Soil Mechanics II

Academic year
Subject Area
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
1st Cycle Studies

Recommended Prerequisites

Solid Mechanics, Soil Mechanics I; Strength of Materials I

Teaching Methods

Theoretical lectures with detailed exposition, using overhead projection, of the concepts, principles and fundamental theories, supported by the resolution of some practical problems that frame the students with all the theoretical subjects addressed. Tutorial lectures where the students solve under the supervision of the teacher some applied exercises. Here the students could involve the use of some commercial computer programmes. In some of these lectures the students will go to the laboratory to observe the execution of direct shear box and triaxial tests.

Learning Outcomes

In complement to the subjects delivered in Soil Mechanics I, firstly is intended to give to the students the concepts and the back ground theory that explains the failure in one point or element in the terrain and the main methodologies used to evaluate the global stability of the earth massive. Next are given to the students the additional design concepts and to access the safety of natural slopes and rigid retain walls.

Work Placement(s)



1. Shear strength

Mohr-Coulomb criteria; shear box and triaxial tests, sress paths, drained and undrained soil behaviour. Stress-strain behaviour. Peak, constant volume and residual shear resistance; un-drained shear resistance; introduction to the critical state theory.

2. Limit analysis methods.

Rigorous and approximate methods.

3. Safety analysis

 Safety in terms of the global and partial safety factors; Introduction to the Eorocode 7.

4. Stability and stabilization of slopes

Classification. Stability of slopes in terms of total and effective stresses. Method of slices; Taylor and Bishop and Morgenstern abacus. Causes for failure and stabilization methods.

5. Retaining walls

 Active and passive earth pressures and conditions for their mobilization. Rankine and Coulomb theories. Static and dynamic design. Drainage.

Assessment Methods

Exam: 100.0%


• Matos Fernandes, M. (2006) – Mecânica dos Solos – Conceitos e Princípios Fundamentais, Vol. I, Edições FEUP.

• Lemos, L. L. (2002) – Apontamentos de Mecânica dos Solos, DEC-FCTUC.

• Das, B. M. (2000) - Fundamentals of Geotechnical Engineering, Brooks/Cole.

• Craigh, R. F. (2000) -  Soil Mechanics, Van Nostrand Reinhold.

• Atkinson, J.H. (1993) - An Introduction to the Mechanics of Soils and Foundations, McGraw-Hill.