Expressions of Interest for
Unsaturated Soil Mechanics for Practicing Engineers – Travelling Workshop

UNSW CIES LogosThis is a request for Expressions of Interest for travelling workshop on
Unsaturated Soil Mechanics for Practicing Engineers.

The Australian Geomechanics Society is proposing to run a series of workshops from November/December 2015. The aim of the workshops is to enhance the capabilities of practicing engineers when applying soil mechanics, analysing data and solving problems involving unsaturated soils. The workshops will be delivered by experts on unsaturated soils from UNSW’s Centre for Infrastructure Engineering and Safety.

Unsaturated soils are widely encountered and need to be dealt with in many engineering problems, for example foundations, fills, embankments, pavements and slopes. In many cases true predictions of performance and true assessments of safety cannot be made without use of unsaturated soil mechanics. However, the use of unsaturated soil mechanics in practice is not routine. Many design and analysis techniques used are only applicable when soils are dry or fully saturated.

The CPT in unsaturated soils: Extending what we know for saturated soils presentation

If you or your colleagues would like to attend, kindly return the attached expression of interest form before 31 July 2015 via email to: to assist the Australian Geomechanics Society with planning.

Click here to download the flyer and form to register you interest.

If there are sufficient expressions of interest the first workshop would take place in Sydney. Subsequent workshops would be held in other capital cities as needed to meet demand.


  • The objectives are for practitioners to learn how to:
  • Build on their knowledge of saturated soil mechanics to account for the effects of partial saturation and suction using the effective stress concept
  • Define and quantify stresses, strains, shear strength and deformation in unsaturated soils
  • Determine shrink and swell potential in a mechanically consistent way
  • Plan a program of laboratory tests and interpret data
  • Determine parameters from laboratory testing and field/in situ testing
  • Analyse seepage and moisture movement in unsaturated soils
  • Assess lateral earth pressure and bearing capacity in unsaturated soils
  • Analyse slope stability and account for strength loss due to rainfall
  • Apply unsaturated soil mechanics in a range of problems, and take guidance from techniques used in case studies.


The workshops will be designed for engineers, geologists and other professionals who deal with unsaturated soils.
It is envisaged that each participant will have some industry experience and, as a minimum, a knowledge of soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering to Bachelor of Civil Engineering standard.


The workshops will involve a number of formal lectures, tutorials and problem solving classes and case study presentations.


  1. Introduction to unsaturated soil mechanics and the effective stress concept
  2. Shear strength and deformation in unsaturated soils
  3. Shrink and swell potential
  4. Laboratory testing, in situ testing and parameter determination
  5. Seepage and moisture movement in unsaturated soils
  6. Lateral earth pressure and bearing capacity in unsaturated soils
  7. Rainfall induced slope instability
  8. Case studies


It is proposed that the workshop will be two days long and will cost around $1600. An extensive set of notes and other resources would be provided. Lunch and snacks will also be provided.


Nasser KhaliliNasser Khalili

Nasser Khalili is a Professor at UNSW and is internationally recognised for his contributions to unsaturated soil mechanics and computational geo-mechanics. He is credited with the development of the first thermodynamically consistent framework for constitutive modelling of unsaturated porous media. Some of his seminal contributions to the field include: i) formulation of the first fully coupled flow and deformation model for unsaturated porous media including hydraulic and mechanical hystereses; ii) formulation of a bounding surface plasticity model for cyclic analysis of variably saturated soils, iii) formulation of a thermo-hydro-mechanical model for unsaturated porous media, iv) formulation of the first hypo-plasticity model for unsaturated media, and v) formulation of an equivalent skeletal stress for multi-phase multi-porous media. His work to the mechanics of multi phase multi porous media has attracted many awards and accolades. Similarly, his work on the mechanics of double porosity media is considered as a benchmark in numerical modelling of fractured porous media and is widely cited in the literature. He has worked in academic environment for 26 years, and as a consulting geotechnical engineer for four years.

Adrian RussellAdrian Russel

Adrian Russell is an Associate Professor at UNSW and leads a number of research projects and themes focussed on fundamental mechanics, analytical modelling, and novel experimentation related to structures interacting with unsaturated soils. He has written more than 70 research papers, and has been awarded many times for his research. He is Secretary of TC106, the Technical Committee on Unsaturated Soils within the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering. In 2014 he received the International Innovation Award from TC106 for his research on the CPT and retaining walls in unsaturated soils. He has worked in academic environment for 15 years, and as a consulting geotechnical engineer for three years.

