Fundamentals of Ground Engineering  book cover
1st Edition

Fundamentals of Ground Engineering

ISBN 9781482206173
Published May 13, 2014 by CRC Press
242 Pages 399 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

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

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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