Subject Datasheet

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I. Subject Specification

1. Basic Data
1.1 Title
Numerical methods in geotechnics
1.2 Code
1.3 Type
Module with associated contact hours
1.4 Contact hours
Type Hours/week / (days)
Lecture 1
Lab 1
1.5 Evaluation
Midterm grade
1.6 Credits
1.7 Coordinator
name Dr. András Mahler
academic rank Associate professor
1.8 Department
Department of Engineering Geology and Geotechnics
1.9 Website
1.10 Language of instruction
hungarian and english
1.11 Curriculum requirements
Optional in the Structural Engineering (MSc) programme
1.12 Prerequisites
1.13 Effective date
1 September 2022

2. Objectives and learning outcomes
2.1 Objectives
The aim of the course is that the students get to know the use of numerical methods that aid geotechnical and engineering geological design. The students get familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of analytical methods and applications of finite element methods to geotechnical and engineering geological problems using different commercially available software. The students get to know the special elements and material models that are typically used in the case of FE modelling of geotechnical problems. The students get to know the most frequently used rock mechanical methods for modelling fractured rocks.
2.2 Learning outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject, the student:
A. Knowledge
  1. Knows how to create a model for a specific problem in geotechnics or engineering geology,
  2. knows the advantages and disadvantages of analytical geotechnical methods,
  3. knows the special element types used in geotechnical FE modelling,
  4. knows how to take into account the anisotropic behaviour of jointed rocks,
  5. knows the typically used geotechnical non-linear material models.
B. Skills
  1. Is able to use analytical geotechnical software,
  2. is able to use proper material model and parameters based on geotechnical test results,
  3. is able to model soil/rock behaviour using the finite element method.
C. Attitudes
  1. Cooperates with other students and the lecturer during learning,
  2. expands her/his knowledge by continuous learning,
  3. is open to using new tools of information technology,
  4. tries for accurate and errorless problem-solving.
D. Autonomy and Responsibility
  1. Is able to individually solve geotechnical problems and find solutions to tasks based on the information made available,
  2. is open to well-founded criticism,
  3. is able to work as part of a group, together with their classmates, on the solutions for various problems,
  4. applies a system approach in their thinking.
2.3 Methods
Lectures, practical tasks, communication in written and oral form, use of IT tools and technics, tasks solved independently and in groups as well, and work organization technics.
2.4 Course outline
WeekTopics of lectures and/or exercise classes
1.Process of modelling in engineering geology and geotechnics.
2.Design of retaining structures and pile foundations using analytical geotechnical software.
3.Slopes stability calculation using numerical methods.
4.Finite element modelling in engineering geology and geotechnics.
5.Non-linear material models and their parameters.
6.Primary consolidation, geosynthetics.
7.Finite element modelling of deep excavations, unloading, deformations, stability.
8.Finite element modelling of raft foundations, interface parameters.
9.Finite element modelling of pile foundations, "embedded pile" element type.
10.Modelling possibilities of fractured rock masses (hybrid finite element, discrete element methods)
11.Analytical methods in tunnel design.
12.Numerical methods in tunnel design (2D solution for a 3D problem)
13.Dimensioning of rock pillars.
14.Modelling of discontinuity sets in rock slope stability analysis (hybrid finite element modelling and discontinuity layout optimization methods).

The above programme is tentative and subject to changes due to calendar variations and other reasons specific to the actual semester. Consult the effective detailed course schedule of the course on the subject website.
2.5 Study materials


Chen, W.F., LIU, X.L. (1990) Limit analysis in soil mechanics, Elsevier

Jing, L. Stephanson, O. (2007). Fundamentals of discrete elements modelling, Elsevier

Online materials:

Lecture notes

2.6 Other information
It is recommended to attend classes with a notebook to use the introduced numerical methods.
The department provides the academic version of the introduced software.
2.7 Consultation

The instructors are available for consultation during their office hours, as advertised on the department website.

Special appointments can be requested via e‐mail:

This Subject Datasheet is valid for:
2023/2024 semester I

II. Subject requirements

Assessment and evaluation of the learning outcomes
3.1 General rules
The assessment of the learning outcomes is specified in clause 2.2. above, and the evaluation of student performance occurs via tests and homework assignments.
3.2 Assessment methods
Evaluation form Abbreviation Assessed learning outcomes
1. midterm test MT1 A.1-A.5; B.1-B.3
2. homework HW A.1-A.5; B.1-B.3; C.1-C.4; D.1-D.4

The dates of deadlines of assignments/homework can be found in the detailed course schedule on the subject’s website.
3.3 Evaluation system
Abbreviation Score
MT1 60%
HW 40%
Sum 100%
The midterm test is failed if the sum points of the tests are less than 50% of the obtainable points. In the case of homework, reaching 50% of the points is also required.
3.4 Requirements and validity of signature
There is no signature for this subject.
3.5 Grading system
Determination of the final grade is according to the below-described considerations:
The final grade is the average value of the result of the midterm test and the homework weighted according to clause 3.3.
GradePoints (P)
excellent (5)80%<=P
good (4)70%<=P<80%
satisfactory (3)60%<=P<70%
passed (2)50%<=P<60%
failed (1)P<50%
3.6 Retake and repeat
  1. Homework – after the payment of the fee determined in the regulation – can be submitted with a delay until 16.00 or in electronic format until 23.59 on the last day of the supplementary period.
  2. The submitted and accepted homework can be corrected without any fee until the deadline described in point 1.
  3. The midterm test can be retaken in the last practical week free of charge. In the case of correction, the better result will be taken into account from the new and previous results.
  4. In case of failing the retake described in point 3. there is a possibility for a second retake – after the payment of the fee determined in the regulation – in the supplementary period. 3.7.
3.7 Estimated workload
Activity Hours/semester
contact hours 14×2=28
preparation for the courses 14×2=28
preparation for the tests 10
homework 24
Sum 90
3.8 Effective date
1 September 2022
This Subject Datasheet is valid for:
2023/2024 semester I