Research group

What is Geotechnical Engineering?

Geotechnical EngineeringGeotechnical engineering is a civil engineering discipline that is concerned with building on, in, or with soil and rock. Geotechnical engineers design dams, embankments, cuts, foundations, retaining walls, anchors, tunnels, and all other structures directly interacting with the subsoil, both onshore and offshore. Risk assessment associated to geohazards such as landslides or earthquakes is another responsibility of geotechnical engineers. Geotechnical engineering is based on soil and rock mechanics and testing. Analytical methods play a major role in today's design but are more and more replaced by numerical methods.

Geotechnical engineering shares common interests with other disciplines such as structural engineering, engineering geology, material science, or petroleum engineering. Geotechnical engineering is a truly multi-disciplinary field offering training and research possibilities ranging from material testing and analytical methods to non linear numerical modeling of multiphysics problems.

«Information on and Selection of Topics for Project and Master Theses in Geotechnical Engineering» 


NTNU's Geotechnical Engineering group has research activities in soil testing, soil modeling, numerical analyses, slope stability including progressive failure, analytical methods in geotechnical design, and geo-environmental engineering.

More specifically, our current and past activities include:

Soil modeling, numerical analyses and testing

  • Development of soil models for clay, sand, and rock
  • Development of numerical methods 
  • Material softening and regularization
  • Progressive failure
  • 2D and 3D numerical analyses
  • Testing of soft clays and sand
  • Testing of frozen materials
  • Scaled model tests (1G)

Marine geotechnical engineering

  • Concept development and verification studies
  • Model tests on foundations and pipelines
  • Laboratory tests on offshore samples

Structures and infrastructure

  • Construction of roads, railways and airfields on soft ground
  • Ground improvement (geotextiles, soil reinforcement, lime/cement columns) 
  • Mechanical properties of lightweight fill aggregates
  • Aid in planning and design of geotechnical works
  • Control and verification of building projects

Slides and geohazards

  • Stability calculations and evaluations
  • Stabilisation methods for protection towards new slides
  • National database for previous slide activity
  • Slide mechanisms in sensitive clays
  • Instrumentation and geotechnical investigations
  • Slide activity in an instrumented quick clay deposit

Geo-environmental engineering

  • Remediation of contaminated soil
  • Construction of waste deposit in the Netherlands

Additionally the research group has a lot of PhD-research. International Centre for Geohazards (ICG) is one of the Centre of Excellences in Norway funded by Norwegian Research Council. ICG has been involved in various PhD research. These PhD studies are mainly pivoting around Geohazards related themes. Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim and University of Oslo are the partners who are hosting PhD activities with close financial and academic cooperation with ICG and other partners; NGI, NGU and NORSAR.

Contact information

Group members
Our offices (map)

Visiting address
Høgskoleringen 7A
7034 Trondheim

Postal address:
Institutt for bygg, anlegg og transport
7491 Trondheim

Study programs

2-year International Masters Programme
(taught in English)
Geotechnics and Geohazards

5-year Integrated Masters Programme (Sivilingeniør)
Civil and Environmental Engineering

Soil Modeling 2016

Our biannual PhD Course in Soil Modeling is offered in 2016. More information

CREEP - Creep of Geomaterials

The Geotechnical Research Group is now coordinating the Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) project CREEP funded from the 7th Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) of the EC. More information  

Geotechnical Laboratory

The following information about our labs is available only in norwegian.

About the lab 
Example - External commissions
Testing equipment in the lab
Testing equipment in the field