Application of Soil Mechanics

Applications of Soil Mechanics
There are vast applications of soil mechanics in the field of civil engineering. The civil engineer has many diverse and important encounters with soil. Apart from the testing and classification of various types of soils to determine their physical properties, the knowledge of soil mechanics is particularly helpful in the following problems in civil engineering.

  1. Foundation design and construction:Foundation is an important element of all civil engineering structures which are either founded in or on the surface of the Earth. Therefore, it is necessary to know the properties and characteristics of the soil on which the foundation is to be constructed to decide the type of the foundation and design.

  2. Pavement design: A payment can either be flexible or rigid, and its performance depends upon the subsoil on which it rests. The thickness of the payment and its component parts depends upon certain soil characteristics, which should be determined before the design is made. Also, the knowledge of the techniques for improving the soil properties such as strength and stability is very helpful in constructing payments on poor soils by stabilising them.  

  3. Design of underground structures and earth retaining structures: The examples of underground structures include tunnels, underground buildings, drainage structures and pipelines. Examples of earth retaining structures are gravity retaining walls, anchored bulkheads and cofferdams. Knowledge of soil-structure interaction is essential to design properly such structures subjected to soil loadings.

  4. Design of embankments and excavations: When the surface of the soil structure is not horizontal, the component of gravity tends to move the soil downward and may disturb the stability of the earth's structure. Therefore, a thorough knowledge of shear strength and related properties of soil is essential to design the slope and height or depth of the Embankment or excavation.  

  5. Design of earthen dams: The construction of an Earth dam requires a very thorough knowledge of the whole soil mechanics. Since soil is used as the only construction material in an Earth dam which may either be homogeneous or of a composite section, its design involves the determination of the physical properties of the soil under various drainage conditions.