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During 2021 we will continue to support students who need to study remotely due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and travel restrictions. Make sure you check the location code when selecting a unit outline or choosing your units of study in Sydney Student. Find out more about what these codes mean. Both remote and on-campus locations have the same learning activities and assessments, however teaching staff may vary. More information about face-to-face teaching and assessment arrangements for each unit will be provided on Canvas.

Unit of study_

CIVL2410: Soil Mechanics

This course provides an elementary introduction to Geotechnical Engineering, and provides the basic mechanics necessary for the detailed study of Geotechnical Engineering. This course aims to provide an understanding of: the nature of soils as engineering materials; common soil classification schemes; the importance of water in the soil and the effects of water movement; methods of predicting soil settlements, the stress-strain-strength response of soils, and earth pressures.

Code CIVL2410
Academic unit Civil Engineering
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge:
CIVL2201 AND GEOL1501 AND (CIVL1802 or ENGG1802). An understanding of simple statics, equilibrium, forces and bending moments, and of stress and strain and the relationship between them. This is covered by University of Sydney courses CIVL1802 Statics (or ENGG1802 Engineering Mechanics), CIVL2201 Structural Mechanics. Familiarity with the use of spreadsheets (Excel, Mathcad) to obtain solutions to engineering problems, and with the graphical presentation of this data. Familiarity with word processing packages for report presentation. Familiarity with partial differential equations, and their analytical and numerical solution.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate proficiency in handling experimental data, including strength parameters
  • LO2. analyse and report the results of a laboratory experiment at a professional standard
  • LO3. develop and use a spreadsheet to analyse a geotechnical design problem
  • LO4. give an engineering classification of any piece of soil, and on this basis predict how it will perform as an engineering material
  • LO5. calculate the settlements, and rates of settlement, under structures of various shapes and sizes
  • LO6. explain the advantages and limitations of the different methods of settlement calculation
  • LO7. determine the strength parameters appropriate to a range of stability problems, and understand the difference between total and effective stress approaches
  • LO8. understand the principle of effective stress, and be able to apply this to calculate the stresses causing soil deformation
  • LO9. calculate quantities of water flowing through the ground, and understand the effects that water flow has on the soil.

Unit outlines

Unit outlines will be available 2 weeks before the first day of teaching for the relevant session.