The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


This is a first course in Geomechanics devoted to soil index properties, stress, seepage and deformation. It introduces the concepts of porous granular materials, total and effective stress, pore pressure and excess pore pressure, stress distributions in elastic materials, elastic deformation consolidation and time-dependent settlement.

Availability2019 Course Timetables

BCA Singapore


    • Semester 2 - 2020

    Learning outcomes

    On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

    1. Quantify important physical characteristics of partially saturated and saturated porous materials from basic measured data.

    2. Identify/estimate important soil properties and describe and classify soils according to AS1726.

    3. Recall and describe common laboratory tests in soil mechanics and analyse data from these tests to determine quantities of interest.

    4. Determine the total stress, pore pressure and effective stress in the ground, under both hydrostatic and steady-state seepage conditions.

    5. Estimate steady-state seepage rates using flow net theory.

    6. Estimate the stress distribution in the ground due to a range of spatially-discrete surface loadings.

    7. Calculate primary settlements and rates of settlement in coarse and fine grained soils using appropriate theories.

    8. Recognise that soil strength contains two components (cohesion, friction).

    9. Explain which strength component applies to granular soils and cohesive soils for different loading and time scenarios.


    • Phase relationships in porous materials and basic soil properties
    • Soils in earthworks
    • Effective stress
    • Pore pressure under hydrostatic and steady state seepage conditions
    • The theory of elasticity
    • Three dimensional stresses beneath loaded areas
    • Strain integration and elastic settlement
    • One dimensional settlement and consolidation
    • Time-dependent settlement
    • Fundamentals of soil strength

    Assumed knowledge

    CIVL1200 Earth Systems, CIVL1100 Fundamentals of Engineering Mechanics

    Assessment items

    Written Assignment: Soil Mechanics Assignment 1

    Written Assignment: Soil Mechanics Assignment 2

    Quiz: Laboratory Exercise Quizzes

    In Term Test: Mid Semester Test

    Formal Examination: Formal Examination

    Compulsory Requirements

    In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

    Pre-Placement Requirements:

    • WHS Requirement - Students must complete a Workplace Safety Induction or Risk Assessment. - Students must attend a specified session. Students must complete and pass an online WH & S laboratory induction module in Blackboard before being allowed to undertake any activity in the laboratory.

    Contact hours

    BCA Singapore and Callaghan


    Face to Face On Campus 2.5 hour(s) per Week for 4 Weeks starting in week 2

    Students will attend only four (4) laboratory classes of the timetabled sessions (TBA). The laboratory classes are essential to providing a hands-on experience with soils.


    Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term starting in week 1

    Attendance at lectures is expected


    Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term starting in week 1

    Attendance at tutorials is strongly recommended.