Practice Examination A
Subject Code(s): HES2155
Full Subject Title: Geomechanics
STUDENTS NAME: ______________________________ ID No: ________________
Duration: 3 hours
Reading Time: 15 minutes
INSTRUCTIONS TO CANDIDATES
Materials Allowed
Calculators and Drawing Instruments are permitted.
Alpha numeric and programmable calculators are permitted but must be cleared of all
information.
No Notes or Reference books are allowed.
Answering Requirements
This paper consists of seven questions.
Candidates should attempt all questions.
Candidates should note that each question carries different marks.
Graph paper used in questions four and six must be submitted with the examination answer
booklet.
Selected formulas and charts are available on pages six to ten.
Page eleven of this exam question booklet must to be submitted with the examination
answer booklet as part of the answering requirements for question three.
Note: This practice exam paper is identical to the actual exam used in Semester 2, 2003.
SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
PRACTICE EXAMINATION A
HES2155  GEOMECHANICS
Question One:
(a) Physically describe the igneous rocks: Vesicular Basalt and Granite. In your description,
be sure to discuss features such as colour, crystal size, texture, level of acidity, type of
igneous rock and likely geological origin.
(b) List all the physical properties that are used to help identify rock forming minerals.
(c) If given any clastic sedimentary rock, list all the possible types of metamorphic rocks that
could be formed as well as the type of metamorphism required for each.
(d) In drawing a geological crosssection, briefly discuss the meaning of the following terms:
Exaggerated Apparent Dip
Anticline
(6 + 4 + 6 + 5 = 21 marks)
Question Two:
A 672 gram disturbed sample of sandy clay was brought into the soils laboratory. Its density and
void ratio were measured in the field at 1.82 t/m
3
and 0.68 respectively. If the sample was placed
in the oven to dry and later weighed 574 grams, calculate: (i) the moisture content, (ii) the dry
density, (iii) the degree of saturation, and (iv) the specific gravity of the soil particles.
(10 marks)
Practice Examination A HES2155 Geomechanics Page No. 1 of 11
Question Three:
Classify soils A and B using the particle size determination charts (on page 11) and the soil
classification sheets on pages 9 and 10.
Make sure that you submit the particle size determination charts (page 11) with your exam
booklet.
Soil A Soil B
Sieve Size (mm) Mass Retained Percent Passing
37.5  100
19.0  99
13.2  97
9.5  95
6.70 22 g 91
4.75 44 g 86
3.35 66 g 80
2.36 132 g 75
2.00 88 g 72
1.18 352 g 66
0.850 220 g 63
0.600 286 g 60
0.425 286 g 58
0.300 242 g 56
0.212 132 g 54
0.150 66 g 52
0.075 44 g 50
Pan 220 g 0
Atterberg Limits
Liquid Limit 50 60
Plastic Limit 40 25
(10 + 5 = 15 marks)
Practice Examination A HES2155 Geomechanics Page No. 2 of 11
Question Four:
In Figure 1 below, a thin sheet pile wall has been installed and one side has been excavated down
to 6m.
(a) Using a scale of 1cm = 1m (in your exam booklets or on the graph paper), draw the sheet
pile retaining wall structure and boundary conditions shown in Figure 1. Then draw an
appropriate flownet diagram for constant water flow from water level A to B. In your
diagram, label a typical flowline, flowtube, equipotential line and equipotential drop to
show your understanding.
(b) Using the flownet generated in (a), calculate the discharge beneath the sheet pile retaining
wall (in litres per minute per meter length of wall), if the permeability of the soil is 0.3
cm/sec.
8m
3m
Impermeable Bedrock
6m
water level A
Sheet Pile
Retaining Wall
Ground and water level B
Not to Scale
1m
Figure 1
(6 + 4 = 10 marks)
Practice Examination A HES2155 Geomechanics Page No. 3 of 11
Question Five:
In Figure 2 below, a railway embankment is to be constructed above natural ground surface from
a crushed rock material that has a unit weight of 20 kN/m
3
.
(a) Determine the increase in vertical stress within the soil at point A due to the construction
of the railway embankment.
(b) Determine the increase in vertical stress within the soil at point A due to a freight train
travelling on Rails 1 and 2 if the freight train had an overall length of 600 m and a total
mass of 8,400 tonnes (assume the mass of the train is distributed evenly along the rails).
Railway Embankment
Rail 4 Rail 3 Rail 2 Rail 1
Point A
1m 2m 0.5m 2m 0.5m
Natural ground surface level before
construction of elevated railway structure.
2m
2m
3m 4m
2m
6m
Figure 2
(9 + 6 = 15 marks)
Question Six:
The results of two consolidated undrained triaxial tests with pore pressure measurements on two
identical samples of clay are shown in Table 1.
Test No. 1 2
Cell Pressure 50 kPa 122 kPa
Deviator Stress at failure 80 kPa 107 kPa
Pore Pressure at failure 30 kPa 80 kPa
Table 1
On the graph paper provided, plot the relevant Mohr circles (using a scale of 1 cm = 10 kPa) to
determine:
(a) the effective strength parameters of the soil,
(b) the approximate angle of failure () within the soil sample show this on your Mohr
circle, and
(c) the total strength parameters of the soil.
(7 + 3 + 4 = 14 marks)
Practice Examination A HES2155 Geomechanics Page No. 4 of 11
Question Seven:
(a) When calculating immediate elastic settlements in soil, discuss the difference between
Janbus elastic settlement formula and the standard elastic formula.
(b) In Figure 3, the natural soil profile consists of sand overlying clay overlying sand then
bedrock, with a water table present 1m beneath the surface of the natural ground. If 4m of
consistent fill material (
fill
= 15 kN/m
3
) was placed on top of this soil profile that covered
a large area, determine:
the consolidation settlement of the clay layer (using 4 equal layers in your
calculation), and
the time (in days) for this consolidation to be 90% complete given the appropriate
time factor values in Table 2.
U (%) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Tv 0 0.008 0.031 0.071 0.126 0.197 0.287 0.403 0.567 0.848
Table 2
1m
1m
Impermeable BEDROCK
2m
4m
2m
Dense SAND:
sat
= 20.5 kN/m
3
Over Consolidated CLAY:
sat
= 19.5 kN/m
3
E
clay
= 4.6 MPa
c
s
= 0.013
c
v
= 0.6 m
2
/yr
e
o
= 0.82
Loose SAND:
dry
= 16 kN/m
3
sat
= 19 kN/m
3
Figure 3
(4 + 11 = 15 marks)
Practice Examination A HES2155 Geomechanics Page No. 5 of 11
Appendix Some Basic Formulas and Charts
Soil Classification:
60 10
2
30
D D
D
C
c
=
10
60
D
D
C
u
=
Soil Hydraulics: kiA vA Q = =
d
f
N
N
h k Q =
Elastic Settlement: I
E
v qB
i
) 1 (
2
=
M
H
i
=
Janbus Elastic Settlement:
E
qB
O
i
1
=
Consolidation Settlement: = H m
v c

