What is Geotechnical Engineering?

What is Geotechnical Engineering?

geotechnical engineering is the story of the engineering relationship between humans and earth it is the science that explains the mechanics of soils and rocks and its engineering applications to the development of humankind in early times the practice of geotechnical engineering was applied by trial and error observational experience and empirical experimentation problems such as the notorious Leaning Tower of Pisa prompted engineers to begin taking a more scientifically based approach to geotechnical engineering from the early 1700s to the early 1900s scientists such as Coulomb Darcy Renkin Busson esque Moore and atterberg published fundamental theories on soil mechanics and water flow through soil several prominent organizations and societies were formed in the early 1900’s to advance this field of civil engineering particulate recognition is given to karl terzaghi who is considered to be the father of modern geotechnics with his classic book on soil mechanics published in 1925 in 1936 along with fellow colleagues from 20 different countries tataki founded the International Society for saw mechanics and geotechnical engineering he became its first president today the International Society has more than 89 country members involving over 19,000 individuals in the geotechnical engineering profession most of what geotechnical engineers do is hidden below the ground surface yet it is a very important discipline with a vast scope as all construction has to rest on or in the ground soil is a complex material which is very variable in grain size cementation strength and behavior this renders the task of the geotechnical engineer among the most challenging tasks in civil engineering geotechnical engineers use fundamental principles of soil and rock mechanics to investigate subsurface conditions this allows them to evaluate and design activities such as the stability of natural slopes and man-made soil deposits earthworks with cuts and fills shallow and deep foundations dams retaining walls tunnels and many other works directly interacting with the subsoil and water in order to meet the diversity of challenges the profession faces the International Society has created 30 technical committees over the nice 50 years each representing a particular aspect of geotechnical engineering foundation engineering is one important area of geotechnical engineering the foundation of any structure should be designed to withstand man-made and natural loads vertical and lateral pressures created by earthquakes and high winds as well as the weight of the structure itself buildings skyscrapers bridges and other super structures have to bear on shallow footings mats or pile foundations shoring systems include bracing of deep excavations nailing of landslides and the support of tunnels to name a few na geotechnical engineering project is different indeed the soil at a site is likely different from any other site as a result the most common first step of any geotechnical project is the site investigation it starts by drilling into the soil and rock layers testing them in the field or collecting samples which can then be analyzed in a laboratory once soil and rock properties are determined the geotechnical engineer can design the project including its environmental impact investigations can include the assessment of the risk to humans property and the environment from natural hazards such as earthquakes landslides sinkholes soil liquefaction debris flows and Rock Falls geotechnical engineering can significantly influence the sustainability of infrastructure development because of its early position in the construction process given the intensive research carried out in the field impressive geotechnical advancements are made on a regular basis most of these innovations are often hidden from the public eye because the work is underground these innovations are however a crucial part of a success story they can be temporary in nature such as deep excavation and support to construct a high-rise tower like the Borg halifa or permanently embedded such as the complex foundation system of the Rianna and Tyrion bridge the built environment where we live serves as a dynamic interface through which humans and the ecosystem interact and influence each other understanding this interdependence is key to fathoming the impact of geotechnical engineering on society throughout history geotechnical engineering has made changes in the way we live or even think projects like building the Aswan Dam laying the foundation of the Golden Gate Bridge digging the Panama Canal stabilizing the cliffs at Point New York or giving new life to the Tower of Pisa have affected past and present generations such projects large and small will continue to impact and shape our future it has been a cycle of sharing knowledge and gaining knowledge of accomplishments and lessons learned the International Society for soul mechanics and geotechnical engineering is proud to be at the center of this field emblematic of human achievements you

23 thoughts on “What is Geotechnical Engineering?

  1. Excellent job by PR committee of ISSMGE! I will definitely use this video clip in my class. It will be very handy for explaining other people what geotech is all about.

  2. Do all high rise buildings and bridges have to be built on bedrock? Make a long documentary on engineering geology.
    Frank's Beautiful Rocks and Minerals

  3. I am a Geophysicist, but I want to focus on Geotechnical Engineering, do you guys recommend it? WIll you foresee jobs?

  4. Complete Course on soil mechanics

  5. I am member of Bangladesh Society of Geo-technical Engineering. How can I get a membership of " The International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE)" ?

  6. Get the best Geotechnical Engineering Services in Calgary. We offer Ecology and Biophysical Impact Assessments. Get in touch now: https://andenviro.ca/ or Call: 403 808 1826.

  7. Hello!

    We have developed an android based application to help geotechnical professionals and students regarding day-to-day geotechnical problems.

    this application can perform

    – Soil Classification

    – Bearing Capacity from Terzaghi Equation

    – Specific Weight Calculations

    – CBR based soil classification

    – Swell potential Calculations

    – Bearing Capacity from SPT

    Its solely developed for educational purpose ,100 % free with no ads.

    We will really appreciate your feedback about this app and it will help us improve and expand its applicability.


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