2023-2024 / GCIV2036-2

Soils and Rocks mechanics


26h Th, 26h Pr, 1d FW, 5h Proj.

Number of credits

 Master of Science (MSc) in Civil Engineering5 crédits 


Frédéric Collin

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The 'Soil and rock mechanics' course is the logical complement for the basics thought in geotechnical courses in Bachelor grade.
In the frame of this course, you will need to acquire a series of technical skills specific to civil engineering . In major civil engineering projects, structures (buildings, bridges, tunnels) rely on layers of soil or rock. The characteristics of the rock masses bring new questions about the design of the foundations or retaining systems. In urban sites in particular, the potential interactions between the different underground structures must be taken into consideration. Laboratory testing allow characterizing the highly complex behaviour of soils. The third part of the course is a synthesis of the first two parts: it concerns the design of tunnels dug very often in the rock and it is a good example of interaction between the retaining and the rock.
The three main parts of this course are :

  • Rock mechanics
  • Soil mechanics laboratory testing
  • Tunnel: excavation, retaining, convergence.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

Student have to gain competencies needed for the three main parts of the course:

Rock mechanics: Nature, origins and structure of rock materials; Classification of rock materials; Classification of rock mass; Water into the rock mass; Mechanical properties; In-situ stress state; Mechanical properties of rock joints.

Laboratory testing: Understand and perform soil mechanics laboratory tests (oedometer, identification tests). Undeerstand the in situ tests and analyse their results.

Tunnel: General introduction of the convergence-confinement method, mechanical behaviour of retaining, equation of the convergence-confinement method (elastic and elasto-plastic medium)

The full list of KLO's/AA for this course is defined in the matrix available in  https://www.programmes.uliege.be/cocoon/20182019/formations/descr/A2UCON01.html

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

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

GCIV0603-1 : Geotechnics

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The course is composed of "ex-cathedra" lectures (30 hours) and exercises (30 hours). Exercise sessions related to the three parts of the course allow the students to better understand the theoretical concepts. A visit of the laboratory of Geotechnics is also organized.
The exercises sessions and the visit are dedicated to help the students mastering the theoritical concepts. The presence at the exercises sessions is mandatory.

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

The lectures and exercises session are delivered face-to-face. The attendance to all lectures and exercices session is mandatory. 

Recommended or required readings

Lecture notes in french are available for the part 'Rock mechanics'. They are available on MyULiege. Slides are also available for the two other parts.

Each lesson and practises are mandatory.
Students will be evaluated based on the project reports or presentation (weight 30%). An oral exam will be organized in January (without access to any course materials) on the theoretical part of the course (weight 70%).
In case of second session (September), the grade obtained for the project reports will be kept and the theoretical part will be only evaluated.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

The course will be given on Thursday afternoon, from 13h30 to 17h30.

Each lesson (4 hours) will be divided into two parts: a theoretical lesson (2 hours) and practises (2 hours).

A visit of a site related to the course will be organized.


Students may contact the academic responsible for the course:
Frédéric Collin Institut de Mécanique et Génie Civil B52 Tél. 04/366 9142 f.collin@uliege.be

Association of one or more MOOCs