Foundation Engineering and earth-retaining structures


Major: ROSE

Term: 1st Semester – Academic Year 2017-2018


CFU: 6


Duration: 01-02-2018 – 28-02-2018 (35 hrs lectures + 20 hrs tutoring)


Office hours:



The aim of the course is the application of the principles of geotechnical and structural engineering to the design and analysis of foundations and earth-retaining structures. The course will comprise theoretical lectures and tutoring classes dedicated to problem-solving.



Topics include general design criteria according to Italian building code and Eurocode 7. Ultimate capacity and settlements of shallow foundations. Soil-structure interaction under static conditions (Winkler method). Bearing capacity of shallow foundations under earthquake loading. Deep foundations. Ultimate capacity of single piles and of pile groups subjected to axial and lateral loading. Settlements of deep foundations. Interaction and group effects under static conditions. Introduction to dynamic-soil structure interaction for shallow and piled foundations. Kinematic and inertial interaction. Earth-retaining structures. Review of active and passive earth pressures. Coulomb and Rankine theories. Drainage systems. Seismic earth pressure. Mononobe-Okabe and Wood theories. Stability analysis of gravity walls. Cantilever and anchored sheet piles. Performance-based design and capacity design philosophy applied to geotechnical engineering. Newmark method to compute the response of gravity walls. An introduction to reliability analyses in geotechnical engineering.



Basic knowledge of geotechnical engineering



  • Reese, L. C., Isenhower, W.M., Wang, S.T. (2005). Analysis and Design of Shallow and Deep Foundations. Wiley, 608 pp.
  • Fleming, K., Weltman, A.J., Randolph, M.F., Elson, K. (2008). Piling Engineering. Vol. 1, 3rdEdition Taylor & Francis, 392 pp.
  • Reese L.C., Van Impe, W.F. (2001). Single Piles and Pile Groups under Lateral Loading, Vol 1. Taylor & Francis, 463 pp.
  • Salgado, R. (2006). The Engineering of Foundations. McGraw-Hill, 928 pp.
  • Fang, H.-Y. (1990). Foundation Engineering Handbook. Springer-Verlag, New York, 2ndEdition, 923 pp.
  • Course notes, scientific articles and other material will be provided during the course.



Assignments will be handedover and graded during the course.The final examination will consist of a 3 hours, written test. The final-exam format is closed-book. An equation-sheet will be provided if needed. Grading: 40% assignments, 60% final exam.