Engineering Geology and Laboratory

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
General aims: The course provides the basic principles of soil and rock mechanics and hydrogeology. After a general introduction to the rheology fundaments, the physical and mechanical properties of soil are treated, describing the main laboratory techniques. The second part is addressed to the geomechanical characterization of rock material and discontinuities by laboratory tests. The third part of the course supply the basic knowledge of hydrogeology.
Knowledge and understanding: 1) describing method and solutions to determine physic-mechanical properties of soils, rocks, rock masses, 2) fundamental principles of groundwater flow and hydrogeological properties of soils
Applying knowledge and understanding: elaborating and analyzing main geotechnical lab. tests and main lab. and field hydrogeological methods
Expected learning outcomes
Making judgements: developed through the ability of collecting geotechnical and hydrogeological data and analyzing their physical meaning
Communication skills: ability to manage oral communication in the related topics with appropriate technical background
Learning skills: ability to solve basic problems in soil and rocks characterization and in groundwater management
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Lectures (6 credits) will be held in synchronous telematic mode, maintaining the established timetable and using MS Teams platform, without changes in contents. Practical exercises (3 credits) will take place one day a week preferably live in the classroom. However, depending on the number of students, if shifts in presence are necessary a simultaneous telematic class for those who cannot be present will be held. Teaching material and communications are available on the dedicated ARIEL channel.
Course syllabus
What are Engineering Geology and Applied Geology? Fields of application and survey tools.
Theoretical Principles: Continuous Mechanic. Stress and strain tensors a their relations. Basic reological models. The stress path and stress state representation by "Mohr-Coulomb circle"
Soil description and classification: the nature of soil. Particle size analysis. Phase relationships. Relative density . Consistency and Atterberg limits. Geotechnical soil classification (Unified Soil Classification System).
Soil Mechanics: Principle of effective stress. Geostatic tensions, effect of phreatic and confining aquifer. Consolidation theory. Oedometric Test. Shear strength criterions and parameters (friction angle and cohesion). Uniaxial and triaxial compression tests. Direct shear strength test.
Rock masses: Continuous or discontinuous behavior? Intact rock material: Index properties. Laboratory tests: point load test; uniaxial compression test and triaxial compression test, Brasilian test, Direct tension test. Mechanical classification of intact rocks. Joints properties: roughness (JRC); wall compressive strength (JCS). Joint shear strength parameters: Barton empirical equation; Direct shear strength test. Rock masses: Procedures for geomechanical rock mass characterization and classification. The Rock Mass reating classification of Bieniawski (RMR).
Examples of Applications - Slope stability: classification of landslides and causes. Equilibrium method analysis: the case of indefinite slope, plane translational slide.
Introduction to hydrogeology: Water budget. Measurement of the water budget parameters. Measurement methods of hydrogeological parameters: porosity and void index, permeability and hydraulic conductivity, water content and saturation degree. Heterogeneity and anisotropy in soils and rock masses. Fundamental laws of groundwater flow: Darcy's law.
Hydrogeological characterization: Aquifer, aquitard, aquiclude and aquifuge. Hydrogeological structure and boundaries. Hydrogeological cross section reconstruction. Groundwater flow: Piezometric maps. Surface water and groundwater interaction. Hydraulic conductivity measures: Permeameters, on-site tests in surveys and piezometers. Water wells: drilling and Dupuit's laws.
Examples of Applications: Hydrogeological sections, piezometric maps, infiltration evaluation, determination of hydraulic conductivity by laboratory and on-site test, lowering of water level in pumped wells.
Prerequisites for admission
No mandatory prerequisites for ammission. Nevertheless, It is strongly recommended to follow teaching courses in the order foreseen by the Manifesto, therefore the 1st and 2nd year courses knowledge are considered acquired.
Teaching methods
The course includes lectures (6 credits) on the fundamental principles of geotechnics, geo-mechanics and hydrogeology, also through the description of the main laboratory tests, and practical numerical exercises to solve simple applicative problems (3 credits).
Teaching Resources
In addition to the lecture notes provided by the teachers, the following in-depth books are recommended:

- Luis Gonzalez de Vallejo (2011) Geological engineering" ; Mercedes Ferrer Pubblicazione Boca Raton, CRC Press
- Selby M.J. (1993) : "Hillslope materials and process"
- Renato Lancellotta (2004) : "Geotecnica" 3° ed. Zanichelli
- Brady B.H.G. & Brown E.T.(1993) "Rock Mechanics"
- Younger Paul L. (2007): "Groundwater in the environment" Blackwell ed.
- Castany (1985): "Idrogeologia: principi e metodi" Flaccovio ed.
- Vincenzo Francani (2014) "Idrogeologia Ambientale" Casa Ed. Ambrosiana
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam includes two mandatory tests:
- a first written test (numerical problem solving ), with contents and difficulties similar to those faced during the classroom excercises,
- an oral exam to evaluate the degree of learning on the topics.
GEO/05 - ENGINEERING GEOLOGY - University credits: 9
Practicals: 24 hours
Lessons: 56 hours