INTRODUCTION TO GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING

ESCI 340

By the end of this course, you should be able to do the following:

Basic Geology

* Describe characteristics of the three major classes of rocks, and their major sub-types.

* Describe six major environments of soil formation and the characteristics of soils that form in each.

* Describe the engineering importance of discontinuities such as fractures, joints, and bedding planes.

* Use the orientation of discontinuities to assess the possibility of slope instability.

Engineering Properties of Soil

* Define and describe the major engineering properties of soil, such as moisture content, degree of saturation, void ratio, porosity, unit weight, density, and the like.

* Estimate engineering properties of a soil using grain size distribution data.

Soil Classification and Description

* Classify soil using the USDA, AASHTO, and USCS systems, based on grain size distribution, Atterberg limits, and visual-manual classification.

* Write a field description of a soil sample.

Site Exploration

* Conduct a site exploration using techniques of literature search, aerial photographs, and field reconnaissance.

* Describe and recognize different techniques of subsurface exploration (e.g. hand augering, solid stem augering, hollow stem augering, rock coring).

* Specify the number, type, and depth of soil borings to be made at a site.

* Describe subsurface sampling techniques (e.g. Shelby tube, heavy-walled samplers).

* Describe the Standard Penetration Test, and interpret SPT results.

* Use data from boring logs to construct a geologic cross section.

Earthwork

* Describe the steps involved in earthwork.

* Identify various pieces of heavy equipment used in earthwork.

* Describe the Proctor compaction test and interpret test results.

Ground Water

* Describe the hydrologic cycle.

* Explain why ground water flows (even uphill sometimes!)

* List and describe the factors that determine what direction and how rapidly ground water flows.

* Explain why and how ground water is important in geotechnical engineering projects.

Quantitative Skills

* Solve geomathematical problems involving varied and diverse units of measurement, and be able to convert between units

* Using quantitative terms, formulate mathematical expressions for and solutions to problems related to water flow rates, discharge rates, volumes, areas, and depths

* Apply the following quantitative skills: algebraic manipulation, use of scientific notation, use of exponents and logarithms, construction and interpretation of graphs, contouring, interpolation and extrapolation, and use of significant figures

Critical Thinking/ Non-Content-Based Skills

* Evaluate the validity and reliability of disparate data sources, especially when they provide conflicting information

* Evaluate quantitative solutions to geotechnical engineering problems to determine if they fall within a reasonable range of values

* Evaluate quantitative solutions to geotechnical engineering problems to estimate sources of uncertainty and magnitude of error.

*© 2007 Laura L. Sanders. Last updated
January 9, 2007.*