2023-2024 / GCIV0603-2

Geotechnics and infrastructure


26h Th, 26h Pr, 1d FW, 2h Labo.

Number of credits

 Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Architectural Engineering5 crédits 
 Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Engineering5 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Civil Engineering5 crédits 
 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

During this course, fist the concepts of soil mechanics will be presented. In the following, they will be used for the design and computation of earth structures. The course will deal with the following subjects :  

  • Identification and classification of soils
  • Proctor compaction test
  • Groundwater (darcy's law, steady state flow)
  • Stress state in soil (effective stress)
  • One dimensional compression (consolidation and compressibility)
  • Soil behaviour upon shearing (direct shear test, triaxial test)
  • In-situ testing (geotechnical investigations program; CPT, pressuremeter and other in-situ tests)
  • Earth pressure against wall (Rankine limit state and limit equilibrium method)
  • Shallow foundation (bearing capaicty and settlement),
  • Pile foundation (bearing capacity of pile)
  • Retaining wall (gravity and sheet-pile wall)
  • Slope stability
The course combines parts exposed by the teacher and the sessions of practical class under the shape of exercises. A visit of the laboratory of geotechnics is also organized to allow the students to confront and to complete their theoretical experiences with practical demonstrations of realization of the main soil tests realized in laboratory and in situ. A visit of construction site in connection with one or several geotechnical works is potentially organized, as a function of opportunities in Liege area.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

In the term of course, the student will master the fundamental principles and the laws of the soil mechanics. He will be capable of choosing the tests of physical and mechanical characterizations suited to answer a given problem. He will be also capable of interpreting them and of applying them to the sizing of the foundations, retaining structure and slopes. After completing the course the student is expected to

  • Choose a geotechnical testing campaign
  • Interpret the main field and laboratory tests
  • Calculate stress distribution under applied loads
  • Design a shallow foundation for bearing capacity (ULS) and settlement (SLS)
  • Design soil retaining structures (gravity walls, sheet piles)
  • Verify stability and safety of natural and manmade slopes
This course contributes to the learning outcomes I.2, II.1, III.2 of the BSc in engineering.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Solid mechanics

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The theoretical course bases on presentations ex--cathédra. The notions seen in the theoretical course are illustrated through practical class, under the shape of exercises to be solved by the student by means of managerial employees. These sessions take place in room. Additional exercices are proposed on the course eCampus website. A visit of the laboratory of geotechnics and potentially a visit of construction site are organized. The sessions of exercises and the visits are intended to facilitate the student to master the subject.

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

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

The course is delivered in French.

Recommended or required readings

Lectures notes are avalaible at student centrale des cours - AEES. All the pdf file and the slides used for the theoretical course are available on eCampus.

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam ( open-ended questions ) AND oral exam

Additional information:

The final mark of the course is made of 2 parts:

  • Written, open-book, exam based on exercises (50% of the final mark)
  • Oral, closed-book, theoretical exam
No partial exemption are given in case of 2nd session. 

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

During the sessions of practical class, the student will have to arm himself with a calculator.
Le cours se donne en français.


Bertrand FRANCOIS, bertrand.francois@uliege.be

Association of one or more MOOCs