In the previous posts we introduced earth materials from a civil engineering point of view and gave an overview of soil mechanics. The entire soil mechanics concepts are studied not for the sake of understanding soils only, but to use them in designing better foundations, slopes and retaining structures. That is when we put the soil mechanics concepts into use in real life. As we have mentioned before, geotechnical engineering mainly consists of soil mechanics and foundation engineering. Now that we have finished introducing soil mechanics, let’s introduce foundations..

Foundations are the components of a structure that transmit the loads from the structures to earth.

In the most general sense, foundations can be classified as shallow and deep foundations.

foundations 1a, 1b

To design the foundations, the loads that come from the structure above must be known, as well as the displacement tolerances, which will then be compared with the strength of the supporting soil. The loads are the weight of the structure, live loads such as vehicular or humans that will be on the structure, snow load, wind load, earthquake load which is also a dynamic and cyclic load. The combination of all these forces play effect on what is demanded of the foundation. But horizontal loads are rarely critical in comparison to vertical loads or resistance to overturning effects.

The acceptable levels of the settlement and movement of the foundation are all specified by applicable codes, but some project may have even stricter requirements.

In the next post of this series, we will discuss ” Shallow Foundations”

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