Available in 2018

Course handbook


The aim of this course is to introduce the in-situ techniques commonly employed in geotechnical practice as well as conventional and advanced laboratory testing procedures available for soil characterization aimed at developing geotechnical models to be used in current practice.

Availability2018 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2018

Learning outcomes

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

1. Interpret and analyse common in situ tests using in geotechnical practice.

2. Estimate geotechnical parameters from in situ tests to be used in geotechnical design.

3. Design a soil sampling campaign for geotechnical characterization in laboratory.

4. Assess sample quality and select proper specimens for laboratory testing.

5. Design a laboratory program for soil characterization.

6. Interpret and analyse index and mechanical (non-conventional) laboratory tests.

7. Estimate geotechnical parameters from index and mechanical laboratory tests to be used in geotechnical design.

8. Propose a geotechnical model based on in situ and laboratory tests.


  • Requirements for developing geotechnical models.
  • In situ testing techniques: CPT, CPTu, DMT, SDMT tests, full flow penetrometers, field vane test. Tests interpretation and geotechnical parameters identification.
  • Soil sampling techniques: open samplers, free piston samplers, fixed-piston samplers, block sampling. Operation principles, advantages/disadvantages.
  • Assessment of sample quality and selection of specimens for laboratory testing: non-destructive techniques (residual suction, bender elements, CT scanning, X-Ray).
  • Advanced laboratory techniques for soil testing: requirements for testing natural soils in laboratory; basic characterization tests; Incremental loading and Constant Rate of Strain (CRS) consolidation testing; stress-path triaxial testing; unsaturated soils testing (basic concepts). Operation principles, interpretation and geotechnical parameter identification.  


This course has similarities to CIVL4250. If you have successfully completed CIVL4250, you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

GENG1001 Mechanics CIVL2280 Geomechanics 1 CIVL3280 Geomechanics 2

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Assignment 1

Report: In situ testing Report

Report: Laboratory Report

Formal Examination: Formal Exam

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Fortnight for Full Term starting in week 2


Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for Full Term starting in week 1


Face to Face Off Campus 4 hour(s) per Week for Full Term starting in week 1

the date for the practical session (devoted to CPTu, SDMT and vane shear testing) will be arranged with the students in week 1.


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