The ‘Special consideration’ process will also be used for unforeseen circumstances that adversely affect the academic performance of students individually. The usual grounds for this are described in the UC policy ‘Special Consideration Procedures and Guidelines’, and personal circumstances due to a wider emergency event may also qualify.

Special Consideration for Assignments

An extension will be granted for evidence-supported requests. Extensions will typically be for up to one week, but the duration will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students seeking an extension must contact the course coordinator as soon as possible with evidence of their situation, and preferably before the due date. An extension will not be granted over the study week period.

Special Consideration for Final Exam

Students will be offered an equivalent alternative exam, for evidence-supported requests. This exam will be generally held within a week after the scheduled examination.

Note: All communication associated with the arrangement of equivalent alternative tests/exams will be conducted using official UC email accounts and LEARN. The offer to sit an alternative assessment will come with a list of potential dates/times. Students will have a clearly specified amount of time to respond to the offer to sit the alternative assessment and accept one of the listed dates/times. If the offer is declined or no response is received in the specified time frame, the original assessment mark will be used to compute the course grade

Course Content

The course consists of three distinct parts: (1) Stress-strain behaviour of soils; (2) Soil and site characterization; (3) Analysis and design of foundations. All topics are discussed in the context of geotechnical analysis and design. Further details on the content are provided below.

(1) Stress-strain behaviour of soils under monotonic loading
- Principles and devices for soil testing in the laboratory
- Characteristics of drained/undrained stress-strain relationships of soils under monotonic loading
- State concept interpretation of soil behaviour under monotonic loading

(2) Cyclic behaviour of soils and soil liquefaction
- Cyclic behaviour of saturated sand
- Liquefaction phenomenon
- Impacts of liquefaction on land and structures

(3) Modelling soil behaviour using results from laboratory and in-situ tests
- Strength and stiffness of soils in geotechnical calculations
- General modelling approaches in geotechnical analysis and design (an example of physical modelling)
- Hyperbolic model for shear stress – shear strain relationships of soils
- Use of Cone Penetration Test (CPT) for soil and site characterization
- Development of design soil profile for geotechnical analysis

(4) Shallow foundations
- Bearing capacity calculations
- Settlement calculations
- Geotechnical design of spread footings and mat foundations
- Working stress design vs. limit state design methods
- Structural design of footings
- Large foundations: rafts and piled rafts

(5) Piles under axial loading
- Philosophy of deep foundations (load transfer mechanism)
- Pile under axial loading: elastic analysis
- Settlement of single piles: evaluation using design charts
- Settlement of pile groups: evaluation by simplified design approaches
- Estimating axial capacity

(5) Piles under lateral loading
- Elastic analysis (closed-form solution)
- Simplified pseudo-static analysis using beam-spring model (numerical analysis)
- Modelling nonlinear soil-pile behaviour

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,197.00

International fee $6,000.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Civil and Natural Resources Engineering .

All ENCN452 Occurrences

  • ENCN452-24S1 (C) Semester One 2024