Fundamentals of Soil Behavior

Fundamentals of Soil Behavior

Civil and environmental engineering includes the conception,
analysis, design, construction, operation, and
maintenance of a diversity of structures, facilities, and
systems. All are built on, in, or with soil or rock. The
properties and behavior of these materials have major
influences on the success, economy, and safety of the
work. Geoengineers play a vital role in these projects
and are also concerned with virtually all aspects of
environmental control, including water resources, water
pollution control, waste disposal and containment,
and the mitigation of such natural disasters as floods,
earthquakes, landslides, and volcanoes.

Students in civil engineering are often quite surprised,
and sometimes quite confused, by their first
course in engineering with soils. After studying statics,
mechanics, and structural analysis and design, wherein
problems are usually quite clear-cut and well defined,
they are suddenly confronted with situations where this
is no longer the case. A first course in soil mechanics
may not, at least for the first half to two-thirds of the
course, be mechanics at all. The reason for this is simple:
Analyses and designs are useless if the boundary
conditions and material properties are improperly defined.
Acquisition of the data needed for analysis and design
on, in, and with soils and rocks can be far more
difficult and uncertain than when dealing with other
engineering materials and aboveground construction.
There are at least three important reasons for this.


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