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Chair of Geotechnical Engineering

Katedra za geotehniko (KGT)

Geotechnical design and geotechnical works include more professional risks than most of other technical sciences. Because of the ground, its non-homogeneous nature and unpredictability due to naturally conditioned risk factors, such as earthquakes and extreme weather events leading to events such as rockfalls, landslides and other forms of failure, geotechnics holds a special place within civil engineering sciences. The task of geotechnical expert is to study the composition and properties of the ground and to provide adequate foundations for building structures, safety of slopes, select adequate materials for the construction of dams as well as prescribe adequate technology for their construction. We also deal with the design and construction of underground structures (tunnels, construction pits). The care for rational use of space is a legitimate reason for directing the construction interventions to technically less appropriate ground. For this reason, one of important areas of geotechnics is also technology for the improvement of mechanical and physical ground properties. Increasingly important is also the care for healthy and clean environment, when municipal waste or waste materials emerging in industrial plants are to be disposed in nature.

Educational activity

In the first cycle study programs Civil Engineering and Water Science and Environmental Engineering we offer for each of them two courses with basic contents of soil mechanics, geology and geotechnics. At the second cycle study programs we teach two obligatory basic courses for all students of civil engineering: Geotechnics of Buildings (orientation Structural Engineering) and Geotechnics of Infrastructural Facilities (orientation Infrastructural Engineering). At the orientation Geo- and Hydrotechnics we also teach several professional courses: Modelling of Geotechnical Structures, Experimental Methods in Geotechnics, Slope Processes, Rock Mechanics and Underground Structures, and Environmental Geotechnics. The latter is also obligatory for the students of the master study program Water Science and Environmental Engineering.

Research and professional activity

The mission of the Chair of Soil Mechanics is, apart from educational work, also implementation of basic research into properties of soils, rocks, secondary materials and waste materials, implemented in laboratory or in the field, by offering also professional support to all those who need it, with knowledge, experiences and equipment. The Chair’s professional and consulting activity can be divided into several designated areas, such as design, elaboration of geotechnical opinions and studies, professional consulting, reviews and auditing of project documents as well as implementation of laboratory and field investigations. Only balanced combination of top theoretic knowledge, good computational tools and research equipment, supported by experiences and »craftsmanship« skills, leads to cost-effective, environment and energy friendly, feasible and safe solutions in the design even the most demanding geotechnical projects, such as landslide repair, construction of traffic infrastructure and foundations. Teaching and research in geotechnics cannot be imagined without close link to real professional challenges of the Slovenian territory.

By staying in touch with current geotechnical projects on all levels, from the idea, through the design and implementation, up to the application, the Chair members actively gain experiences, become aware of new challenges, face them, and transfer new knowledge to the students, to technical documents and, last but not least, to new projects.

The Chair’s research areas are closely linked to the needs of modern time and consist of numerical analyses in geotechnics, introduction of new technologies to field and laboratory ground investigation (presiometer, flat dilatometer, seismic dilatometer, suction measurements, soil behaviour in cyclic load, behaviour of non-saturated soils, use of new materials in geotechnics (geosynthetics), introduction of continuous soil compaction controls in earth works, improvement of geotechnical anchors, automated analysis of measured deformations in tunnels, development of numerical material models for soft anisotropic rocks). A large share of our research work is focused on providing ecological integrity and technical safety in the use of secondary materials – by-products from chemical and metallurgical industry.

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