So far in this post series, we introduced the most basics of structural related concepts, (most of which of which we will also use in this section too) and now we can move on to geotechnical branch of civil engineering. As we mentioned before, geotechnical branch is mainly separated into two as soil mechanics and foundation engineering. We will talk about foundations later, but first we must discuss soil mechanics.
This is only a summary of soil mechanics here, written at an introductory level that non engineers are also able to follow, but the author still believes that it is a well organized and comprehensive summary, that talks about the most important points, and even many engineers can still find a lot of useful and refresher points here. In fact, this section may only be redundant for a civil engineer who specializes or has a lot of knowledge in geotechnical engineering. Other than geotechnical engineers, reading this section for any civil engineer will be very refreshing to say the least.
We can start to talk about soil mechanics by saying that anything we build, will rest on earth. Earth materials are not man made but variable, and can be very soft and unsuitable for construction, such as marshes, or they can be very strong, such as rocks with little cracks. All earth materials lie somewhere in between these two extremes from strength point of view.
Soils form when rocks disintegrate and decompose either by mechanical or chemical action or both, which is called weathering.
In the following posts, we will start to introduce main subjects of geotechnical engineering one by one
In the next post of this series, we discuss “Phase Relationships”