A Master of Science degree in Geotechnical/Pavements will teach you about the strength of the earth’s surface and foundation. You will learn how to design deep foundations such as drilled shafts. You will learn how to test timber piles using ultrasonic technology, and how to test soil for engineering purposes. You will be able to design pavements for highways and airfields. This degree will help you to understand and create the surfaces that we walk and drive on every day.
Areas of Research Activity
A wide variety of technical topics have been researched within the Geotechnical and Materials Engineering area. Below is a general list of research interests:
Soil Properties and Behavior (Aggour, Aydilek, Goodings)
- Expansive soils
- Centrifuge modelling of soils
- Characterization of unsaturated soil strength
- High gradient seepage through soil
- Grain size effects in soil strength measurement
- Characteristics of dredged materials
Earth Retaining Structures (Aggour)
- Effects of compaction on retaining walls
- Reinforced soil retaining wall-strip and geotextile
- Tieback systems
Geomechanics (Aydilek, Schwartz)
- Computational mechanics (e.g., finite element, boundary element, • coupled boundary element-finite element techniques)
- Dynamic/non-linear fracture mechanics
- Unsaturated groundwater flow analysis
- Constitutive modeling for geomaterials
- Image analysis applications in geotechnical engineering
Highway and Airfield Pavement Engineering (Goulias, Schwartz)
- Design of layered pavement systems
- Nondestructive field evaluation of pavements
- Pavement deterioration modeling
- Pavement management systems (project/network analysis).
- Pavement rehabilitation methodologies
Materials Characterization/Behavior (Goulias, Schwartz)
- Characterization of pavement materials (bituminous, cement stabilized, granular, soils)
- Advanced constitutive model formulation and calibration
- Rational asphalt mix design
- Fatigue of stabilized materials
- Repeated load-permanent deformation behavior for asphalt concrete and unbound materials
- Aggregate, Mortars and Portland Cement Concrete evaluation
- Maturity, Fatigue, Shrinkage and Durability Modeling of Concrete Materials
- Design and Performance of Low Shrinkage, Fiber Reinforced, High Fly Ash Volume and High Performance Concrete
- Piles under static and dynamic loading
- Settlement of footing on residual soils
- Soil provisions for approaches to bridges
- Settlement of bridge
- Disposal of utility wastes
- Soil improvements
- Compaction grouting
Dynamics (Aggour, Goodings)
- Dynamic moduli characterization
- Cratering in soils
- Lunar soil excavation
- Machine foundations
Earthquake Engineering (Aggour)
- Soil response under random loads
- Dynamic earth pressure
- Damping of soils and structures
- Liquefaction of soils
- Soil-structure interaction
- Time effect on dynamic soil properties
- Effect of loading type on dynamic soil properties
- Specimen size effects in simple shear testing
Nondestructive Evaluation (Aggour, Goulias)
- Nondestructive testing of foundation
- Non Destructive testing of Concrete and Composites
- Ultrasonic testing of timber piles
- Instrumentation for NDT evaluations
Geoenvironmental Engineering (Aydilek)
- Design of waste containment systems
- Soil remediation and stabilization
- Beneficial re-use of industrial by-products
- Waste materials in construction
A wide variety of graduate level courses are offered on a permanent basis in the geotechnical and materials and supporting areas to afford a Master's or Ph.D. applicant a highly versatile and flexible plan of study to meet his or her particular interests. Because of the extreme importance of a well balanced academic program, a plan of study is individually formulated by each student with his or her faculty advisor. Within the geotechnical and materials area, several concentrations exist that may easily be developed.
Geotechnical and Materials Course Descriptions
The following is a list of present course offerings and a brief course abstract for Geotechnical and Material courses.
ENCE 441 - FOUNDATION DESIGN (3 Credits)
Critical review of classical lateral earth pressure theories, analysis of retaining walls and reinforced earth walls, subsurface explorations, bearing capacity and settlement of shallow foundations, design of deep foundations that includes both pile foundations and drilled shafts.
ENCE 444 - EXPERIMENTAL METHODS IN GEOTECHNICAL STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING (3 credits)
In the geotechnical engineering part of the course, major soils testing and their interpretation including classification, compaction, strength, and compressibility will be undertaken. The structural engineering part of this course covers test planning, loading apparatus, instrumentation, data acquisition and data analysis, as well as basic aspects of structural testing techniques and shake-table test.
ENCE 447 - PAVEMENT ENGINEERING (3 Credits)
Fundamental principles underlying the design, construction, maintenance and repair, and management of highway and airfield pavement systems. Pavement performance (functional/structural; elevation); pavement mechanics (multi-layered elastic theory; slab theory); pavement materials (properties and characterization); environmental effects; current rigid and flexible design methods (new/rehabilitation); construction (new construction; maintenance/repair; rehabilitation); economic evaluation; pavement management.
ENCE 640 - ADVANCED SOIL MECHANICS (3 Credits)
Introduction to the use of elastic theory in stress and displacement solutions to geotechnical engineering (soil and rock mechanics). Classical settlement (consolidation) and compressibility theories, including finite difference solution for vertical and radial drainage.
ENCE 641 - ADVANCED FOUNDATION SYSTEMS (3 Credits)
Review of soil properties and subsurface exploration, evaluation and design of shallow foundations, including settlement and bearing capacity of spread footings and mats. Discussion of methods of soil improvement. Analysis and design of deep foundations including single pile, pile load testing, pile group actions, and drilled shaft foundation for both vertical and horizontal loads. Load and resistance factor design concepts applied to these systems.
ENCE 643 - THEORY OF SOIL STRENGTH (3 Credits)
Shear strength of cohesive and cohesionless soils is analyzed using the Critical State Soil Mechanics theory of soil strength. Conventional laboratory strength tests and Mohr-Coulomb representation of soil strength are also discussed, ending with recommended design parameters.
ENCE 644 - ADVANCED PAVEMENT AND CIVIL ENGINEERING MATERIALS (3 Credits)
Dynamic material characterization. Elastic, plastic and viscoelastic behavior, energy analysis. Physical and mechanical properties, NDT. Performance analysis such creep, fatigue, and durability. Recent developments in aggregate evaluation. Portland cement concrete, high performance concrete, conventional and modifield asphalt binders and mixture. Polymers and composites, geotextiles, smart and self-healing materials, recycled and reclaimed materials.
ENCE 645 - GEOTECHNICS OF WASTE DISPOSAL (3 Credits)
Fundamental aspects of geotechnical engineering that apply to problems of waste containment and remediation, basic principles of containment systems, compacted clay liners and clay mineralogy, hydraulic conductivity of compacted soils, methods of laboratory and field hydraulic conductivity measurements, design of waste containment systems, landfill settlement, geosynthetic liners, waste compatibility, contaminant transport through liners, leachate collection systems, gas collection systems, covers and caps.
ENCE 646 - GEOSYNTHETICS ENGINEERING (3 Credits)
Use of geosynthetics in geotechnical and geoenviromental construction, evaluation of fundamental, long lasting principles related to the geosynthetics that can be employed in the design, design methodologies with geosynthetics, discussion of properties and behavior of geosynthetics in a laboratory setting, measurement and quantification of geomechanical and hydraulic behavior of various geosynthetics.
ENCE 647 - SLOPE STABILITY AND SEEPAGE (3 Credits)
Theoretical and practical aspects of seepage effects, and groundwater flow, review of shear strength principles, flow through porous media, hydraulic conductivity, flow nets, determination of water pressure, seepage forces and quantity of seepage, laboratory and field tests for shear strength, infinite slopes, block analysis, method of slices, seismic analysis of slopes, effective and total stress analysis, computer program for slope stability analysis, slope stability problems in waste disposal, construction excavations, reinforced embankments, embankments on soft ground.
ENCE 740 - COMPUTATIONAL GEOMECHANICS (3 Credits)
In-depth treatment of standard numerical analysis techniques for stress analysis and fluid flow problems in geomechanics. Emphasis on the underlying theoretical formulations, practical applications, and potential pitfalls in each numerical technique. A variety of realistic geomechanics problems is solved using student-developed and existing computer programs.
ENCE741 - EARTH RETAINING STRUCTURES (3 Credits)
Introduction to types and uses of earth retaining structures, and lateral earth pressure concepts and theories. Analysis and design of retaining walls and shoring structures and their bracing systems. These include retaining walls, mechanically stabilized earth walls, cantilever and anchored sheet piling, cellular cofferdams, braced cuts, soil nailing, and the design of tiebacks and anchors. Load and resistance factor design concepts applied to these systems.
