Analysis of Geotechnical Structures


To develop the ability to understand and to apply the principles of geotechnical engineering to the main geotechnical structures. To develop the ability to verify the safety of simple problems of geotechnical structures, acording to Eurocode 7. 

The student should be able to:

  1. obtain the solutions associated to the determination of the collapse loads of the geotechnical problems studied:determination of earth pressures, bearing capacity of shallow foundations and stability of soil masses in slopes, using limit analysis and limit equilibrium methods;

  2. determine the colapse loads associated to those problems;

  3. identify the ultimate limit states associated to the main geotechnical structures: retaining structures, shallow foundations and slopes;

  4. verify the safety of the main geotechnical structures;

  5. determine settlements of the shallow foundations

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Nuno Manuel da Costa Guerra


Weekly - 5

Total - 70

Teaching language



Soil Mechanics



Guerra, N. M. C. (2012) - "Análise de Estruturas Geotécnicas", FCT/UNL, in Portuguese.


Atkinson, J. (1993) - "An Introduction to the Mechanics of Soils and Foundations", McGraw Hill, London

Matos Fernandes, M. (2011) - "Mecânica dos Solos. Introdução à Engenharia Geotécnica", Volume 2, FEUP Edições, in Portuguese

Budhu, M. (2000) - "Soil Mechanics and Foundations", Wiley

Lancellotta, R. (1995) - "Geotechnical Engineering", A. A. Balkema, Roterdam

Frank, R.; Bauduin, C.; Driscoll, R.; Kavvadas, M.; Krebs Ovesen, N.; Orr, T.; Schuppener, B. (2004). Designers'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' Guide to EN1997-1, Eurocode 7: Geotechnical design -- General Rules. Thomas Telford, London.

Teaching method

Theoretical classes for presentation and explanation of the contents of the programme. Practical classes for application of the concepts learned in the theoretical classes and for use, in one of the classes, of simple model towards the understanding of the mechanisms involved in the collapse of the most simple cases studied in the unit.

Evaluation method

Two tests or final exam.

Subject matter

  1. Introduction to the geotechnical structures.

  2. Introduction to the collapse of soil masses. Methods of analysis: limit analysis and limit equilibrium methods.

  3. Collapse of the soil masses: earth pressures, bearing capacity of shallow foundations; collapse of slopes.

  4. Verification of safety of geotechnical structures to the ultimate limit states: Eurocode 7.

  5. Verification of safety of shallow foundations; brief approach to deep foundations; verification of safety of slopes; verification of safety of earth retaining walls.

  1. Displacements of geotechnical structures; settlements of shallow foundations.


Programs where the course is taught: