Challenges and opportunities in teaching constitutive models in geotechnical courses

Medicus G., Ziotopoulou K., Huvaj Sarihan N.

10th European Conference on Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering , London, England, 26 - 28 June 2023, vol.1, pp.1-6

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 1
  • Doi Number: 10.53243/numge2023-44
  • City: London
  • Country: England
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-6
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Constitutive modelling of materials is often perceived as an abstract and challenging topic in engineering education. This is a combination of multiple reasons including the required backgrounds on advanced algebra and geometry, the coupling with system-level numerical modelling, and the abstract nature of certain concepts. In 2021, the authors carried out an international survey (n=192) to assess the challenges and opportunities of teaching and learning constitutive models. In this survey, they asked geotechnical students and lecturers how their courses are designed, which textbooks and tools they use, and what main challenges and opportunities they face in teaching and learning soil constitutive modelling. This paper summarises the survey results, draws conclusions from the commonalities and discrepancies identified in the survey, and presents several existing tools for geotechnical engineering education. The paper focuses on the project ‘Animating Soil Models’ (, that aims to facilitate teaching and understanding concepts related to constitutive modelling using visualisations. The content of the project is shared under an open licence and is well received by the community.