David J. Kerkes, Ph.D., P.E.

Consulting Geotechnical (Civil) Engineer


4 Hour Refresher

Shear Strength of Soils - Drained and Undrained Behavior


What is the "4 Hour Refresher"

The "4 Hour Refresher" is a practical and economic continuing education option for engineers. It is intended for engineers who want an introduction to the particular subject, as well as for those who would like to review the subject for better understanding. It is not intended for individuals who have never had a basic course in soil mechanics. For many individuals the relevance of material they studied in college often does not become apparent until they have encountered problems to which the subject applies, at which point they are in a better position to understand the subject if it is properly presented to them. The "4 Hour Refresher" distills the subject matter into its essential elements, while linking these various elements into a coherent whole. Dr. Kerkes' background as both a practicing geotechnical engineer and an experienced engineering educator enables him to present technical concepts in a straightforward and practical manner that is solution oriented.


Course Content

This refresher covers the basic mechanisms of shear strength; the Mohr and Mohr-Coulomb failure criteria; the basic concepts behind the direct shear and triaxial shear tests; the development of pore pressure in soil; a discussion of stress states and stress paths; the effect of sample removal on the soil sample; and the way in which these various aspects control the drained and undrained shear strength of normally consolidated and overconsolidated clays, as well as cohesionless soils. Examples are provided to illustrate how the concepts can be applied to practical problems. The course notes include numerous technical references and copies of select technical papers to help participants who may want to explore the subject in more depth or those who simply want to go back and review individual concepts.



David J. Kerkes, Ph.D., P.E.
Consulting Geotechnical Engineer
1311 Mustang Trail
Kingwood, Texas 77339   U.S.A.

281-358-5155             dkerkes@earthlink.net