Dr. Brina Montoya

Dr. Brina Montoya

Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

Phone: 919-513-0425
Instructor Website
Research Website

CE 548 Engineering Properties of Soils I

3 Credit Hours

Significant soil properties in earthwork engineering, including soil elasticity and soil mineralogy, hydraulic conductivity, stress-strain relations and shear strength, compressibility and compaction. Laboratory work including plasticity, triaxial compression, permeability, consolidation and compaction tests.


All students must have completed an undergraduate soils mechanics course (CE 342 Engineering Behavior of Soils and Foundations or equivalent).

Course Objectives

The main objective of CE 548 is to introduce graduate-level geotechnical engineering students to the fundamentals of soil property evaluation and laboratory testing. This course provides the background necessary to pursue further studies in the area of geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering.

By the end of the semester, students will be able to:

  • Analyze data from a variety of advance testing techniques (e.g., triaxial compression tests, one-dimensional compression tests, plasticity tests, direct shear tests, permeability tests, and compaction tests),
  • Evaluate testing data for accuracy,
  • Explain comprehensive soil behavior by synthesizing results of experiments with existing geomechanic theories,
  • Formulate engineering recommendations in a profession format using appropriate technical terminology.

Course Requirements

The course requirements and associated grading breakdown include:

  • Homework Assignments – 30%
  • Research Project Report – 15%
  • Reading Quizzes – 10%
  • Midterm Exam – 20%
  • Final Exam – 25%


Robert D. Holtz, William D. Kovacs, and Thomas C. Sheahan, An Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering, 2nd Edition, Pearson (2011). ISBN-13: 978-0132496346