Click here to download the flyer and form to register you interest.

UNSW’s calibration chamber used to develop methods to interpret the CPT in a range of unsaturated soils.

UNSW’s calibration chamber used to develop methods to interpret the CPT in a range of unsaturated soils.

Adrian Russell (right) and Liem Vo observe the laboratory controlled failure of an unsaturated soil adjacent to a retaining wall.

Adrian Russell (right) and Liem Vo observe the laboratory controlled failure of an unsaturated soil adjacent to a retaining wall.

AGS Practitioner Award Winner: John Simmons

Citation AGS Practitioner's Award 2014Congratulations to the winner of the 2014 Geotechnnical Practitioner’s Award, Dr John Simmons. Dr Simmons of Sherwood Geotechnical won the award for his work in the coal industry. He is well respected within the areas of coal mine and waste dump geotechnics for his ability to simplify and convey complicated problems and solutions to clients and stakeholders. Dr Simmons also volunteers significant time to the mentoring and development of young geotechnical practitioners.

Read Dr Simmons full citation here.


EAGE Application Manual of Geophysical Methods

Application Manual of Geophysical Methods to Engineering and Environmental Problems is a new book published by the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE). This 600 page manual is a translation of the manual compiled by the Society of Exploration Geophysicists of Japan (SEGJ). This manual covers more than 20 geophysical methods both on- and off-shore surveys and downhole survey methods commonly used in geotechnical investigation. It describes the principles of each method, preparation for survey including instrumentation, parameter selection and planning procedure, correct field procedure and possible pitfalls, analysis and interpretation, and reporting. Geotechnical engineers will learn the appropriate selection of geophysical method for their particular project, checkpoints in the survey and what can be achieved from the survey.
It can be purchased from EAGE Bookshop (


Embankment Prediction Symposium – Call for EOI

  • Fort Scratchley, Newcastle, Australia
  • 9-10 September, 2016
  • website

Are you interested in the application of numerical methods to the prediction of embankment deformations and the behaviour of footings?

Yes? Well you may also be interested in the following invitation:

The Australian Research Council-funded Centre of Excellence for Geotechnical Science and Engineering (CGSE) invites practising engineers and academics to make and submit predictions of the performance of an embankment constructed using prefabricated vertical drains on soft clay and/or the load-displacement response of a shallow foundation loaded to failure on soft clay.

All manner of predictions are encouraged and invited. These may range from hand drawn curves based merely on experience and engineering judgment, to the most sophisticated 3D numerical analysis incorporating advanced geotechnical models.

Field observations and the time history of the embankment behaviour, as well as the various predictions of that behaviour will be presented and discussed in a special Prediction Symposium to be held in Newcastle, Australia, on 9 and 10 of September 2016.

If you might be interested in submitting a prediction please advise
Kirstin Dunncliff by 1 April 2015.

Click here for details.

ISSMGE launched its first Webinar of the year !

Dear Colleagues around the Globe,

Let me start by wishing you all a Happy New Year on behalf of ISSMGE President and Board Members. The International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE), with great pleasure, has launched its first Webinar of the year!

ISSMGE 2015 Webinar01

Webinar: Introduction to Cone Penetration Testing

was given by Prof. Peter Robertson (from Gregg Drilling – California USA).

All the Webinars are given Free of Charge in an effort to assist geotechnical engineers worldwide and to promote our profession.

You are welcome to attend and highly encouraged to invite all Geotechnical & Civil Engineers and Students to attend.

This Webinar will be launched on the 2nd day of February @12 noon GMT. lt will be then followed by a 2-day Q&A session that, like the webinar video, can also be viewed  anytime later on via our ISSMGE Website.

Click here to link to the webinar.

East Australian Ground Control Group

The East Australian Ground Control Group (EAGCG) comprises over 300 underground and surface mining focussed rock engineers, tunnelling and civil geotechnical engineers. The Group provides opportunities for members to get together at two, two-day, meetings each year on specific topics in rock engineering. Members get to discuss practical issues and share ideas and experiences. The meetings have a good reputation in the local and international rock engineering communities due to their pragmatic focus on issues concerning practitioners and the high quality of the presentations.

The Group invites members of the AGS to attend its next meeting, the details of which can be viewed HERE.