Pile Capacity

Vertical downwards loads (Compression): Pile carrying capacity for vertical downward loads, comes from two things: The frictional resistance over their side face area and Their bottom tip resistance (end bearing resistance) foundations 2 So, piles generate friction force on their side face, plus develop strength at the tip. Tip resistance is also called “end bearing” […]

Deep Foundations (Pile Foundations)

Deep foundations, also called as pile foundations, are used when there is not sufficiently strong soil at a reasonable depth, and using shallow foundations would cause failure or excessive settlement of the structure, even if that same soil can be a sufficiently strong foundation material for a lighter project. For example, for a bridge, where […]

Shallow foundations

Design: Shallow foundations are used where the soil has enough bearing capacity and shear strength (in other words strong enough) at a reasonably close depth. The Federal Highway Administration defines shallow foundations as, “a foundation that bears at a depth less than about two times the foundation width”. Under soil mechanics, we have said that […]


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 […]

Rock Mechanics

Just like all the subjects we covered for soil mechanics deal with soil properties, rock mechanics deal with the properties of rocks, in order to utilize them as foundations for our structures, and the same principles apply for determination of those properties, with some minor modifications as required. As in soils, the strength of rock […]

Groundwater Flow nets

Seepage within a soil medium can be shown by flow nets: Groundwater 2a In the figure above we show an seepage flow condition below a dam. The total head anywhere in the water body at the left of the dam is 14m and in the water body at the right side of the dam is […]

Water Head, Hydraulic Gradient, Permeability

Water Head: Since we are explaining subtitle of a subtitle right now, this may seem like a detailed subject in soil mechanics at first… But actually the water head is a very important concept for water resources engineering, one of the five main branches of civil engineering, which we mentioned before briefly and will introduce […]

Geotechnical Reports

Geotechnical reports show the site soil, rock and groundwater conditions to be used for designing foundations of all types of structures. They are prepared for each project, based on data obtained from subsurface investigation and soil testing and measurement, as discussed in the preceeding two subsections above plus other sources. It is very important to […]

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