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Second Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[70/72]  CIVIL ENGINEERING [72/00 - Ord. 2013]  PERCORSO COMUNE 6 60


Learning outcomes of the course 'Geotechnics' are defined in a strictly agreement with the SUA CdS document. More in detail:

  1. Knowledge and understanding: at the end of the course, student will know basics of Geotechnics, such as: soil origin and composition, the effective stress principle, the effects of seepage, the main features of the mechanical behaviour of soils (stiffness and strength) and the experimental evaluation of the main physical and mechanical soil parameters. In addition, student will know basic models and methods for the evaluation of earth pressures, limit loads and expected settlements of shallow foundations.

  2. Appling knowledge and understanding: student will be able to interpret the results of the main soil laboratory tests, to evaluate the geostatic stress state, to carry out basic geotechnical calculations of earth retaining structures and shallow foundations, to evaluate ground settlements induced by surface loads or by pore water pressure changes.

  3. Making judgments: Knowledge will allow the student to correctly understand the main factors governing a geotechnical problem and to select an appropriate solution method.

  4. Communication skill: student will be able to talk about, communicate and discuss geotechnical issues with a modern and correct terminology.

  5. Learning skill: Student will get learning skills (with particular reference to the mechanical behaviour of soils) in order to progress almost autonomously in following studies.


Mandatory pre-requirements are reported in the Regulation of the Degree Course. Appropriate knowledge of basic Continuum Mechanics, Structural Mechanics and Hydraulics is recommended.


  1. Introduction to the study of a multiphase particulate medium (6h + 2h tutorial):
    origin and constitution of soils; underground explorations: boreholes and sampling; relationship between the different phases of a soil; classification, indexing and general properties of soils.

  2. Stresses in soils (8h + 2h tutorial):
    Recollection of continuum mechanics (stress, strain and constitutive laws); strain and strain representation for soils; the principle of effective stresses; geostatic stress states; stress induced by surface loads.

  3. Water flow in soils (7h + 4h tutorial):
    Hydraulic head, d'Arcy’ law, seepage in a porous medium; one-dimensional and two-dimensional stationary seepage; piping, drained and undrained conditions, piezometer measurements.

  4. Experimental determination of mechanical behaviour of soils: (8h + 2h tutorial):
    compressibility (oedometric tests) and strength (triaxial compression and direct shear tests); in situ geotechnical tests;

  5. Modeling the mechanical behaviuor of soils and basic applications (12h + 6h tutorial):
    theory of consolidation, pore overpressure in undrained conditions, stress induced by superficial applied loads, horizontal earth pressure (Rankine’ theory and global limit equilibrium methods), bearing capacity of shallow foundations; evaluation of settlements induced by surface loads.
  6. Lessons Learned from the Case Studies (3h).

Teaching Methods

Direct teaching: 60 hours, 15 of which will be dedicated to tutorials (exercises and calculations). Due to COVID issues and in agreement with possible and future deliberations of the University, lessons and tutorials may be delivered via on line streaming.

Verification of learning

Assessment method consists of some written exercises regarding geotechnical problems similar to those proposed in tutorials (duration of the test: 2 hours) followed by an oral part about other topics of the course. Mark of the written test will be discussed with the student before the oral part. Tutorials developed by the student during the course will be checked during the oral part.
Final mark (XX/30) will take into account the performance of the student in both (written and oral) tests.
In order to pass the exam with the minimum mark (18/30), the student must show:

  1. a basic knowledge of the main topics of the course (soil constitution, soil classification, stresses and strain in soils, seepage; experimental behaviour of soils; soil models (elasticity and plasticity); and an appropriate use of (geo)technical terminology;

  2. the ability to carry out basic geotechnical calculations (geostatic stress state; settlements and their time evolution; horizontal limit stress states; bearing capacity of shallow strip foundations.

In order to obtain the maximum mark (30/30 cum Laude), the student must show to possess an excellent knowledge of all the topics of the course.


R. Berardi - Fondamenti di Geotecnica - Cittàstudi (reference text)
S. Miliziano - Moti di filtrazione - Hevelius (deeper insight)
R. Lancellotta - Geotecnica - Zanichelli (deeper insight)
Teaching material at the teacher website

More Information

At the teacher website can be found: texts and solutions of tutorials, examples of written examinations, slides.

Questionnaire and social

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