Numerical Modelling in Geotechnical Engineering 

 FE                      Deviator                         Ele

Summer School 22.07.2024 - 26.07.2024

University of Innsbruck


We emphasize knowledge transfer as research-guided teaching based on understanding. Therefore, we do not aim for long lectures, nor a very high number of participants. There will be a lot of time for questions and discussions.
  • Barbara Schneider-Muntau finished her habilitation thesis in 2019 on numerical modeling in geotechnical engineering. She has been working on numerical simulations of case studies in geotechnics at the Unit of Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Innsbruck since 2006.
  • Franz Tschuchnigg heads the group of Computational Geotechnics at the Institute of Soil Mechanics, Foundation Engineering and Numerical Geotechnics since 2019. He completed his habilitation in spring 2020 with the title "A Contribution to Computational Geotechnics - Theory and Practice".
  • Gertraud Medicus is working as a PostDoc on constitutive modelling since 2014. From 2017-2022, she was the PI of the FWF stand-alone project ‘Reloading in Barodesy’. In 2022, she will start holding the FWF Elise-Richter position ‘Soil tests as boundary value problems using hypoplasticity’.


Target group

  • Students with a major in geotechnical engineering and PhD students working on soil mechanics with an interest in numerical modeling.



  • Introduction to finite element applications in geotechnical engineering
  • Getting to know different constitutive models and their calibration
  • Applications of different constitutive models on element tests and comparisson with results from laboratory tests
  • Modeling of boundary value problems
  • Influence of the plane strain simplification
  • Finding Mistakes  


Content blocks

The knowledge of different constitutive models and their applications are state of the art in geotechnical design. After a general introduction to computational geotechnics and constitutive models, the participants will learn basics of Critical State Soil Mechanics. Tools for parameter calibration of selected constitutive models (elasto-plastic and hypoplastic constitutive models) will be introduced and complemented by simulations of element tests. The influence of the individual material parameters and the individual models is clearly visualized in the element tests. Based on this, the modeling of different boundary value problems with different models and different FE software packages is a main focus of the Summer School.

Day 1 (Franz Tschuchnigg):

  • Introduction on Computational Geotechnics,
  • Fundamentals of plasticity theory and first applications.

Day 2 (Gertraud Medicus; Franz Tschuchnigg):

  • Critical State Theory for soils,
  • Introduction in Hypoplasticity and in Hardening Soil / Hardening Soil Small.

Day 3 (Gertraud Medicus; Franz Tschuchnigg; Barbara Schneider-Muntau)

  • Calibration of material parameters,
  • Simulations of element test (oedometric compresion test) with different constitutive models,
  • Consolidation, Pore water pressure.

Day 4 (Barbara Schneider-Muntau; Franz Tschuchnigg)

  • Back calculations (modelling) of element tests (triaxial test, biaxial test) with different constitutive models,
  • Understanding the influence of the individual material parameters,
  • Slope stability calculations.

Day 5 (Barbara Schneider-Muntau; Gertraud Medicus; Franz Tschuchnigg)

  • Depictability of the Critical State Theory for soil in element tests,
  • Influence of the plane strain simplification,
  • 3D – applications.



Certificate of Attendance. Upon submission of the final report, 5 ECTS AP can be issued. The Summer School bears the label "University of Innsbruck Summer School".



€ 650,-

The general conditions, especially payment and cancellation conditions for university courses at the University of Innsbruck apply:




University of Innsbruck, Institute for Infrastructure 
Unit of Geotechnical Engineering
Room 627
Tel.: +43 512 507-62382

Fax: +43 512 507-62399


Gif animations:

Mohr-Coulomb hexagon and invariantsMatsuoka-Nakai and invariants


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