Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering

2362 GG Brown, 2350 Hayward Street

The University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2125


Fax: 734-764-4292





CEE 543 – Numerical Modeling in Geotechnical Engineering (3 credits)

The course focuses on the application of numerical methods and geotechnical constitutive laws to analyze problems in geotechnical engineering. The emphasis is on the use of the Finite Element Method (FEM) in Geomechanics, but the Discrete Element Method (DEM) and some new developments in numerical modeling are also discussed. Specifically the course examines the importance of adequately modeling soil behavior. The finite element method is presented and constitutive laws for geotechnical materials are developed including linear elastic, nonlinear elastic, linear elastic-perfectly plastic and nonlinear elasto-plastic. The critical state framework for modeling soil behavior is studied. Students are introduced to and use the finite element program PLAXIS to perform 2D static analyses of earth structures and develop recommendations regarding realistic consulting projects.


CEE 546 - Slopes, Dams and Retaining Structures (3 credits)

This class focuses on slope stability analyses, seepage through soils, settlements and horizontal movements in embankments, earthen embankment design, landslide and embankment stabilization, earth pressures and retaining structure design. Emphasis is given in the latest findings and developments in the design of critical civil infrastructure such as embankments, levees, dams and retaining structures. A significant part of the class is a term project on a real case-study of an embankment failure in Ann Arbor. Students are assigned in groups of 2-3 people and together work on the project throughout the semester. The project is divided in 4 parts, and every new part adds new information on, e.g., soil properties, ground water table, etc., to help them build on each previous step. They perform slope stability analysis using GeoStudio, a suite of programs typically used for slope stability in industry. The project announcement is addressed to them by their “imaginary” boss, they keep track of their “billable hours” and in the end produce a report that could stand next to any good report they might do in their future company.


CEE 548 - Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering (3 credits)

The class focuses on prediction of seismic ground motion attenuation, seismic site response analysis, probabilistic seismic hazard assessment (PSHA), evaluation and modeling of dynamic soil properties, soil-structure interaction, evaluation and mitigation of soil liquefaction, seismic code provisions and practice, seismic earth pressures, slope stability and deformation analysis, safety of dams, levees and embankments, performance of pile foundations, and additional current topics. A significant component is a semester-long class project where students familiarize with computer programs that are used in high-end engineering practice. The project includes seismic site-response analysis using SHAKE2000. Each student group team is assigned a different site in a seismic region and using site-specific soil properties, and a wide range of possible input ground motions, they perform a site specific seismic response to assess the expected ground accelerations and design parameters for a 12-story building.


CEE 345 - Geotechnical Engineering (4 credits)

CEE 345 is a required undergraduate course. It is an introduction to geotechnical engineering with an emphasis on soil mechanics. The course content covers topics such as soil origin, soil classification, phase relationships, earth moving and soil compaction, groundwater seepage, compressibility and consolidation, settlement, shear strength and failure, as well as applications to foundations, retaining structures and slopes.