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Due to the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the learning activities, assessments and attendance requirements for this unit may be subject to late changes. Please refer to this unit outline regularly for up to date information and to notices in the unit’s Canvas site for any adjustments.

Unit of study_

CIVL5460: Particle Mechanics for Geotechnics

The objectives of this unit are to demonstrate how the granular structure of soil materials controls their engineering behaviour; translate particle micromechanics to improve macroscopic engineering predictions; and establish the intimate connection of geotechnical engineering to other disciplines where granular materials play a pivotal role, including mining engineering, bulk materials handling, and geophysics. Similarly, this course will cohesively connect geotechnical engineering with fluids engineering principles, as well as enhance students' background in materials science. At the end of this unit students will be able to understand and use Discrete Element Method to evaluate and solve geotechnical problems such as rockfall interactions with surrounding terrain. They will also critically analyse pile penetration and silo discharge in light of granular mechanisms; apply soil rheology to carry out parametric study of landslide flows; and understand and use dimensionless analysis principles to predict resistive forces on obstacles. Strong focus will be dedicated for communicating students' results using written methods appropriate for professional engineers.

Code CIVL5460
Academic unit Civil Engineering
Credit points 6
Prerequisites: ? None
Corequisites: ? None
Prohibitions: ? None

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

  • LO1. Provide clear and well articulated laboratory reports of physical experiments supported by well established theoretical background.
  • LO2. Estimate the bearing capacity of piles in terms of particle crushability and frictional interaction.
  • LO3. Critically understand the applicability of the discrete element method in material bulk handling and geotechnics.
  • LO4. Critically understand the mechanisms dictating fluid forces on granular media, and assess permeability in granular soils.
  • LO5. Evaluate the stresses in silos and explain their effects on their failures.
  • LO6. Determine the effect of particle properties on the shear forces developing along interfaces.
  • LO7. Critically analyse the kinematics of granular landslides using particle rheological equations.

Unit outlines

Unit outlines will be available 2 weeks before the first day of teaching for 1000-level and 5000-level units, or one week before the first day of teaching for all other units.

There are no unit outlines available online for previous years.