Civil Engineering BEng/MEng

Soil Mechanics 2 ENG2047

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Engineering
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 2 (SCQF level 8)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course provides a basic introduction to soil mechanics and its application within geotechnical engineering. Topics covered include: origin and formation of soils; phase relationships; description and classification of soils; pore water pressure; principle of effective stress; steady state seepage (Darcy's law, construction of flownets, calculation of flow rates, pore pressure distributions); one-dimensional compression; final settlement of wide foundations; one-dimensional consolidation; and rate of settlement of wide foundations


3 lectures per week from Week 4 of the semester

4 tutorial classes

1 lab class

2 classes related to coursework exercises

Excluded Courses





70% Written Exam

15% Seepage Coursework Exercise report

15% Embankment Settlement Coursework Exercise report

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

The aims of this course are to:

■ introduce students to the basic principles of soil mechanics;

■ develop their ability to apply these principles in the solution of simple practical problems in geotechnical engineering.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course students will be able to:

■ describe and classify engineering soils;

■ calculate values of water content, void ratio, degree of saturation, bulk density and bulk unit weight of a soil, given appropriate measurements on a soil sample;

■ determine variations of vertical total stress, pore pressure and vertical effective stress with depth for simple situations;

■ make use of the principle of effective stress in calculating elastic strains or failure conditions for soil samples subjected to loading;

■ construct flownets in isotropic and anisotropic soils;

■ use a flownet to calculate flow rate, pore pressure distribution and factor of safety against piping;

■ use a compression curve from an oedometer test to calculate the final settlement of a very wide foundation (assuming one-dimensional straining);

■ apply the theory of one-dimensional consolidation to determine the development of settlement with time for a very wide foundation.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must attend the degree examination and submit at least 75% by weight of the other components of the course's summative assessment.


Students must attend any timetabled laboratory classes.


Students should attend at least 75% of the timetabled classes of the course.


Note that these are minimum requirements: good students will achieve far higher participation/submission rates. Any student who misses an assessment or a significant number of classes because of illness or other good cause should report this by completing a MyCampus absence report.