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Universidade Lusófona do Porto

Fundamentals of Soil Mechanics


Civil Engineering

Level of Qualification|Semesters|ECTS

Bachelor | Semestral | 5

Year | Type of course unit | Language

2 |Mandatory |Português

Total of Working Hours | Duration of Contact (hours)

135 | 45



Recommended complementary curricular units


Mode of study




Professional Internship



Basic physical quantities. Relationship between weights and volumes. Identification and classification of soils. Classification systems (Road, Unified and LCPC). Introduction to soil compaction. State of tension "in situ" in the earth masses. Principle of effective tension. Stress state at rest. State of voltage induced by external forces.


To present the fundamental elements of Soil Mechanics, namely: - To make known the soils and their application as construction material. To present the main parameters of identification and characterization of soils. - Address some field and laboratory tests that allow the characterization of soils. - Determine the stress state in earth masses either at rest or induced by external forces. - To explain the hydraulics of the soils, especially the influence of the presence of water in the percolation soils and their implications in the state of tension. - Explain the phenomenon of the consolidation of clayey strata and the effect of changes in the state of tension and the state of deformation that comes from it, as well as to calculate the resulting settlements. - To know the different criteria of rupture that govern the mechanical behavior of the soils.

Knowledge, abilities and skills to be acquired

At the end of this curricular unit, the student should be able to recognize the importance of Soil Mechanics in the context of Civil Engineering practice. The competences acquired in this PA include the determination of the main physical and mechanical properties of the soils, the classification of the soils and practical applications, and the knowledge of the most current laboratory and field tests. The understanding of the concepts, principles and fundamental theories of Soil Mechanics will enable the student to predict, understand and explain the hydraulic and mechanical behavior, in terms of soil resistance and deformability.

Teaching methodologies and assessment

The teaching-learning methods will be based on the work developed in the classes, in the study and in the research / consultation of bibliography by the student. During the theoretical sessions, the teacher will present and discuss the programmatic contents, applying the knowledge acquired to concrete situations and examples of real practical cases. In practical sessions, students will have the opportunity to apply the themes in analysis through the resolution of exercises or problems proposed. At the end of the semester, individual work will be requested. EVALUATION: In accordance with the Regulation for the Evaluation of Knowledge and Competence of the ULP. Continuous assessment without final exam: two summative tests (40% + 40%) will be done during the semester and a practical assignment will be offered individually (20%). Assessment by final exam: a written test will be held (100%).


Matos Fernandes, M. (2003). Mecânica dos Solos Vol. I. FEUP, Porto.
Castro Neves, E. (2018). Elementos de apoio fornecidos ao longo das aulas.
Lambe, T.W. and Whitman, R.V. (1969). Soil Mechanics - SI version. John Wiley & Sons.
Craig, R. F. (2004). Soil Mechanics. E & FN SPON.
Terzaghi, K. and Peck, R.B. (1967). Soil Mechanics in Engineering Practice. John Wiley & Sons.