1st Edition

Fundamentals of Ground Engineering

By John Atkinson Copyright 2014
    242 Pages 399 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    248 Pages
    by CRC Press

    Fundamentals of Ground Engineering is an unconventional study guide that serves up the key principles, theories, definitions, and analyses of geotechnical engineering in bite-sized pieces. This book contains brief—one or two pages per topic—snippets of information covering the geotechnical engineering component of a typical undergraduate course in civil engineering as well as some topics for advanced courses. Written in note form, it summarizes the basic principles and theories of soil mechanics, the procedures for creating a geotechnical model, and the common analyses for slopes, foundations, and walls.

    • Puts the mechanics into soil mechanics
    • Presents information that is simple to use—structured around diagrams and formulae with few words
    • Explains detailed analyses given in the longer standard texts

    A short, easily read summary of the basic theories and routine analyses of ground engineering, Fundamentals of Ground Engineering incorporates plenty of diagrams and concentrated data without going into detailed explanations. This text is an ideal reference for students, practicing civil engineers—senior and junior—and by engineering geologists.

    What is Geotechnical Engineering?

    Construction in the Ground

    Who are Geotechnical Professionals and What Do They Do?

    Education and Training

    What Goes Wrong?

    Things to Do

    Further Reading

    Part A Discovering the Ground

    Formation of Soils and Rocks

    Basic Soil and Rock Cycle

    Geological Age

    Natural Earth Materials

    Surface Processes

    Local Climate and Rocks in England

    Things to Do

    Further Reading

    Description and Classification of Soils

    Differences between Soils and Rocks

    Basic Description of Soils and Rocks

    Grading of Soil

    Characteristics of Soil Grains

    Water Content Unit Weight Relationships

    Packing of Grains

    Structure in Soils

    Things to Do

    Further Reading

    Ground Investigations

    Ground Models

    Methodology for Ground Investigations


    Components of Ground Investigations

    Reliability of the Geotechnical Model

    Things to Do

    Further Reading

    Part B Essential Physics and Mechanics

    Basic Mechanics

    Mass, Force and Common Units in Ground Engineering

    What Do Structures Have to Do?

