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Geotechnical Working Group 


Numerical analysis using finite element and finite difference methods has become a mainstream design tool within geotechnics in the last decade or so. This is due to the development of sophisticated yet accessible 2D and 3D computer programs that can realistically model the ground and adjacent structures. With increasing reliance placed on this type of complex modelling effective guidance on the use of this technology and effective procedures for the analyses are required.

The NAFEMS Geotechnical Committee was formed in 2008 with the aim of developing guidelines for the practical application of numerical methods in geotechnical engineering.

Considerable progress has already been made since the committee was formed. The group includes a number of renowned experts in the field.


The following books have been written so far:

1) Validating Numerical Modelling in Geotechnical Engineering

2) Obtaining Parameters for Geotechnical Analysis

3) How to Undertake Finite Element Based Geotechnical Analysis

Further publications related to specific applications such as tunnelling and foundations are currently under development.


The committee has organised seminars in the UK, including:

1) Validation of Numerical Analysis in Geotechnical Engineering

2) Case Studies of Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering

3) Using FEA in Geotechnical Engineering


The Geotechnical Committee has a major role to play in the European project COGAN that is being led by NAFEMS. 

This project will set out the skills that are required by an engineer who is competent to apply numerical methods to geotechnical engineering. It will also provide links to resources that will assist with the acquisition of such skills, as well as generating two e-learning courses relating to numerical analysis in geotechnical engineering.


NAFEMS is keen to avoid duplication of effort and the geotechnical committee intends to be proactive in seeking out opportunities to collaborate with other organisations that are active in this area. Approaches have already been made to the British Geotechnical Association and CIRIA.

Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference for the GWG can be viewed below: