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CIVL6454: Rock Engineering (2019 - Semester 1)

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Unit: CIVL6454: Rock Engineering (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Postgraduate
Faculty/School: Civil Engineering
Unit Coordinator/s: Dr Miao, Guien
Session options: Semester 1
Versions for this Unit:
Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Pre-Requisites: None.
Prohibitions: CIVL5454.
Brief Handbook Description: Objectives: to develop an understanding of the behaviour and design of engineering structures in rock masses.

Outcomes: Students will have learnt how to classify and characterise rocks and rock masses for engineering purposes and developed an understanding of basic rock mechanics, etc.

Syllabus summary: Introduction to rock mechanics and rock engineering. Index properties and engineering characterisation of rocks and rock masses. Planes of weakness in rock masses. Rock material strength and rock mass strength. Rock deformability. In situ stress conditions in rock masses. Underground openings. Rock slopes.
Assumed Knowledge: Undergraduate geology and soil mechanics.
Timetable: CIVL6454 Timetable
Time Commitment:
# Activity Name Hours per Week Sessions per Week Weeks per Semester
1 Project Work - in class 3.00 1 13
2 Independent Study 6.00 1 13
3 Laboratory 3.00 1 1
T&L Activities: Independent Study: Students are expected to spend about 6 hours per week working on assignments, finding information from the Internet and the library, and working with computer programs.

Laboratory: The computer laboratory will be used to run stereonet software.

Learning outcomes are the key abilities and knowledge that will be assessed in this unit. They are listed according to the course goal supported by each. See Assessment Tab for details how each outcome is assessed.

(5) Interdisciplinary, Inclusiveness, Influence (Level 4)
1. Apply a team approach to scientific and engineering investigation and the process of learning
2. Practice a sense of responsibility and independence as a learner that will guide ongoing professional development and civil engineering practice
(6) Communication and Inquiry/ Research (Level 3)
3. Find and analyse information using skills in computer aided design, numeracy and data handling
4. Demonstrate enhanced skills in written, oral and interpersonal communication
(2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 4)
5. Perform analyses on raw data collected for a rock mass and apply this data to the solution of problems such as the design of slopes, tunnels and foundations on rock
6. Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts and language of geology and rock engineering, as well as identify and name common rock types and common geological defects
(1) Maths/ Science Methods and Tools (Level 4)
7. Develop a representative geological model of the important characteristics presented by a variety of geological environments and rock types, as well as interpret geological maps, geological cross-sections and rock-core logs, in the context of the built environment, construction and engineered structures
Assessment Methods:
# Name Group Weight Due Week Outcomes
1 Participation & Attendance No 0.00 Multiple Weeks 2,
2 Field Trip Report* No 20.00 Week 5 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
3 Slope Stability Problem* Yes 20.00 Week 10 (During your timetabled class) 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7,
4 Hard Rock Tunnel Exercise* Yes 20.00 Week 13 (During your timetabled class) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,
5 Final Examination No 40.00 Exam Period 4, 5, 6, 7,
Assessment Description: * indicates an assessment task which must be repeated if a student misses it due to special consideration


Participation & Attendance: It is expected that students attend lectures / practical classes. If unable to attend a class for any reason, contact your tutor/demonstrator and, if appropriate, submit a Special Consideration form via the Special Considerations Unit.

Field Trip Report: Technical report on field trip to Cockatoo Island

Slope Stability Problem: Technical report on the analysis of a slope stability problem

Hard Rock Tunnel Exercise: Technical report on the analysis of a tunnelling problem

Final Examination: The examination at the end of the semester will measure students’ understanding of the concepts covered during the semester within this UoS.


In order to pass this unit of study students must successfully complete all assessment items, achieve an overall aggregated mark for the four assessable items of more than 50%, as well as achieve a mark of 50% or above for the Final Exam. This means that students must: a) pass the final examination; and b) achieve an aggregate mark for all assessment tasks of more than 50%. Students who fail the Final Exam will be awarded a maximum mark of 45 and a fail grade F.
Grade Type Description
Standards Based Assessment Final grades in this unit are awarded at levels of HD for High Distinction, DI (previously D) for Distinction, CR for Credit, PS (previously P) for Pass and FA (previously F) for Fail as defined by University of Sydney Assessment Policy. Details of the Assessment Policy are available on the Policies website at . Standards for grades in individual assessment tasks and the summative method for obtaining a final mark in the unit will be set out in a marking guide supplied by the unit coordinator.
Policies & Procedures: See the policies page of the faculty website at for information regarding university policies and local provisions and procedures within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.

Note that the "Weeks" referred to in this Schedule are those of the official university semester calendar

Week Description
Week 1 Introduction - Geology and Engineering
Week 2 Rock Mass Rating Schemes & Rock Core Logging
Week 3 Rock Mass Rating Schemes & Rock Core Logging
Week 4 Rock Mass Rating Schemes & Rock Core Logging
Week 5 Geological Structures and Geological Maps
Assessment Due: Field Trip Report*
Week 6 Introduction to Stereographic Projection
Week 7 Testing Rock for Engineering Purposes
Week 8 Rock Slope Stability Design
Week 9 Computer Aided Rock Slope Analysis
Week 10 Tunnel Design Using Rock Mass Rating Schemes
Assessment Due: Slope Stability Problem*
Week 11 Underground Stress States
Week 12 Computer Aided Rock Tunnel Design
Week 13 Foundations on Rock
Assessment Due: Hard Rock Tunnel Exercise*
Exam Period Assessment Due: Final Examination

Course Relations

The following is a list of courses which have added this Unit to their structure.

Course Year(s) Offered
Master of Professional Engineering (Accelerated) (Geomechanical) 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Geomechanical) 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Engineering 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Accelerated) (Civil) 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Civil) 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Fluids) 2016
Master of Professional Engineering (Structural) 2016

Course Goals

This unit contributes to the achievement of the following course goals:

Attribute Practiced Assessed
(5) Interdisciplinary, Inclusiveness, Influence (Level 4) No 10%
(6) Communication and Inquiry/ Research (Level 3) No 20%
(4) Design (Level 4) No 0%
(3) Problem Solving and Inventiveness (Level 4) No 0%
(2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 4) No 47%
(1) Maths/ Science Methods and Tools (Level 4) No 23%

These goals are selected from Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 which defines overall goals for courses where this unit is primarily offered. See Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 for details of the attributes and levels to be developed in the course as a whole. Percentage figures alongside each course goal provide a rough indication of their relative weighting in assessment for this unit. Note that not all goals are necessarily part of assessment. Some may be more about practice activity. See Learning outcomes for details of what is assessed in relation to each goal and Assessment for details of how the outcome is assessed. See Attributes for details of practice provided for each goal.