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Soil Deformation and Fragmentation 2019

PhD course Soil Deformation and Fragmentation: Visualization, Measurements, Modelling and Functioning

When: 18 - 23 March 2019

Where: AU Foulum, Blichers Allé 20, DK-8830 Tjele (meeting room 1)

Aarhus University, Department of Agroecology is pleased to announce this PhD course where we will present classical and new approaches for measurement, modelling and visualization of soil deformation and fragmentation due to mechanical stress application.

Volume of the course is 5 ECTS and the target group is PhD students with a background in soil science, environmental engineering and numerical modelling.

Key lecturers are:

  • Thomas Keller, Agroscope, CH
  • Blair McKenzie, James Hutton Institute, UK
  • Jan de Pue, Ghent University, B
  • Lars Munkholm, Aarhus University, DK
  • Per Schjønning, Aarhus University, DK
  • Mathieu Lamandé, Aarhus University, DK

Course fee

The course fee is 600 Euro. See below under practical information what is included in the course fee. 

If you are interested in joining this course, please e-mail the course organiser Matthieu Lamandé at Department of Agroecology. 

We will contact you later with information on how to pay the course fee. 


If you have any questions regarding course content, please contact course organiser Mathieu Lamandé.

If you have any questions related practicalities, please contact course secretary Jytte Christensen.

Read more

Course description in details can be found at GSST homepage http://phd.au.dk/gradschools/scienceandtechnology/courses/scientific-courses/


The course will present classical and new approaches for measurement, modelling, and visualization of soil deformation and fragmentation due to mechanical stress application.

Some of the concepts and theory classically used in agricultural soil mechanics and adopted from geomechanics (analytical solutions for stress propagation in soil, soil compressive strength, structural stability) have limitations that will be illustrated with hands-on modelling and measurements in the lab (uniaxial confined compression, uniaxial unconfined compression, rotational shear) and in the field (penetration resistance, rotational shear, vertical and mean normal stress beneath vehicles). Discrete Element Models will be presented as an alternative modelling approach for soil deformation, fragmentation and movement. Mechanical behaviour of agricultural soils at the macroscale in a context of mechanical tillage will be investigated using measurements of soil aggregate tensile strength and stability. Three-dimensional imaging techniques will be presented to visualize how and where the soil structure is affected by tillage and traffic (photoelastic methods, CT scan). Simple experiments illustrating the consequences of soil mechanical stress application on soil physical functioning in terms of aeration, water transport and root penetration will be performed by the students.

Practical information

Housing during the course week:

The course week will consist of very long and intensive days, so if you don’t already live in Viborg or Foulum, we recommend you to book accommodation in Viborg. 

It is your own responsibility to arrange accommodation. We recommend that you book a room close to the city center.


Transport to and from Foulum:

It is your own responsibility to come to Foulum in the morning Monday – Friday. From Viborg you can take regional bus #62 (leaving central bus station 07:38) or bus #750 (leaving central bus station 07:40). 

We arrange common transport back to Viborg in the evening of each course day. Saturday 18 March we also arrange common transport from Viborg to Foulum in the morning and back to Viborg in the afternoon. 


  • We provide you with coffee/the, fruit and cake during each course day.
  • Lunch is on your own. You can bring your own lunch or buy in Foulum canteen. Saturday 18 March we will provide you with lunch
  • Dinner is included Monday - Friday

How to find your way to Viborg


The railway station is located in the center of Viborg. If you plan to come by train, maybe this link can help you www.rejseplanen.dk (English version available). 

If you fly into Copenhagen Airport, you can take the train to Viborg (app. 4.5 hours trip).


The nearest airport is Midtjyllands Airport. Midtjyllands Airport is not an international airport, but there is daily connections to Copenhagen. The airport is serviced by Danish Air Transport and you can see daily connections on their homepage: www.dat.dk

The cheapest way of transport from Midtjyllands Airport to Viborg is the TELETAXA. You need to book a seat in the TELETAXA beforehand. You can call the company at least one day before arrival (phone: +45 87 40 83 00 - press '3'). The price one way is app. 40 DKK and must be paid to the driver (only cash and Danish currency is accepted). You can also e-mail Jytte Christensen (mailto: Jytte.Christensen@agro.au.dk) and ask her to book a seat for you. 

Using AALBORG AIRPORT, AARHUS AIRPORT or BILLUND AIRPORT is also a possibility, but it can be a bit more complicated to come to Viborg by public transport from these airports. 

AARHUS AIRPORT to Viborg: The best option is to take the airport bus to Aarhus C and then take a train to Viborg (travel time from Aarhus to Viborg by train app. 65 minutes). 

AALBORG AIRPORT to Viborg: If you arrive at Aalborg Airport you can take the airport bus to Aalborg Bus Terminal. From Aalborg Bus Terminal you can take either route no 960X or 980X to Viborg.   

COPENHAGEN AIRPORT: If you fly into Copenhagen Airport, you can take the train to Viborg (app. 4.5 hours trip).