University of Vermont

Systems Education in CEE

Geotechnical Principles CE180


Understanding the behavior of soils is the foundation of Civil Engineering. This class enables students to understand fundamental geotechnical principles. Course work covers the characteristics and classification of soils; physical, mechanical and hydraulic properties of soils; seepage; the effective stress principle; stress distribution, consolidation, settlement; and shear strength. This class has a strong hands-on component — the experiments conducted in the laboratory not only allow students to apply basic principles to practice, but also introduce different field practices.

Two research projects are included in this inquiry-based, research-based class. Technical writing and interpersonal skills are emphasized. The students are introduced to the concepts of physical modeling and computer modeling.

Students exploring two different methods to estimate Atterberg's limits for a given soil.

Students compare solutions obtained by three different models on steady-state seepage problems.

Please contact Prof. Dewoolkar ( for further information and visit his webpage to learn more about his work.

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