2023-2024 / GCIV0045-4

Rock mechanics, tunnels, rock slopes, rock foundations


20h Th, 4h Pr, 1d FW, 50h Proj.

Number of credits

 Master of Science (MSc) in Geological and Mining Engineering5 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Geological and Mining Engineering (joint-degree programme with the "Université polytechnique de Madrid")5 crédits 


Bertrand François

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The course presents concepts and tools for rock mechanics. Then the design and building methods of rock works are considered, with special attention to tunnelling.
The course combines part presented by the teacher, presentations by the students, and personal practical works.
Course content : Rock mechanics : Basic principles, determining the mechanical properties of rock masses, experimental investigations, constitutive models, Earthwork : stability of underground opening, design procedures, tunnelling methodology, rock slope stability, rock foundation engineering, etc.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

At the end of the course, students will master the basic concepts in rock mechanics and in design of rock work. They will be able to design a testing procedure and to analyse the experimental results. Thy will be able to design a tunnel lining and a slope stability for simple cases.

Students will be able to analyse scientific papers, to present results written or orally, clearly, in a synthetic and structured way.

This course contributes to the learning outcomes I.1, I.2, I.3, II.1, II.2, III.1, III.2, IV.1, IV.2, IV.4, VI.1, VII.1, VII.2, VII.3 of the MSc in geological and mining engineering.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

The course is using concepts teach in solid mechanics and in basic geotechnic. The concepts must be mastered before the course beginning.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

On the one hand, the theoretical part will be taught orally ex-cathedra.

On the other hand, the student will produce a series of works (individuals or in groups), mostly face-to-face :

  • an analytical computation of tunnel convergence and support loading (Excel or Matlab file to be developed),
  • a rock slope stability analysis
  • a literature review, leading to 1 or 2 oral presentation with ppt or poster supports
  • analysis of outcrops on site and samples testing in lab
  • report writing
Visit(s) of earthwork will possibly be organised.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)


Recommended or required readings

Notes concerning the rock mechanics part are available at the "Centrale des cours de l'AEES". The other part, concerning the rock works, will be given as an pdf file available on the portal MyULiege. These materials are written in french. English speaking student can use the following textbooks, available at the University library :

  • Geological engineering, L.I. Gonzales de Vallejo & M. Ferrer, CRC Press
  • Fondations of Engineering Geology, T Waltman, Spon Press
  • Introduction to Tunnel Construction, D. Chapman, N. Metje & A. Stark

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

oral exam

Written work / report

Additional information:

The evaluation is based based on report related to practical works (50%) and on an oral exam (50%).

The oral exam concerns the theoretical part. No support, no course material is allowed. The student answers to 2 questions by doing synthesis.

The practical works contributes to the evaluation though :

  • oral presentations of literature reviews
  • written report on convergence - confinement exercise
  • written report on outcrops analysis and on lab testing.
In case of second session, the written reports related to practical works may be rewritten. The theoretical exam may be presented again.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

The course is organised during the 2nd semester, on tuesday morning
Assistance to practical part is mandatory.


Prof. Bertrand François, bertrand.francois@@uliege.be
Prof. Frédéric Collin, f.collin@uliege.be

Association of one or more MOOCs