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Lecture 1 Notes - Introduction

A. Engineering Geology, Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering

Engineering Geology -- provides information to engineering through description of the structure and attributes of rocks connected with engineering work. It also identifies and evaluates natural hazards like landslides and earthquakes that may affect the success of an engineering project. The engineering geologist is charged with the responsibility of interpreting the geologic data and providing a conceptual model representing the morphology and engineering-geologic classification of each rock unit. These data may also be evaluated with respect to the engineering requirements, but engineers hold the final responsibility for the design and generally make the engineering appraisals on their own. Evaluating the strength and deformability of rocks and the resultant implications for a project is in the province of Geotechnical engineer, calling on the specialties of soil and rock mechanics. Soil Mechanics -- study of the engineering mechanics and physical properties of soil. It utilizes the basic principles of solid mechanics, fluid mechanics and dynamic theories to describe the engineering behaviors of soil under various loading conditions. Geotechnical Engineering -- In general, it concerns the application of civil engineering technology to the aspects of earth, which may include both soil and rock. A Geotechnical engineer is one who combines the knowledge of geology, soil mechanics, rock mechanics and structural engineering to design and construct foundations or similarly related structures for civil engineering and other construction. Geotechnical engineering is probably the most empirical discipline among other the disciplines of civil engineering. This is basically due to the unpredictable nature of the material it deals with. Soil and rock, unlike steel or concrete, both are anisotropic and heterogeneous materials with nonlinear mechanical behaviors. Therefore, the description of the engineering behaviors under various loadings has to be based on empirical correlations which greatly relied on experimental results and previous experience. B. Historical Development of Geotechnical Engineering:

Soil and rock have long been used as foundation or construction materials. However, before the twenty century, most design works were purely done on the basis of rule of thumb. At the beginning of the twenty century, European's engineers started to make a theoretical approach of study soil behavior. Dr. Karl Terzaghi established the foundation of soil mechanics theory and thus has been recognized as the father of soil mechanics. The other contributors are Casagrande, Taylor, Peck, Tschebotarioff, Skempton and Bjerrum.


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