ENCE742 - EMBANKMENT DAM DESIGN (3 Credits)
An overview of embankment dam engineering, including: planning; design (basic design requirements; typical cross-sections; seepage control; embankment stability; freeboard and riprap); construction considerations; surveillance, safety and maintenance; and special dams (small dams; rockfill dams; mine waste; dams in cold climates). Speakers from engineering practice are included in the lecture series.
ENCE 743 - SOIL DYNAMICS AND EARTHQUAKE ENGINEERING (3 Credits)
Review of theory of vibration and wave propagation in elastic media. Field and laboratory methods for determining dynamic soil properties. Analysis and design of soil-foundation systems subjected to machinery generated vibrations and methods of foundation isolation. Earthquake causes, magnitude and intensity, seismic hazard evaluation, NEHRP site classification, site response analyses and ground motion amplification, liquefaction and response of earth structures.
ENCE 744 - QA/QC AND SPECIFICATIONS FOR HIGHWAY MATERIALS (3 Credits)
Factorial Experiments and Analysis. Materials, Variability Components: Inherent and Testing Variability. Quality, Control/ Quality Assurance: Analysis Methods, Assurance Plans and Components. Specifications for Asphalt and Concrete Materials: Method, End-Result, Performance Based. Life Cycle Analysis and Performance Modeling Techniques. Use of Advanced Statistical Analysis for Material Properties Monitoring and Performance Predictions: ANOVA, Time Series, Spatial Data Analysis. Advanced Highway Materials including Polymer Modified and High Performance Asphalt and Concrete
ENCE 745 - GEOENVIROMENTAL SITE REMEDIATION (3 Credits)
Analysis of various techniques for remediation of contaminated media, applicable regulations and methods of field reconnaissance, invasive and non-invasive methods of site characterization, geophysical techniques, geoenvironmental monitoring, monitoring in the unsaturated zone, vertical cut-off walls, caps, soil vapor extraction systems, air sparging, permeable reactive walls, waste stabilization and solidification systems, electro-kinetic remediation.
ENCE 747 - INFRASTRUCTURE AND PAVEMENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (3 Credits)
Pavement and infrastructure management, system engineering. Condition evaluation and rating, non-destructive methods, performance evaluation and modeling, economic analysis, cost and benefits. Pavement management systems (PMS): overview, a framework for system design, project and network PMS, pavement condition and SHRP surveys, costs and benefits of improved levels of pavement management, PMS case studies. Use of geographic information systems (GIS), system concepts applied to design. Implementation of maintenance management systems. Bridge management systems: inspection, rating, benefits. Building management systems: critical issues, private and public ownership, life cycle cost. Infrastructure management systems
ENCE 489 - SPECIAL PROBLEMS (1 - 4 Credits)
Prerequisite: Senior Standing
ENCE 688 - ADVANCED TOPICS IN CIVIL ENGINEERING
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. May be taken for repeated credit when identified by topic title.
ENCE 689 - ADVANCED INDEPENDENT STUDY
Credit in accordance with work outlined by the Department. Prerequisite: Consent of the Department of Civil Engineering.
ENCE 799 - THESIS RESEARCH (Master's level)
Credit in accordance with work done each semester, but to total over all semesters, 6 credit hours toward the total of thirty credit hours needed for the MS.
ENCE 899 - DISSERTATION RESEARCH (Doctoral level)
Teaching and Research Facilities
Excellent facilities are available within the Department of Civil Engineering for the conduct of graduate level research. The library resources available to the graduate student at the University of Maryland are among the best in the nation. The University library, with over a million volumes, is supplemented by the Library of Congress, the National Bureau of Standards Library, the National Agricultural Sciences Library, and nearly 500 other specialized libraries in the Washington area. An extensive network of computing facilities is available for research and other academic activities within the program. Primary systems range from workstations located within the Civil Engineering Department (CE Design Lab) to centralized mainframes and supercomputers accessible through the University's Computer Science Center.
The Geotechnical / Pavement Engineering group has extensive soil and pavement materials laboratories covering a wide range of routine to sophisticated, state-of-the-art dynamic loading equipment. A detail description for each lab is provided in the following links: