CIVL4401 Applied Geomechanics

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
This unit develops students' knowledge of geotechnical engineering and explores the application of geomechanics principles to the solution of problems related to shallow foundations, slopes, embankments, retaining walls and ground improvement. Students learn how the mechanical characteristics of soils, as inferred from laboratory and in situ tests, can be applied in geotechnical design. Topics include site and soil characterisation, laboratory tests in soils, bearing capacity, earth pressure theory, retaining wall design, road cuttings and embankment design, ground improvement and slope stability.
Students are able to (1) proficiently write an engineering report on a laboratory experiment; (2) exercise improved interpersonal skills by working in groups; (3) apply soil mechanics principles to the solution of engineering problems related to the stability of foundations, walls and slopes; (4) extend soil mechanics principles to the solution of previously unpractised geotechnical problems; (5) proficiently interpret geotechnical laboratory and field ground investigation techniques; (6) apply new solution techniques, including bound theorems and the finite difference method; (7) demonstrate increased awareness of construction practices; and (8) discuss accuracy requirements and limitations.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) in-class assessments and laboratory reporting; (2) mid-semester test; and (3) a final examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is only available in this unit in the case of a student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Barry Lehane
Unit rules
enrolment in the Master of Professional Engineering (Civil Engineering specialisation or Mining Engineering specialisation); for pre-2012 courses: CIVL2122 Geomechanics or ENSC3009 Geomechanics
Advisable prior study:
ENSC3009 Geomechanics
CIVL3120 Applied Geomechanics
Contact hours
49 (lectures: 20 hours; seminars: 13 hours; practical classes: 12 hours; labs: 4 hours)
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.