Introduction to Critical State Soil Mechanics
Brief Description
The Introduction to Critical State Soil Mechanics short course provides you with a comprehensive look at critical state soil mechanics and its application in geotechnical engineering. The course covers important aspects such as stress invariants and stress paths, while exploring the concept and application of a state boundary surface to describe the behaviour of normal and overconsolidated soil. You will also be introduced to topics on the critical state line, Roscoe surface, Hvorslev surface, drained and undrained planes and the elastic wall providing you with a practical framework for finite element analysis in the development of plasticity models for soils.
Learning Outcomes
After successfully completing this course, you should have a thorough understanding of
  • the critical state concept and its application in geotechnical engineering, including an understanding of:
  • stress invariants, stress paths and the state boundary surface
  • plasticity theory and the Cam Clay model, and
  • understand the unique implications and difficulties of applying soil mechanic principles in a finite element analysis.
  • be able to plot stress paths for drained and undrained loading of soil and calculate the deviatoric stress, mean effective stress, void ratio and pore pressure at failure
  • be able to use plasticity theory to calculate elastic and plastic strains of soil during shear be able to carry out a finite element analysis in the context of soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering, and
  • be able to model the input and judge the output of a specific FE code.
Course Content
  • Stresses and strains in soil.
  • Stress invariants and strain invariants.
  • Stress paths.
  • Compression and shear behaviour of soils.
  • The Roscoe and Hvorslev surfaces.
  • The Critical State concept.
  • The behaviour of sands and development of a flow rule.
  • Introduction to plasticity theory, the Cam Clay model.
  • Continuum mechanics, constitutive models, compatibility of stresses and strains and development of matrix that satisfies these constraints.
  • Implications of applying soil mechanics principles such as effective stress and stiffness to FE analysis.
  • Biot coupling and Terzaghi-Rendulic consolidation.
  • Druckers stability postulate.
  • Implementing FE code in geotechnical engineering.
Entry Requirements
Prospective delegates should ideally hold a degree in civil engineering or engineering geology. An undergraduate knowledge of soil mechanics is required.

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Course Number:
Catalogue and Category:
Engineering and Technology Management
Who Should attend:
This course is required if you are a postgraduate student studying towards your Honours Degree in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Pretoria. In addition, the course is aimed at civil engineering and engineering geology graduates who have completed undergraduate courses in soil mechanics, as well as senior engineers interested in improving their knowledge of Theoretical Soil Mechanics.
Delivery Mode:
Contact Sessions
Contact Days: