Geotechnical Laboratory

Located in Building D2 (First floor and ground floor) of UPC-BarcelonaTech's Campus Nord, the Geotechnical Laboratory is part of the Geotechnical Engineering & Geosciences section of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. The activities carried out in the laboratory respond to two of the basic functions of the university: teaching and research. Since the material and human resources of the laboratory are limited, any of these activities may need to make use of all its resources. Frequently, carrying out tests associated with agreements signed between DECA and other public or private entities requires the acquisition of new equipment and / or the development of new test procedures.


The teaching activity of the laboratory is developed on various fronts:

Lab sessions

In the laboratory, the lab sessions corresponding to the following courses are carried out:

  • Soil Mechanics (Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering, Bachelor's Degree in Geological Engineering and Master's Degree in Civil Engineering)
  • Advanced Soil Mechanics (Master's Degree in Civil Engineering)
  • Groundwaves Generation & Propagation (Master's Degree in Geotechnical Engineering)
  • Geotechnics (Bachelor's Degree in Aerospace Systems Engineering)
  • Marine Foundations (Master's degree in Naval Architecture & Ocean Engineering)
Specialty theses

The activities related to final theses, specialty projects, or doctoral theses that are carried out in the laboratory are of two types:

  • Works related to engineering or research related to a soil mechanics laboratory.
  • Experimental work not necessarily focused on exclusive laboratory topics.

Most of the research activity is part of the PhD program in Civil Engineering.


Despite everything, the Geotechnical Laboratory is fundamentally a research laboratory, which is mainly used to carry out fundamental and applied research on the thermo-hydro-mechanical behavior of soils and soft rocks, with the aim of applying the results obtained to the day-to-day.

Most of the work is associated with the following activities:

  • R&D projects with public and private funding of national and European nature (H2020).
  • Technology transfer agreements (development of prototypes for advanced tests), non-conventional tests for engineering works.
  • Research agreements with national radioactive waste management agencies (Belgium, Switzerland, France, Finland, Japan).
  • Collaboration with different research centers and universities.

Research lines

  • Gas transport in deep clay formations and on compacted bentonite.
  • Thermo-hydro-mechanical behavior of deep clay formations.
  • Hydro-mechanical behavior of coarse aggregates (scale effects, long-term compressibility, chemical effects, shear resistance).
  • Hydro-mechanical behavior of compacted soils (general stress states, anisotropy, microstructure, binary mixtures).
  • Hydro-mechanical behavior of rooted soils and their interaction with the atmosphere.
  • Physical models of slopes affected by rain and flowability tests on granular materials (analysis with PIV and high-speed camera).
  • Soil desiccation (cracking patterns, crack initiation and propagation, soil-atmosphere interaction).
  • Thermo-hydro-mechanical coupling during cutting processes at high speed.
  • Thermo-mechanical and chemical behavior of concrete.