    Stress and Strain: Strength and Stiffness

    Analysis of Stress by the Mohr Circle Construction

    Things to Do

    Behaviour of Materials

    Specific Loading Configurations

    Stiffness: Compression and Distortion


    Theories to Define Strength

    Stress–Strain Relationships

    Elastic and Inelastic Behaviour

    Perfectly Plastic Behaviour

    Elasticity, Plasticity and Hardening


    Things to Do

    Further Reading

    Water Pressure and Seepage

    Water and Water Pressure


    Negative Pore Pressure and Suction

    Steady-State Seepage

    Permeability and Speed of Drainage

    Things to Do

    Further Reading

    Part C Soil Mechanics

    Pore Pressure and Effective Stress

    Effective Stress

    Effects of Changes of Stress

    Drained and Undrained Loading and Consolidation

    Rates of Loading

    Things to Do

    Further Reading

    Soil Behaviour Observed in Tests on Samples

    Soil Testing Apparatus

    Loading of Soil Samples

    Characteristics of Soil Behaviour during Compression and Swelling

    Characteristics of Soil Behaviour during Shearing

    Unified Soil Behaviour

    Things to Do

    Further Reading

    Soil Deformation

    Stiffness of Soil for Drained and Undrained Loading

    Compression and Swelling, Yielding and Overconsolidation

    Simple Model for D Compression

    General Model for Isotropic and D Compression

    Horizontal Stress in the Ground

    Non-Linear Stiffness of Soil

    Very Small Strain Stiffness G′

    Relationships between Stiffness Moduli for Isotropic Elastic Soil



    Things to Do

    Further Reading

    Soil Strength

    Soil Has Several Strengths

    Critical State Strength

    Residual Strength

    Undrained Strength and Effective Stress Strength

    Unconfined Compressive Strength

    Peak Strength of Soil

    Stress Dilatancy

    Equations for Peak Strength

    Strength of Soil in Triaxial Compression

    Strength and Stiffness of Typical Soils and Engineering Materials

    Things to Do

    Further Reading

    State and State Parameters

    State: Soils and Rocks

    State Parameters

    State Parameter and a State Boundary

    State Paths

    Creep and Change of State

    Things to Do

    Further Reading

    Cam Clay and Numerical Modelling

    Numerical Models

    Cam Clay

    Behaviour of Cam Clay in Drained Loading

    Behaviour of Cam Clay in Undrained Loading

    Comments on Behaviour of Cam Clay

    Further Reading

    Soil Parameters for Design

    Soil Parameters

    Tests and Results

    Sources of Error in Soil Tests

    Derivation of Geotechnical Parameters

    Characteristic and Design Values

    Estimation of Parameters from Soil Description

    Selection of Soil Parameters for Design

    Further Reading

    Part D Geotechnical Engineering

    Routine Analyses of Geotechnical Structures

    Basic Analyses

    Limit Equilibrium Analyses

    Upper and Lower Bound Plasticity Methods

    Foundations on Elastic Soil

    Steady Seepage

    Consolidation Settlement

    Further Reading

    Stability of Slopes

    Slope Failures

    Stress Changes in Slopes

    Basic Slope Stability Solutions

    Pore Pressures in Slopes

    A Hole in the Beach

    Things to Do

    Further Reading


    Foundation Types

    Stress Changes below a Shallow Foundation

    Loading and Movement of a Foundation

    Bearing Capacity Factors

    Floating Foundations

    Settlement of Shallow Foundations

    Single Piles

    Things to Do

    Further Reading

    Retaining Walls

    Types of Retaining Wall

    Earth Pressures on Retaining Walls

    Rankine Earth Pressures

    Coulomb Wedge Analyses

    Overall Equilibrium of Embedded Walls

    Overall Equilibrium of a Gravity Wall

    Influence of Water on Retaining Walls

    Further Reading

    Unsaturated, Improved and Difficult Soils


    Unsaturated Soil

    Ground Improvement

    Structured Soils

    Further Reading

    Principles of Geotechnical Design

    What is Failure?

    Use of Factors to Prevent Failure

    Changes with Time

    Selection of Design Parameters

    Design of a Shallow Foundation for Undrained Loading

    Design of a Shallow Foundation for Drained Loading

    Standards and Codes

    Keywords, Definitions and Index


    John Atkinson is senior principal at Coffey Geotechnics, and emeritus professor of soil mechanics at City University, London. He is the author of several textbooks, including The Mechanics of Soils and Foundations (2nd ed) also published by Taylor & Francis.

    "… Professor John Atkinson takes readers on a journey of discovery – or rediscovery – of what geotechnical engineering is about. Although this is indeed another book covering common aspects of ground engineering, the approach used by Atkinson contrasts very noticeably from that adopted in the vast majority of other similarly themed works. … Those relatively new to ground engineering will find this book a useful and easily tapped into source of background information on the subject… more seasoned ground engineering practitioners will find this a refreshing book, in appearance simple but going to the heart of the various elements of geotechnical engineering. Colleagues in construction related occupations will also find this a useful tool to gain an initial appreciation of many of the geotechnical engineering aspects of construction projects. In short, Fundamentals of Ground Engineering is an interesting addition to almost any construction professional’s technical library.
    Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers

    "The book covers, in a concise and easily readable form, the basics of geological and ground investigation, physics, and mechanics, and then applies these principles to the fundamentals of soil mechanics. It also discusses how basic soil mechanics are applied to a range of common geotechnical problems. In addition to outlining these problems, the concluding chapter sets out how the topics covered in the book can be applied to practical design. This is a critical chapter which many current texts fail to treat adequately, if at all."
    —Harry Poulos, Coffey Geotechnics/University of Sydney, Australia

    "I like the book so much because it covers the complete range of geotechnical engineering … from underlying principles to the design of all major geotechnical constructions. … This book is a perfect companion for those learning the subject for the first time as B.Sc and M.Sc students, and also a nice tool for practical engineers looking to refresh their knowledge. It contains the classical content as well as addresses current subjects. It offers chapter summaries and also suggests relevant literature for further study."
    —Tom Schanz, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany