2016 Soil Mechanics I

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Takemura Jiro 
Class Format
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Mon5-6(M114)  Thr5-6(M114)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
Access Index

Course description and aims

 Soils are important engineering materials with complex mechanical characteristics. Among various basic knowledges on the soils to understand such characteristics, the followings are explained in this class.
1. Formation of soil deposits, 2. Physical and chemical properties of soils, 3. Soil classification, 4. Soil investigation methods, 5. Stress in ground (Principle of Effective Stress), 6. Seepage in ground, 7. Mechanical properties of compacted soils

Student learning outcomes

Infrastructures and lifelines are basic components in the built environment. Knowledge and deep insight on the ground are critical in the design, construction and maintenance of those structures. In this class the students study about the ground formed in huge time and space, especially about basics, such as, 1) creation of soils and formation of soil deposits, 2) basic physical properties of soils, 3) soil classification methods, 4) soil investigation methods, 5) stresses in ground, 6) theory of ground water seepage,7) mechanical properties of compacted soils.


soil mechanics, basic physical properties of soils, soil classification, ground seepage, unsaturated soils, compaction

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Basically lecture on basic soil mechanics is dilivered. At the end of each lecture short test is made on the issues studied in the class.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Introduction, standpoint of soil mechanics in geotechnical engineering Understanding geotechnical engineering problems and role of soil mechanics
Class 2 Materials and environment at the surface of the Earth, Formation of geological unit Understnding geo materials and formation of geological units
Class 3 Basic physical poperties of soils Understanding the basic component of soils (solid, liquid and gas phases) and basic physical properties determined by the composition of these phases.
Class 4 Soil mineralogy, composition and classification Understanding soil mineralogy and engineering classification of soil based on composition of grain size of soil particle
Class 5 Soil consistency and quick clay Understanding soil consistency, Atterberg limits and classification of fine soil.
Class 6 Soil investigation, soil characterization, soil profile Understanding the method of soil characterization and soil profiles in the actual ground
Class 7 Stresses in ground(effective stress, total stress, pore water pressure), elastic stress distribution Understanding the principle of effective stress and stress distribution by the elastic theroy
Class 8 Intermediate examination and its review Review of key points in the half part of the lecture
Class 9 Ground water seepage (hydraulic head, head loss and Darcy's law) Understanding Darcy's law which governs the ground water flow in porous media
Class 10 Ground water seepage (determiantion of hydraulic conductibity, basic equation of steady state flow and flownet ) Understanding permeameter tests, derivation of basic equation of steady state flow (Laplace eq.), and understanding the flownet
Class 11 Ground water seepage (solutions of boundary value problems, stress under seepage flow) Understanding some solutions of the basic equation of steady state seepage (dam and wells), and also seepage force and stresses under ground water seepage
Class 12 Characteristics of unsaturated soils Understanding the conditions of soils above ground water surface
Class 13 Soil compaction and Proctor's principle Understanding soil compaction, Proctor's principle and its interpretation
Class 14 Engineering properties of comapcted unsaturated soils, construction of roadbed and subgrade of pavement, fill dam Understanding the engineering properties of unsaturated compacted soils and design and construction of pavement structures and fill dam
Class 15  Summary of lecture contents Review of the contents of the lecture


Soil Mechanics 2nd ed. Kenji Ishihara, Maruzen

Reference books, course materials, etc.

handout and related materials are uploaded in OCWi and also delivered at the lecture time

Assessment criteria and methods

Short tests, reports: 30%, mid-exam:30% and final exam:40%

Related courses

  • CVE.C202 : Soil Mechanics II
  • CVE.C310 : Foundation Engineering
  • CVE.C311 : Geotechnical Engineering in Practice
  • CVE.C401 : Mechanics of Geomaterials
  • CVE.C402 : Stability Problems in Geotechnical Engineering
  • CVE.C431 : Physical Modeling in Geotechnics
  • CVE.C403 : Geo-environmental Engineering
  • CVE.N231 : Concrete and Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory I
  • CVE.N331 : Concrete and Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory II

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)


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