Geotechnical Engineering: Principles and Practices of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Geotechnical Engineering

Principles and Practices of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering, 1st Edition

By V.N.S. Murthy

CRC Press

1,056 pages

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pub: 2002-10-25
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A must have reference for any engineer involved with foundations, piers, and retaining walls, this remarkably comprehensive volume illustrates soil characteristic concepts with examples that detail a wealth of practical considerations, It covers the latest developments in the design of drilled pier foundations and mechanically stabilized earth retaining wall and explores a pioneering approach for predicting the nonlinear behavior of laterally loaded long vertical and batter piles.

As complete and authoritative as any volume on the subject, it discusses soil formation, index properties, and classification; soil permeability, seepage, and the effect of water on stress conditions; stresses due to surface loads; soil compressibility and consolidation; and shear strength characteristics of soils.

While this book is a valuable teaching text for advanced students, it is one that the practicing engineer will continually be taking off the shelf long after school lets out. Just the quick reference it affords to a huge range of tests and the appendices filled with essential data, makes it an essential addition to an civil engineering library.


“Each chapter … represents an important and modern approaching of the principal aspects … in the domain of soil mechanics and foundations. … The author used a large number of applications to illustrate the importance of the theory for the future engineer … an interesting manner to capture the attention [of undergraduate] students. … also useful for the Master and PhD students [and for] practicing engineers … . This book includes theoretical and practical aspects that present interest for the teachers and can be used in teaching process at our Department of Bridges, Railways, Roads, and Foundations.”

—Professor Eng. Vasile MUSAT, Technical University of Iasi in the Isai Polytechnic Magazine, Vol. 17 1 / 4, March/December 2005

Table of Contents


General Remarks

A Brief Historical Development

Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering

Soil Formation and Characterization


Rock Classification

Formation of Soils

General Types of Soils

Soil Particle Size and Shape

Composition of Clay Minerals

Structure of Clay Minerals

Clay Particle–Water Relations

Soil Mass Structure

Soil Phase Relationships, Index Properties and Classification

Soil Phase Relationships

Mass–Volume Relationships

Weight–Volume Relationships

Comments on Soil Phase Relationships

Index Properties of Soils

The Shape and Size of Particles

Sieve Analysis

The Hydrometer Method of Analysis

Grain Size Distribution Curves

Relative Density of Cohesionless Soils

Consistency of Clay Soils

Determination of Atterberg Limits

Discussion on Limits and Indices

Plasticity Chart

General Considerations for Classification of Soils

Field Identification of Soils

Classification of Soils

Textural Soil Classification

AASHTO Soil Classification System

Unified Soil Classification System (USCS)

Comments on the Systems of Soil Classification


Soil Permeability and Seepage

Soil Permeability

Darcy’s Law

Discharge and Seepage Velocities

Methods of Determination of Hydraulic Conductivity of Soils

Constant Head Permeability Test

Falling Head Permeability Test

Direct Determination of k of Soils in Place by Pumping Test

Borehole Permeability Tests

Approximate Values of the Hydraulic Conductivity of Soils

Hydraulic Conductivity on Stratified Layers of Soils

Empirical Correlations for Hydraulic Conductivity

Hydraulic Conductivity of Rocks by Packer Method


Laplace Equation

Flow Net Construction

Determination of Quantity of Seepage

Determination of Seepage Pressure

Determination of Uplift Pressure

Seepage Flow Through Homogeneous Earth Dams

Flow Net Consisting of Conjugate Confocal Parabolas

Piping Failure


Effective Stress and Pore Water Pressure


Stresses When No Flow Takes Place Through the Saturated Soil Mass

Stresses When Flow Takes Place Through the Soil from Top to Bottom

Stresses When Flow Takes Place Through the Soil from Bottom to Top

Effective Pressure Due to Capillary Water Rise in Soil


Stress Distribution in Soils Due to Surface Loads


Boussinesq’s Formula for Point Loads

Westergaard’s Formula for Point Loads

Line Loads

Strip Loads

Stresses Beneath the Corner of a Rectangular Foundation

Stresses Under Uniformly Loaded Circular Footing

Vertical Stress Beneath Loaded Areas of Irregular Shape

Embankment Loadings

Approximate Methods for Computing σz

Pressure Isobars


Compressibility and Consolidation




The Standard One-Dimensional Consolidation Test

Pressure-Void Ratio Curves

Determination of Preconsolidation Pressure

e-log p Field Curves for Normally Consolidated and Overconsolidated Clays of Low to Medium Sensitivity

Computation of Consolidation Settlement

Settlement Due to Secondary Compression

Rate of One-Dimensional Consolidation Theory of Terzaghi

Determination of the Coefficient of Consolidation

Rate of Settlement Due to Consolidation

Two- and Three-Dimensional Consolidation Problems


Shear Strength of Soil


Basic Concept of Shearing Resistance and Shearing Strength

The Coulomb Equation

Methods of Determining Shear Strength Parameters

Shear Test Apparatus

Stress Condition at a Point in a Soil Mass

Stress Conditions in Soil During Triaxial Compression Test

Relationship Between the Principal Stresses and Cohesion c

Mohr Circle of Stress

Mohr Circle of Stress When a Prismatic Element is Subjected to Normal and Shear Stresses

Mohr Circle of Stress for a Cylindrical Specimen Compression Test

Mohr-Coulomb Failure Theory

Mohr Diagram for Triaxial Compression Test at Failure

Mohr Diagram for a Direct Shear Test at Failure

Effective Stresses

Shear Strength Equation in Terms of Effective Principal Stresses

Stress-Controlled and Strain-Controlled Tests

Types of Laboratory Tests

Shearing Strength Tests on Sand

Unconsolidated-Undrained Test

Unconfined Compression Tests

Consolidated-Undrained Test on Saturated Clay

Consolidated-Drained Shear Strength Test

Pore Pressure Parameters Under Undrained Loading

Vane Shear Tests

Other Methods for Determining Undrained Shear Strength of Cohesive Soils

The Relationship Between Undrained Shear Strength and Effective Overburden Pressure

General Comments

 Questions and Problems

Soil Exploration


Boring of Holes

Sampling in Soil

Rock Core Sampling

Standard Penetration Test

SPT Values Related to Relative Density of Cohesionless Soils

SPT Values Related to Consistency of Clay Soil

Static Cone Penetration Test (CPT)


The Flat Dilatometer Test

Field Vane Shear Test (VST)

Field Plate Load Test (PLT)

Geophysical Exploration

Planning of Soil Exploration

Execution of Soil Exploration Program



Stability of Slopes


General Considerations and Assumptions in the Analysis

Factor of Safety

Stability Analysis of Infinite Slopes in Sand

Stability Analysis of Infinite Slopes in Clay

Methods of Stability Analysis of Slopes of Finite Height

Plane Surface of Failure

Circular Surface of Failure

Failure Under Undrained Conditions (φ= 0)

Friction-Circle Method

Taylor’s Stability Number

Tension Cracks

Stability Analysis by Method of Slices for Steady Seepage

Bishop’s Simplified Method of Slices

Bishop and Morgenstern Method for Slope Analysis

Morgenstern Method of Analysis for Rapid Drawdown Condition

Spencer Method of Analysis


Lateral Earth Pressure


Lateral Earth Pressure Theory

Lateral Earth Pressure for at Rest Condition

Rankine’s States of Plastic Equilibrium for Cohesionless Soils

Rankine’s Earth Pressure Against Smooth Vertical Wall with Cohesionless Backfill

Rankine’s Active Earth Pressure with Cohesive Backfill

Rankine’s Passive Earth Pressure with Cohesive Backfill

Coulomb’s Earth Pressure Theory for Sand for Active State

Coulomb’s Earth Pressure Theory for Sand For Passive State

Active Pressure by Culmann’s Method for Cohesionless Soils

Lateral Pressures by Theory of Elasticity for Surcharge Loads on the Surface of Backfill

Curved Surfaces of Failure for Computing Passive Earth Pressure

Coefficients of Passive Earth Pressure Tables and Graphs

Lateral Earth Pressure on Retaining Walls During Earthquakes


Shallow Foundation I: Ultimate Bearing Capacity


The Ultimate Bearing Capacity of Soil

Some of the Terms Defined

Types of Failure in Soil

An Overview of Bearing Capacity Theories

Tarzaghi’s Bearing Capacity Theory

Skempton’s Bearing Capacity Factor Nc

Effect of Water Table on Bearing Capacity

The General Bearing Capacity Equation

Effect of Soil Compressibility on Bearing Capacity of Soil

Bearing Capacity of Foundations Subjected to Eccentric Loads

Ultimate Bearing Capacity of Footings Based on SPT Values (N)

The CPT Method of Determining Ultimate Bearing Capacity

Ultimate Bearing Capacity of Footings Resting on Stratified Deposits of Soil

Bearing Capacity of Foundations on Top of a Slope

Foundations on Rock

Case History of Failure of the Transcona Grain Elevator


Shallow Foundation II: Safe Bearing Pressure and Settlement Calculation


Field Plate Load Tests

Effect of Size of Footings on Settlement

Design Charts from SPT Values for Footings on Sand

Empirical Equations Based on SPT Values for Footings on Cohesionless Soils

Safe Bearing Pressure from Empirical Equations Based on CPT Values for Footings on Cohesionless Soil

Foundation Settlement

Evaluation of Modulus of Elasticity

Methods of Computing Settlements

Elastic Settlement Beneath the Corner of a Uniformly Loaded Flexible Area Based on the Theory of Elasticity

Janbu, Bjerrum and Kjaernli’s Method of Determining Elastic Settlement Under Undrained Conditions

Schmertmann’s Method of Calculating Settlement in Granular Soils by Using CPT Values

Estimation of Consolidation Settlement by Using Oedometer Test Data

Skempton–Bjerrum Mthod of Calculating Consolidation Settlement (1957)


Shallow Foundation III: Combined Footings and Mat Foundations


Safe Bearing Pressures for Mat Foundations in Sand and Clay

Eccentric Loading

The Coefficient of Subgrade Reaction

Proportion of Cantilever Footing

Design of Combined Footings by Rigid Method (Conventional Method)

Design of Mat Foundation by Rigid Method

Design of Combined Footings by Elastic Line Method

Design of Mat Foundations by Elastic Plate Method

Floating Foundations


Deep Foundation I: Pile Foundation


Classification of Piles

Types of Piles According to the Method of Installation

Uses of Piles

Selection of Pile

Installation of Piles

 Part A: Vertical Loading Capacity of a Single Vertical Pile

General Considerations

Methods of Determining Ultimate Load Bearing Capacity of a Single Vertical Pile

General Theory for Ultimate Bearing Capacity

Ultimate Bearing Capacity in Cohesionless Soils

Critical Depth

Tomlinson’s Solution for Qb in Sand

Meyerhof’s Method of Determining Qb for Piles in Sand

Vesic’s Method of Determining Qb

Janbu’s Method of Determining Qb

Coyle and Castello’s Method of Estimating Qb in Sand

The Ultimate Skin Resistance of a Single Pile in Cohesionless Soil

Skin Resistance Qf by Coyle and Castello Method (1981)

Static Bearing Capacity of Piles in Clay Soil

Bearing Capacity of Piles in Granular Soils Based on SPT Value

Bearing Capacity of Piles Based on Static Cone Penetration Tests (CPT)

Bearing Capacity of a Single Pile by Load Test

Pile Bearing Capacity from Dynamic Pile Driving Formulas

Bearing Capacity of Piles Founded on a Rocky Bed

Uplift Resistance of Piles

.   Part B: Pile Group

Number and Spacing of Piles in a Group

Pile Group Efficiency

Vertical Bearing Capacity of Pile Groups Embedded in Sands and Gravels

Settlement of Piles in Pile Groups in Sands and Gravels

Settlement of Pile Groups in Cohesive Soils

Allowable Loads on Groups of Piles

Negative Friction

Uplift Capacity of a Pile Group


Deep Foundation II: Behavior of Laterally Loaded Vertical and Batter Piles


Winkler’s Hypothesis

The Differential Equation

Non-Dimensional Solutions for Vertical Piles Subjected to Lateral Loads

p–y Curves for the Solution of Laterally Loaded Piles

Brom’s Solutions for Laterally Loaded Piles

A Direct Method for Solving the Non-Linear Behavior of Laterally Loaded Flexible Pile Problems

Case Studies for Laterally Loaded Vertical Piles in Sand

Case Studies for Laterally Loaded Vertical Piles in Clay

Behavior of Laterally Loaded Batter Piles in Sand


Deep Foundation III: Drilled Pier Foundations


Types of Drilled Piers

Advantages and Disadvantages of Drilled Pier Foundations

Methods of Construction

Design Considerations

Load Transfer Mechanism

Vertical Bearing Capacity of Drilled Piers

The General Bearing Capacity Equation for the Base Resistance qb (= qmax)

Bearing Capacity Equations for the Base in Cohesive Soil

Bearing Capacity Equation for the Base in Granular Soil

Bearing Capacity Equations for the Base in Cohesive IGM or Rock

The Ultimate Skin Resistance of Cohesive and Intermediate Materials

Ultimate Skin Resistance in Cohesionless Soil and Gravelly Sands

Ultimate Side and Total Resistance in Rock

Estimation of Settlements of Drilled Piers at Working Loads

Uplift Capacity of Drilled Piers

Lateral Bearing Capacity of Drilled Piers

Case Study of a Drilled Pier Subjected to Lateral Loads


Foundation on Collapsible and Expansive Soils

General Considerations

Part A: Collapsible Soils

General Observations

Collapse Potential and Settlement

Computation of Collapse Settlement

Foundation Design

Treatment Methods for Collapsible Soils

 Part B: Expansive Soils

Distribution of Expansive Soils

General Characteristics of Swelling Soils

Clay Mineralogy and Mechanism of Swelling

Definition of Some Parameters

Evaluation of the Swelling Potential of Expansive Soils by Single Index Method

Classification of Swelling Soils by Indirect Measurement

Swelling Pressure by Direct Measurement

Effect of Initial Moisture Content and Initial Dry Density on Swelling Pressure

Estimating the Magnitude of Swelling

Design of Foundations in Swelling Soils

Drilled Pier Foundations

Elimination of Swelling


Concrete and Mechanically Stabilized Earth Retaining Walls

Part A: Concrete Retaining Walls


Conditions Under Whicn Rankine and Coulomb Formulas Are Applicable to Retaining Walls Under the Active State

Proportioning of Retaining Walls

Earth Pressure Charts for Retaining Walls

Stability of Retaining Walls

Part B: Mechanically Stabilized Earth Retaining Walls

General Considerations

Backfill Reinforcing Materials

Construction Details

Design Considerations for a Mechanically Stabilized Earth Wall

Design Method

External Stability

Examples of Measured Lateral Earth Pressures


Sheet Pile Walls and Braced Cuts


Sheet Pile Structures

Free Cantilever Sheet Pile Walls

Depth of Embedment of Cantilever Walls in Sandy Soils

Depth of Embedment of Cantilever Walls in Cohesive Soils

Anchored Bulkhead: Free-Earth Support Method—Depth of Embedment of Anchored Sheet Piles in Granular Soils

Design Charts for Anchored Bulkheads in Sand

Moment Reduction for Anchored Sheet Pile Walls

Anchorage of Bulkheads

Braced Cuts

Lateral Earth Pressure Distribution on Braced-Cuts

Stability of Braced Cuts in Saturated Clay

Bjerrum and Eide Method of Analysis

Piping Failures in Sand Cuts


Soil Improvement


Mechanical Compaction

Laboratory Tests on Compaction

Effect of Compaction on Engineering Behavior

Field Compaction and Control

Compaction for Deeper Layers of Soil


Sand Compaction Piles and Stone Columns

Soil Stabilization by the Use of Admixtures

Soil Stabilization by Injection of Suitable Grouts


Appendix A: SI Units in Geotechnical Engineering

Appendix B: Slope Stability Charts and Tables



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