Soil Mechanics

Universidad del Norte

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Soil Mechanics

  • Host University

    Universidad del Norte

  • Location

    Barranquilla, Colombia

  • Area of Study

    Civil Engineering

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Solid Mechanics, Geology

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Soil mechanics is the geotechnical engineering branch of civil engineering dealing with the engineering properties of soil and its behavior under stress and strain. It applies principles of solid mechanics and fluid mechanics.

    After completing the course, the student must be able to:
    I. Identify the origin and processes of soil formation, their mineral composition and structure.
    II. Apply the weight- volume ratio in determining the physical properties of soils and interpreting the meaning of index properties.
    III. Classify soils by USC and AASHTO systems, and understand their meaning.
    IV. Know the concepts of water flow in soils, effective and total stress and their application in undrained-drained processes. Stress distribution due to point load.
    V. Understand and apply the concepts of compressibility and consolidation as well as the shear strength of soils in engineering problems.
    VI. Determine earth pressures upon structures, by using the Rankin and Coulomb theory. Understand the concept of slope stability.
    VII. Conduct laboratory and field testing (gradations, Atterberg limits, moisture, density, shear strength and consolidation) to determine the physic-mechanical properties of soils.


    • Soils: Origins and formation
    • Weight-volume ratio, granulometry, plasticity and other index properties
    • Soils Classification
    • Soils compaction, moisture-density ratio
    • The principle of effective stress
    • Determine total and effective stress, undrained-drained processes
    • Stress distribution due to point load
    • Compressibility and consolidation of soils
    • Shear strength under drainage. Stress trajectory
    • Earth pressure theories. Concept of slope stability



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