Introduction to Soil Mechanics (Slopes, Retaining Walls) - St. Albans

Course Location STATS at St. Albans
Cost £265
Type of course in situ
Online booking
Course provider First Steps Ltd
Available dates for this course

Please contact First Steps Ltd directly for a current list of course dates

Introduction to Soil Mechanics
A four day course of tuition with daily exercises and course work for geoscientists and environmental professionals

Course Outline
A workmanlike grasp of the principles of soil mechanics is essential for success in any ground engineering or geo-environmental work, most especially in site investigation, design and analyses. These are interdisciplinary subjects involving many who do not have soil mechanics as part of their first degree. This course is directed to those who are probably working in the subject and seek an understanding of its principles and their application to foundations, slopes and retaining walls. The competence that comes from this knowledge will enable you to operate more effectively at your level within the company, to extend your skills and to communicate efficiently with specialists in this geotechnics. The course is spread over four days so that exercises can be completed and a working knowledge of the fundamentals acquired.
Who should attend
The course will be of direct relevance to geologists, environmental scientists and others who have had little or no formal tuition in soil mechanics. The course aims to impart to participants from such a background sufficient knowledge and practical experience for them to understand the basic response to be expected from soils under drained and undrained conditions, and hence the principles governing the strength and stability of foundations, slopes and retaining walls. It can be likened in standard to the first course in soil mechanics that engineers cover at university.
Course Structure
Each day will commence with an explanation of relevant concepts and of the theory used to describe them. The course will provide personal tuition with exercises that are designed to illustrate the fundamentals taught (shown as class calculations in the syllabus). The course is supported by a package of information suitable for the course and later reference.

09.30 – 11.30 Basic concepts
Foundations and how they work: general introduction, with illustrations (Please note that piled foundations will not be considered further)
Force, pressure and stress: explanation of terms, dimensions & units
Application of load to soil: gross & net loading (class calculations)
Explanation of Stress in the ground: total & effective (class calculations of total stress)
Pore water pressure and effective stress from BH profile: (class calculations)

11.30 – 11.45 Tea & Coffee

11.45 – 13.00 Stress & Strength
Soil strength and pressure distribution below foundation.
Introduction to the triaxial cell and shear box
Explanation of displacement and strain: (class calculations)
Addition of foundation loading: (class calculations)
Calculation of required parameters: from real test results (class calculations)

13. 00 – 14.00 LUNCH

14.00 – 15.00 Basic analysis
Assessment of bearing capacity: using simple methods, 45º dispersion and presumed bearing values (class calculations)
Introduction of Brinch-Hansen equation: and foundation failure mechanisms
Introduction of influence charts: for stresses below foundations

15.00 – 15.15 Tea & Coffee

Recalculation of morning examples: using refined techniques (class calculations)
Calculation of Ultimate Limit State: using BS En1997-1 and National Annex for total and effective stress conditions (class calculations)
Discussion of further steps: in the design of foundations beyond the contents of the course.
Other aspects that need considering but have not been covered


09.30 – 11.30 Basic concepts
Introduction to settlement: what it is and how it occurs
Introduction to Serviceability Limit State: and BS EN1997-1
Concept of Elasticity: limitations of Elastic theory
Introduction to the Oedometer

11.30 – 11.45 Tea & Coffee

11.45 – 13.00 Stress & Strain
Derivation of parameters: from real test results for NC material (class calculations)
Immediate and consolidation settlement: (class calculations)
Is settlement a limiting condition?

13.00 – 14.00 LUNCH

14.00 -15.00 Basic analysis
Derivation of parameters: from real test results for OC material (class calculations)
Calculation of Time for Consolidation: (class calculations)
Is time for settlement and amount of settlement a limiting condition?

15.00 – 15.15 Tea and Coffee

Differential settlement: possible causes, limiting values from BS EN1997-1
Differential settlement: from real example (class calculations)
Closing discussion: how to control settlement, revision of general considerations in foundation design.
Other aspects that need considering but have not been covered


09.30 – 11.30 How soil slopes work
Basic mechanical values required for the analysis: force & resistance: sliding on a plane (class calculations)
Concepts of moments
Calculation of moments for the slope: cut out and find CofG manually, (class calculations)
Calculation of moments: arithmetically, (class calculations)
Calculation of resistance: revision of concepts of drained and undrained soil resistance, (class calculations)

11.30 – 11.45 Tea & Coffee

11.45 – 13.00 Calculation of stability
First calculation of stability: using real strength values from SI, (case 1) (drained & undrained) and moment from vertical to CofG), (class calculations)
Concept of tension crack
Second calculation of stability: this time using angle of rotation and same strength values, (case 2), drained and undrained, (class calculations)

13.00 – 14.00 LUNCH

14.00 – 15.00 Concept of slices
Analytical solution for slices
How to solve such an equation: matrix of required data and slices to which they refer
Resolution of forces
Resolve a vertical force on an inclined plane (class calculations)
Divide the slope used in (case 2) into 5 slices and complete the matrix calculation for the 5 slices (class calculations)

15.00 – 15.15 Tea & Coffee

Third calculation of stability: undrained, (case 3), (class calculations)
Add water table and amend Matrix, (class calculations)
Fourth calculation of stability: drained, (case 4), (class calculations)
Fifth calculation of stability: with water filled tension crack (case 5), (class calculations)
Other aspects that need considering but have not been covered


09.30 – 11.30 Basic concepts
Retaining walls and how they work: General introduction
Concepts of lateral pressure generated from vertical pressure
Elementary calculations of lateral pressure (class calculations)
Conversion of pressure to force (class calculations)
Calculation of line of action of force (class calculations)
First calculation of vertical loads behind a proposed wall sitting on GL and retaining a uniform soil (case 1) (class calculations)
Re-calculation of case 1 using GI data (case 2) (class calculations)
Add ground water to case 2 and recalculate the loads found (case 3) (class calculations)

11.30 – 11.45 Tea & Coffee

Shear strength of soil in triaxial compression: (revision)
Relationship of failure surface to principal stresses: (class calculations)
Rankine active pressure concept
First calculation of active horizontal stresses (pressures) and forces and their line of action (case 4) (class calculations)
Calculation of bearing capacity with an inclined load on the wall: (class calculations)

13.00 – 14.00 LUNCH

Rankine passive pressure concept
Re-consider the wall in (case 3) and (case 4), when the wall extends into the ground and amend the values found for (case 4) (case 5) (class calculations)
Calculate vertical loads in front of the embedded section: and pressures and force and line of action of force (class calculations)

15.00 – 15.15 Tea & Coffee

First calculation of passive horizontal stresses: pressures and forces and line of action for (case 5) (class calculations)
Calculation of total stability: (class assessment)
Issues to consider for overall stability
Other aspects that need considering but have not been covered

For booking details see next page

Course date: Please see web site for dates
Location and cost
Please look on the website to see where the course will be held and its cost.
Booking details
Please contact Christine Butenuth at First Steps Ltd. to book this course by email or telephone 0207 736 6889.
For other courses please visit our website at under courses and training.
Course Presenter
Simon J Ferley is a Principal Geotechnical Engineer for Capita Symonds, and based in the north west of England. He is a chartered engineer and Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Simon has many years experience in ground engineering, takes an active role in assisting communication amongst those in interdisciplinary teams, and is well aware of the need for basic tuition in soil mechanics to those from other disciplines.

Unit 17 Hurlingham Studios
Ranelagh Gardens
United Kingdom
Telephone: 0207 736 6889