Topics on Structures and Geotechnics


The purpose of the geotechnical module is to provide generalist training in the geotechnical aspects of earth works. To this end, several topics related to the influence of the properties of soils, as construction materials, in the design and sizing of embankmens. 

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Maria Teresa Teles Grilo Santana, Valter José da Guia Lúcio


Weekly - 5

Total - 82

Teaching language



Basic knowledge of Soil Mechanics and Structures.


R. Fell – Geotechnical Engineering of Dams, 1987.

Regulamento de Segurança de barragens - Decreto-Lei 344/2007

Normas de Projecto de Barragens – Portaria 846/93

Normas de Observação e Inspecção de barragens - Portaria 847/93

J. Marcelino - Projecto, construção e exploração de pequenas barragens de aterro. Aspectos geotécnicos, 2008.

E. Maranha das Neves, L. Caldeira, A. Pinheiro - Projecto, Construção e Observação de Pequenas Barragens de Aterro. IST Press, 2015.

Cedergren, H. R. - Seepage, Drainage and Flow Nets, Wiley, 1989.

Teaching method

The several subjects will be presented and discussed in the of lectures. The several concepts, principles and methods will be applyed to problems resolution.

Outside the classes the students are encouraged to study the givenbibliography in order to mature and consolidate the acquired knowledge.

Evaluation method

Um teste - teórico e prático (T) classificado para 20 val.

Um trabalho de projecto (P) classificado para 18 val.

Avaliação contínua nas aulas (A) - de 0 a 2 val

T - nota mínima de 8,0.

A aprovação será dada por 0,4T+0,6(P+A) igual ou superior a 9,5.

Existirá ainda um exame de recurso para a componente T.

É necessária a presença em 2/3 do total das aulas.

Subject matter

  1. Types of embankments. Different types of requirements. Soil and rockfill. Dams and diques. Tailing dams.
  2. Soils classifications review: ASTM, AASHTO and  French classification.
  3. Road and rail embankments. 
  4. Soil parameter determination based on laboratory tests. Triaxial test.
  5. Filters
  6. Seepage, flow nets, permanent and transient flow. Drawdown.
  7. Compaction and compaction control. Trial embankments.
  8. Construtive methods and construction control.
  9. Design, construction and monitoring of embankment dams. Phenomena to be analysed. Portuguese laws for dams - RSB, NP, NOIB, NC.
  10. Freeboard and upstream slope protection for dams.
  11. Seismic amplification, EC8.
  12. Project.


Programs where the course is taught: