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Fundamentals of Soil Mechanics - 1

Updated on August 1, 2011

hi studs this article is useful for students who are preparing for competitive exams like GATE civil engineering, IES, PG exams etc and also semester exams. And it covers the topic thoroughly in a nutshell

What is Soil.....?

The word soil is derived from the latin word solium . And we can say that SOIL is the upper layer of earth that may be dug or plowed (or) it is the loose surface material over earth in which plants grow. But however, the top layer is generally made up of a lot of organic matter or filled up material and hence it cannot be opted for construction activities.

The term soil in soil engineering can be defined as an unconsolidated material, composed of solid particles produced by the disintegration of rocks. And the void space between the particles may contain air, water or both. And as we previously said, that soil particles may contain organic matter too.

What is Soil Mechanics...?

The term " Soil Mechanics" was first used by Karl Terzaghi who is well known as the father of soil mechanics in the field of Soil engineering. We can define the soil mechanics as "The application of the laws of mechanics and hydraulics to the engineering problems dealing with sediments and unconsolidated accumulations of soil particles produced by the mechanical and chemical disintegration of rocks, regardless it may or may not contain organic matter. "

And the soil mass consists of accumulated individual soil particles which is not as strong as solid and not as free as liquid. And the soil mass is intermediate in between the 2 varieties due to the soil particles. And hence soil mechanics is also called particulate mechanics.

Scope of this science....

The science which deals with the application of principles of soil mechanics to the practical problems is called "Soil Engineering ". It has wider scope than the soil mechanics.And it deals with site investigations, design and construction of foundations, dams, pavements, earth structures etc. And the word Geotechnical engineering is used in a broader sense.

Scope of soil engineering:

Soil engineering has lot of applications in various civil engineering works. Few of them are mentioned here.

  1. Foundations : Every structure whether it is a small building or gigantic tower or a bridge, dam etc requires a good foundation below earth in order to transfer the structural loads safely to the subsoil safely and efficiently. And there are various types of foundations depending on the purpose. And the soil engineering plays an important role her.
  2. Retaining structures : In order to keep the soil at different levels and also in situations where adequate space is not available to provide a safe slope to the soil, the construction of retaining structures is adopted.
  3. Stability of slopes : At inclined surfaces soil shows a tendency to move downward and causing the instability to the slope provided depending on the amount of slope provided and nature of soil. Soil engineering gives the methods to achieve stable slopes.
  4. Underground structures : The design of underground structures such as tunnels, shafts, conduits are influenced by the forces exerted by the soil. And these forces are studied in soil engineering.
  5. Earth Dams : These are huge structures built up of soil. And these are used as storage reservoirs for water. As leakage causes great losses here study of soil is utmost important.
  6. Other problems.... : In the construction of road pavements , and in preventing the failure of soil structures etc... . In short with design and safety of structures that are connected with soil, Soil engineering plays a key role.

Thus study of soil science is of greater importance and it has much wider scope than common people think. And hence we must take care of studying various aspects regarding the soil while going to make a structure.


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    • srinivas2036 profile image

      srinivas2036 4 years ago from tirupathi

      actually I have kept amazon books only. If you want free downloadable books i will add a link and will update the article.


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      shimeles 4 years ago

      please to manage the autor and allowed it?

    • srinivas2036 profile image

      srinivas2036 4 years ago from tirupathi

      sure definitely will do it thanx for the feedback

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      shimeles 4 years ago

      please add more information abaut this course? thanks.

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      shimeles 4 years ago

      why this book has not freee down lod