Computational geomechanics


Lecturer(s) :

Lecampion Brice Tanguy Alphonse




The goal of this course is to introduce the student to modern numerical methods for the solution of coupled & non-linear problems arising in geo-mechanics / geotechnical engineering.


Fluid infiltrated porous media are ubiquitous all around us: concrete, soils, rocks but also wood, bones etc. Numerous engineering applications in civil, environmental, material sciences and bioengineering require the quantitative modeling of the combined mechanical deformation and fluid flow of porous geo-material.

The goal of this course is to introduce the student to modern numerical methods for the solution of coupled & non-linear problems arising in geo-mechanics / geotechnical engineering.

The course focuses on quasi-static deformation of fluid-infiltrated porous media, elastic and inelastic behavior under small-strain assumption, and the associated numerical algorithms.

The course is divided in 2 modules. The first module focuses on groundwater flow & linear poro-elasticity. During that part, the students will use a Matlab library of finite element routines to script the numerical solution of such type of initial boundary value problems. Both verification tests examples as well as practical industry inspired problems (fluid storage at depth, flow around tunnels, earth dams, aquifer discharge, consolidation problems etc.) will be investigated.

The second module focuses on the numerical solution of non-linear problems, more specifically in relation to irreversible plastic geo-material behavior as well as the non-linear behavior of interfaces (e.g. fractures, joints). The coupling with structural elements & reinforcements (anchors etc.) will also be covered. The theory behind different type of numerical algorithms will be studied during the lectures. Illustrative engineering examples (dams, excavations, retaining walls, waste storage, tunnels etc.) will be investigated using commercial solvers (e.g. Optum G2). Here again the importance of code verification and sound analysis of numerical results will be emphasized.


numerical modeling, geomechanics, soil and rock mechanics

Learning Prerequisites

Required courses


Recommended courses

Important concepts to start the course

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

Transversal skills

Teaching methods

2 hours lectures -  Course notes for the week would need to be read prior to the class. Important points will then be re-emphasize during the class.

2 hours in computer room  - focused on the numerical solution of a problem previously described during the lecture.

Expected student activities

Student will be expected to be pro-active and read course material in advance. They will also need to finalize by themselves the numerical solution of the problems given every week.

Assessment methods

During the semester

2 MCQ Tests (30% of the grade)

1 Homework (analysis of a particular problem ' individual & different for each students -i.e. at different weeks) (40% of the grade)

1 presentation of a numerical method not covered in class (by group of 2 students) (30% of the grade)


Office hours No
Assistants Yes
Forum Yes
Others Moodle etc.



-       Course notes & articles given during lectures

-       Fundamentals of poroelasticity- Detournay & Cheng

-       Plasticity & Geotechnics ' Yu

-       Any finite element textbook (Hughes, Zienkewitz etc.)


In the programs

Reference week

10-11  CM1112  
      Exercise, TP
      Project, other


  • Autumn semester
  • Winter sessions
  • Spring semester
  • Summer sessions
  • Lecture in French
  • Lecture in English
  • Lecture in German