WHAT IS GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING

Geotechnical Engineering Definition

By Holtz & Kovacs
 
Geotechnical Engineering – Is the application of Civil Engineering technology to soil and rock materials. There are really 3 branches:
1. Soil Mechanics
2. Rock Mechanics
3. Foundation Engineering

Soil Mechanics – Involves the engineering mechanics and properties of soils. It applies the basic principles of mechanics to the soils, including kinematics, dynamics, fluid mechanics, and mechanics of materials.

Rock Mechanics - Involves the engineering mechanics and properties of rocks. It applies the basic principles of mechanics to the rocks, including kinematics, dynamics, fluid mechanics, and mechanics of materials.
Mechanics is the physical science that treats the action of forces on bodies (Spangler & Handy).
In order to build with or on soil (or rock), the properties and behavior of the soil (or rock) must be known.

Foundation Engineering – Foundation engineering applies geology, soil mechanics, rock mechanics and structural engineering to the design and construction of foundations for civil engineering and other structures. Must be able to predict performance or response of foundation soil or rock to load imposed by the structure. Primary considerations of any constructed facility is performance, economy, and safety.

Primary issues that foundation engineer must deal with are
  • Strength
  • Compressibility or Volume Change (expansion potential)
  • Permeability

Geotechnical Engineering Careers

Is Geotechnical Engineering a career for you? (Hayward Baker)

Additional information:

SWE Article - Geotechnical Engineering

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