Geothecnics for the defence of the territory       ( 5 CFU )

Prof. Lorella Montrasio      Tel. 0521.905932 - E-mail:

The course aims to form the fundamental principles of soil mechanics, by giving complementary topics in respect to those given during the Geotechnics course, in order to solve problems regarding Geotechnical Engineering, with a particular reference to environmental problems, such as slope stability, river embankments, dumps.

The role of water in Geotechnical Engineering problems

References of fundamental principles of soil mechanics. The principle of effective stress.

Seepage theory (steady flow)
One-dimensional seepage. Darcy’s empirical law. Changes in soil stress conditions with seepage. Two- and three-dimensional problems. Introduction to the classic geotechnical problem. Meaning and formulation of the equations governing the geotechnical problem.
Flow net. Confined and unconfined problems. Instability problems caused by siphoning. Artesian and phreatic wells.

Consolidation theory (transient flow)
Terzaghi’s solution of the equation governing the one-dimensional consolidation.
Consolidation settlements.

Stress-strain relationship for soil
The importance of stress boundary conditions. Experimental oedometric behaviour. The oedometric model.
Experimental axisimmetric behaviour: standard triaxial test. Mechanical behaviour of sand and clay. Mohr-Coulomb strength criterion, Bolton criterion, elastic model.
A short account of elasto-plastic models (modified Mohr-Coulomb, Cam-Clay).

Slope soil movements
A short account of classification systems for landslides.
Methods for the evaluation of the safety factor for a slope.
Slope movements induced by rainfall. Approaches for triggering risk assessment.
Weather built-in platforms for the protection of the natural environment.

The role of monitoring systems in the prevention of risk for complex and deep landslides.
Examples of monitoring systems of active or quiescent landslides.

Attività d'esercitazione
Exercises and problems deal with the topics treated during the theory lessons.

Modalità d'esame
The examination consists in a written and an oral test. Dates of written tests are shown in the official calendar, while the date for the oral test can be agreed with the teacher.
Written and oral tests can be replaced by two written curricular tests, which are carried out during the course. Dates of curricular tests are communicated by the teacher at the beginning of the course.


Testi consigliati
R. Nova. Fondamenti di Meccanica delle terre. Mc Graw Hill ed.
R. Lancellotta. Geotecnica. Zanichelli ed.
Lambe, T. W. & Whitman, R. V. (1990). Soil Mechanics. John Wiley & Sons, pp. 576
A. Burghignoli. Lezioni di meccanica delle terre. Editoriale ESA.
R. F. Craig. Soil Mechanics. Van Nostrand Reinhold
Airò Farulla C. Analisi di stabilità dei pendii. Hevelius Edizioni
Colombo P., Colleselli F. Elementi di Geotecnica. Zanichelli. Bologna