University of Maryland

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering




Fall 2004

M 5:00-7:30 pm, Room MTH 0401


Instructor:       Charles W. Schwartz

Office:             EGR 0147C

Telephone:       301.405.1962 (w/ voice mail)


Hours:             M 3-5; Tu 2-5; WF 12-2 (appointments advised—see notes below)


Course Overview: This course focuses on the theoretical and quasi-theoretical approaches for solving problems in the broad soil mechanics subject areas of stress analysis and consolidation theory. The philosophical view, however, is that the underlying soil mechanics theories are relatively straightforward (once understood) and that the real difficulty in geotechnical engineering is the application of these theories to real-world problems that are characterized by incomplete, poorly specified, and/or unreliable information regarding the site characteristics, geometrics, loading, and soil properties/behavior. Consequently, the course emphasizes issues such as: problem idealization and identification of key variables (i.e., those having the most influence on the outcome); methods for estimating needed but unknown problem data (e.g., soil properties); important sources of error in soil mechanics analyses; sensitivity of solutions to changes in the problem data; quick “back of the envelope” scoping calculations (e.g., for preliminary analysis and/or for checking results); and cost considerations. Discussion of these topics will inevitably lead to valuable digressions and discussions away from the nominal topic of the lecture.


Prerequisites: This course is intended for graduate students in civil engineering (others by permission of the instructor). Some basic familiarity with computer usage is required (e.g., spreadsheets, simple programming and/or Mathcad, etc.).


Textbook and Readings:


Required:         Das, B.M. (1997) Advanced Soil Mechanics (2nd Edition), Taylor and Francis,

                        Washington, DC.


Suggested:       Coduto, D.P. (1999) Geotechnical Engineering: Principles and Practices,

                        Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. (ENCE 340 required text—or any other

                        good undergraduate soil mechanics textbook.)

                        Fredlund, D.G., and Rahardjo, H. (1993) Soil Mechanics for Unsaturated Soils,

                        Wiley-Interscience, New York, NY.

                        Lambe, T.W., and Whitman, R.V. (1969) Soil Mechanics, Wiley, New York,



Additional readings from the literature and other handouts will also be distributed throughout the course.


Course Content:



·        In situ vs. induced stresses

·        Elasticity solutions

·        Other constitutive models

·        Soil-structure interaction analysis

·        Advanced stress analysis techniques—finite element methods


·        Static vs. transient pore pressures

·        Review of Effective Stress Principle

·        Pore pressure parameters for saturated undrained loading



·        Classical one-dimensional consolidation theory

·        Analytical solutions

·        Numerical solutions (finite difference solutions)

·        Material properties and testing

·        Extensions to basic theory:

-          Time-dependent loading

-          Nonhomogeneous (e.g., layered) deposits

-          Large strains

-          Submergence effect

·        Accelerated consolidation

·        Multi-dimensional consolidation


·        Immediate settlement

-          Elasticity theory

-          Empirical correlations

-          Strain influence method

·        Primary consolidation settlement

-          Ultimate settlement equation

-          Material properties for primary consolidation settlement analysis

-          Methods for reducing primary consolidation settlements

-          Sources of error in consolidation analysis

·        Secondary consolidation

·        Preloading


·        Phase properties and relations

·        Stress state variables

·        Soil suction relationships

·        Pore pressure parameters