.

\
 +
+
=
'
'
log
1
o
c
c
e
Hc
Time Rate of Consolidation:
t
d T
c
v
v
2
=
Stress Increase in Soil due to a Point Load:
r
y
x
z
Load, P (kN)
L
z
y
x
y
z
x
( )
( )
)
`
+
+
=
2 3
2
2
2 2
5
2
) (
2 1
3
2 r L
z y
z L Lr
y x
L
z x P
x horizontal
( )
( )
)
`
+
+
=
2 3
2
2
2 2
5
2
) (
2 1
3
2 r L
z x
z L Lr
x y
L
z y P
y horizontal
( )
5
3
2
5
2 2
3
) (
2
3
2
3
L
Pz
z r
z P
z vertical
=
+
=
where:
2 2
y x r + = ,
2 2 2 2 2
z r z y x L + = + + = and = Poissons ratio
Practice Examination A HES2155 Geomechanics Page No. 6 of 11
Stress Increase in Soil due to a Uniform Line Load:
y
Load, w (kN/m)
z
horizontal(x)
vertical(z)
x
vertical(z)
horizontal(x)
z
x
( )
2
2 2
3
) (
2
z x
wz
z vertical
+
=
and
( )
2
2 2
2
) (
2
z x
z wx
x l horxizonta
+
=
Stress Increase in Soil due to a Uniform Strip Load:
Centre Line
b b
Uniform Pressure, q (kPa)
horizontal(x)
horizontal(x)
vertical(z)
vertical(z)
x
z
y
z
x
( ) ( )
+ + = 2 cos sin
) (
q
z vertical
and ( ) ( )
+ = 2 cos sin
) (
q
x horizontal
Practice Examination A HES2155 Geomechanics Page No. 7 of 11
Stress Increase in Soil due to a Triangular Strip Load:
Centre Line
c / 2 c / 2
Pressure, q (kPa)
horizontal(x)
horizontal(x)
vertical(z)
vertical(z)
x
z
y
z
x

.

\

=
2 sin
2
1
) (
c
x q
z vertical
and


.

\



.

\

+ =
2 2 2
2 2
) (
ln 2 sin
2
1
z c x
z x
c
z
c
x q
x horizontal
Practice Examination A HES2155 Geomechanics Page No. 8 of 11
Soil Classification Chart: Coarse Grained Soils
Practice Examination A HES2155 Geomechanics Page No. 9 of 11
Soil Classification Chart: Fine Grained Soils
Practice Examination A HES2155 Geomechanics Page No. 10 of 11
This page must be submitted with your examination booklet
Student Name: Student I.D ..
For Soil A
Practice Examination A HES2155 Geomechanics Page No. 11 of 11
For Soil B