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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CIVE2470 Water Engineering and Geotechnics

20 creditsClass Size: 175

Module manager: Professor Doug Stewart

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

Undertaken a Level 1 Water Engineering and Geotechnics module (or equivalent)

Module replaces

CIVE2405 and CIVE2500

This module is not approved as a discovery module


This module will build on the outcomes of the Level One modules involving Geotechnics and Water Engineering. As such the objectives relate to building on knowledge attained from that module.

The module objectives are to:
(i) further describe the factors that influence soil strength and to apply this understanding to ultimate load;
(ii) discuss the concept of soil stiffness, and its application to deformation problems;
(iii) develop an intuitive understanding of how soil will respond to load through the conceptual framework of Critical State Soil Mechanics;
(iv) develop the equations of flow through porous media, and to apply them to both flow and consolidation problems;
(v) develop analysis of energy/pressure loss in pipes in both laminar and turbulent flow;
(vi) develop techniques for the analysis of piped (single and network) systems including reservoirs, pumps and valves , etc.;
(vii) deliver the elementary aspects of water resources including requirements for both clean water and waste-water and its treatment;
(viii) present initial open-channel flow concepts.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will be able to:
1. apply their understanding of soil strength to ultimate load problems such as bearing capacity and slope stability;
2. apply their understanding of soil stiffness to address deformation problems such as settlement of a structure;
3. describe and use conceptual models such as Critical State Soil Mechanics to show how soil will respond to load;
4. evaluate pore water pressures and flow volumes during steady state seepage, and estimate the effect of water flow on the rate of consolidation of clay soils;
5. discuss the concepts of fluid friction in pipes, and with reference to the Moody diagram describe how energy loss changes with Reynolds number and pipe material;
6. analyse flow in pipes in series and in parallel as well as in pipe networks;
7. understand the demand and requirements for water, and the implication that this has on the infrastructure for both clean water and waste- water and its treatment;
8. understand the uniform flow analysis including Manning's equation and be able to calculate normal and critical depth in channels.

Also, students completing this module will have gained the knowledge, understanding, skills or abilities that contribute to achieving the following ARB General Criteria for Part 1:
• understand the constructional and structural systems, the environmental strategies and the regulatory requirements that apply to the design and construction of a comprehensive design project; GC1.2.
• the investigation, critical appraisal and selection of alternative structural, constructional and material systems relevant to architectural design; GC8.1.
• strategies for building construction, and ability to integrate knowledge of structural principles and construction techniques; GC8.2.
• the physical properties and characteristics of building materials, components and systems, and the environmental impact of specification choices; GC8.3.

Skills outcomes
Use of knowledge


The module extends the fundamental principles of geotechnics covered in CIVE1460 to describe, in detail, seepage processes, settlement processes and instability problems in soils that lead to foundation failure and slope instability. As a result students can assess alternative forms of building construction (including foundation designs) to evaluate their global stability and in-service behaviour caused by changes in the environmental conditions (e.g. changes in ground water profiles and flood risk caused by climate change).

In water engineering students are introduced to the broader concepts of water supply and water treatment both of which are relevant to building design and operation. Water quality standards for drinking water and wastewater discharges; the hydrological cycle and climate change impacts are also covered. Basic pipe flow and open channel flow theory is covered allowing students to design piped and open channel drainage and water conveyance systems.

Topics studied include:
- Strengths of soil;
- ultimate capacity of shallow foundations;
- behaviour of piles;
- soil stiffness;
- settlement of foundations;
- geostructural mechanisms;
- seepage;
- consolidation theory;
- slope stability;
- the critical state soil model.

Topics studied include:
- Roughness in pipes and channels, hydraulically rough and smooth surfaces, the Colebrooke-White expression;
- Turbulent flow in pipes, including its application to pipe networks;
- Matching pumps to pipelines, hydraulic efficiency of pumps;
- Water supply and wastewater treatment;
- Water quality standards for drinking water and wastewater discharges; the hydrological cycle and climate change impacts;
- Open Channel Flow: Uniform flow, roughness in channels, Manning's Equation, Normal Depth, Critical Depth.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment43.0012.00
Private study hours130.00
Total Contact hours70.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Review of lecture materials;
Directed preparatory work for laboratory sessions;
Undertaking example sheets and background reading;
Undertaking formative and summative problem activities.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative and summative Problem activities;
Regular examples clases.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Problem Sheet4 x Problem Sheets20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)20.00

Resit - 100% online time-limited assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment5 hr 00 mins80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)80.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 03/11/2022


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