Geotechnical risks

lgciv2076  2021-2022  Louvain-la-Neuve

Geotechnical risks
4 credits
20.0 h + 15.0 h
Good knowledge of :
Soil mechanics, as taught in LGCIV1072 ;
Geotechnics, as taught in LGCIV2071
Main themes
The course goal is learning how to manage the various facets of geotechnical risks. This risk management is an integral part of the professional life of the geotechnical engineer. It implies to be able to identify the risks, to quantify them and to mitigate their impact. The proposed learning is acquired by illustrating the "risk" aspects of different geotechnical problems already solved within the mandatory geotechnical curriculum, as well as by introducing new problems where the risk pertains to the project demands and to particular behaviors of soils.
The course is divided into two parts:
The first part starts with the definition of risk and the concept of acceptable risk. Then, it moves on to the methods used to represent the risks and guide the decision-making process. The risks relating to the different phases of a geotechnical engineering project are discussed. These are intrinsically linked to the uncertainties belonging to soil mechanics, namely the uncertainty of characterization resulting from the natural variability of the soil and of the limits of the means of investigation, the uncertainty of calculation resulting from the limitations of the calculation available models, the uncertainty of loading, particularly important in the case of natural loading (for example, earthquakes) and finally the uncertainty of achievement due to the difficulty of underground construction processes.
The second part deals with a series of practical cases that will help implement the concepts acquired in the first part. For example, the risks related to the slope stability, and the risks related to offshore constructions that will be treated according to the preferences of the students.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 With respect to the learning outcomes (LO) repository of the program "Master in Civil Engineering", this course contributes to the development, acquisition and the evaluation of the achievements of the following LOs:
Demonstrate the mastery of a body of knowledge in the basic, disciplinary, and polytechnical sciences, allowing one to solve arising problems (LO1.1, LO1.2, LO1.3)
Organize, fulfill, and validate an approach of engineering aimed at responding to a need or a specific problem (LO2.1, LO2.2)
Document and summarize the state of knowledge in a limited area (LO3.1)
Communicate the results of one's work in the form of reports, plans, presentations, or other documents tailored to one's audience (LO5.3, LO5.5)
Act with professionalism and rigor, while integrating the issues and ethical choices in the exercise of one's responsibilities (LO6.1, LO6.3)
More specifically, at the end of this course, the student should be able to:
Technical skills and engineering:
Understand and quantify the uncertainties of soil characterization and integrate these uncertainties in a risk  based geotechnical design process
Assess the importance of the consequences arising from imperfections in the actual construction of elements of civil engineering works with regards to their stability
Understand the importance of the responsibility of the Geotechnical Engineer in legal and contractual contexts.
Integrate monitoring plans in the geotechnical design to further improve the design for safety and/or economy
Characterize the seismic hazard to which a project is exposed, taking into account its geological environment
Characterize the behavior of soils under cyclic stresses and assess  their risk of liquefaction
Sizing a slope, a retaining wall, and a foundation subject to seismic loading
Measure the geotechnical challenges of the offshore industry.
Skills project management / managerial and relational competencies:
Manage risk, make decisions, and defend the positions taken
Design the conceptual resolution of a problem by integrating skills acquired in other courses (mainly of geotechnical engineering)
Communicate effectively with teachers.
Submit an idea/analysis and defend it
Part I: Framework and basic elements
Ch 1: concepts of risk  (Course + 1  exercise): Introduction, Definition of risk, acceptable risk, risk assessment, Risk in a legal and contractual context
Ch 2: uncertainties of characterization (Course + 1 exercise) :
Introduction, steps in the geotechnical investigation, Sources of characterization uncertainties, quantification of characterization uncertainties
Ch 3: Risks and the legal aspects  (Course )
Introduction to legal aspects, concept of liability, 10yr building warrantee
Ch 4: Design, sizing and verification (Course + 2 exercises )
Introduction, Formulations of reliability, Integration of the function of performance, design Methodologies
Part II: Area of application illustrating
Ch 5:Offshore Risks (courses)
Offshore Activities, major offshore structures, risks associated with platforms jack ups, risks related to offshore pipelines, offshore geological uncertainties
Teaching methods
Ex-cathedra teaching on the basis of transparencies for Volume 1.
Problem solving workshops (directed exercises, case studies, etc.) for Volume 2.
Evaluation methods
The evaluation will be made in 2 parts:
Part 1: exercises (50% of the final score)
Part 2: overview and critique of an article (50% of the final score)
Other information
LGCIV2071 can be followed simultaneously with the present course.
Online resources
Available on Moodle.
Diapositives du cours (sur Moodle) et articles scientifiques à lire.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [120] in Civil Engineering