Soils are the most common and the most complex type of construction material. Virtually all
structures are either built with soil (e.g., earth dams and embankments), in soil (e.g., tunnels and
underground storage facilities), or on soil (e.g., building foundations and roads). There are no two
soils exactly the same. Soils differ in their texture, particle arrangement, and in their response to
loads and environmental factors. Soils have inherited their complex characteristics from Mother
Nature, the geologic cycle. No code books can describe all the soil properties, nor can they
predict soil response to loads, groundwater, and environmental factors. Soil conditions and load
combinations are unique to each site. Yet, there can be a great degree of variation in soil
conditions at a specific site. To be able to predict soil behavior under the anticipated field loading
conditions, the mechanics of soils should be well understood, and their specific properties
evaluated. The project design should also take into consideration the environmental, social, and
economic factors. Engineering judgement combined with experience can bring the design
components together for a sound solution to the engineering problems that exist at a site.
The unique design of this guide allows the user to look up a topic of interest and be able to find, in
most cases, the basic information all on the same sheet with related figures and tables, eliminating
the need for figure and table referral numbers. In a way, each page is a capsule of information on
its own, yet, related to the subject covered in that chapter. The page layout consists of the chapter
title on the first line.
The second line is the title of the specific topic of interest. The chapter
number is in the upper left corner and the chapter page number is in the upper right corner of each
plate placed on the first line. Example problems follow the topic they cover. Several practical
homework problems are included at the end of each chapter.
This is Volume
out of a three volume comprehensive coverage of topics in geotechnical
engineering. This volume provides the user with a practical guide on the fundamentals of soil
mechanics, which is the basic science of soil composition and properties, soil water, and soil
response to loads. There are seven chapters (chapters 1 through 7) covering the main topics of
soil mechanics in this volume. Appendix A contains the necessary forms, tables, and graphing
papers for basic laboratory experiments in soil mechanics. The forms are prepared to record the
data, carry out computations, and plot and display the test results. See the next three pages for
some examples of applied soil mechanics and foundation engineering.
Volume II of this text consists of chapters 8 through 11 covering the fundamentals of soil