MABY5440 Geotechnical Models and Simulations Emneplan

Engelsk emnenavn
Geotechnical Models and Simulations
Master’s Programme in Civil Engineering
10 stp.


Numerical method based on finite element method (FEM) plays an important role in geotechnical analysis and design for consultants. The course focuses on application of soil models in numerical simulation tools (e.g. PLAXIS or GeoSuite). It covers the topics regarding soil physical and mechanical behaviours, elastic-plasticity theory, some frequently used soil models and their parameters. It starts with continuum mechanics and simple soil models based on Tresca and Coulomb criteria. The focus is then on understanding the hardening rule which correlates shear hardening with soil volumetric change and the introduction of 'Critical State Soil Mechanics'. The ideas of FEM and its mathematical basis are also included in this course. Students can be capable of using these soil models to solve geotechnical problems under numerical tools at the end of course.

Anbefalte forkunnskaper

BYGG1001 Geoteknikk og tilsværende, Advanced soil mechanics


After completing this course, the student will gain the following knowledge, skills and general competence:


Students have in-depth knowledge of:

  • general mechanical behaviours of different soil types based on previous laboratory test results
  • elastic-plasticity theory and stress-strain relationships
  • concept of critical state and critical state soil mechanics
  • soil models used in numerical simulation tools and their limitations
  • Mathematical and theoretical basis of finite element method


Students can:

  • capture key soil behaviours and interpret important soil parameters to be used for numerical simulation
  • understand soil elastic-plasticity and critical state soil mechanics
  • derive the simple constitutive equation to describe soil stress-strain behaviours
  • modify / develop simple numerical work based on soil models to simulate soil elementary test
  • use numerical tool (e.g. PLAXIS or GeoSuite) to solve the boundary value problem in geotechnical design

General competence


  • deepen the understanding of soil mechanical behaviours and can use mathematics to simply describe it
  • have good overview of typical soil models and can choose proper model to simulate soil behaviours

can use numerical tools (e.g. PLAXIS or GeoSuite) to perform numerical analysis with the selection of good parameter inputs, right boundary condition setting and result validation

Arbeids- og undervisningsformer

Lectures, exercises and projects

Arbeidskrav og obligatoriske aktiviteter


Vurdering og eksamen

The exam consists of two parts:

1) Written group project report, weighted 70%, and

2) Oral group presentation of the project following by individual Q&A, weighted 30%. 

The assessment is form of group evaluation with 2-4 students in each group. The project report is approximately 5000 words. The oral presentation should be within 15-20 mins followed by individual Q&A session of 5-10 mins each.

All assessment parts must be awarded a pass grade (E or better) for the student to pass the course.

Assessment part 1) can be appealed. Assessment part 2) can not be appealed.

Hjelpemidler ved eksamen

All types of materials and equipment are allowed.


Grade scale A-F


Two examiners, one internal and one external.