1st Edition

Soil Mechanics Through Project-Based Learning

By Ivan Gratchev, Dong-Sheng Jeng, Erwin Oh Copyright 2019
    176 Pages
    by CRC Press

    176 Pages
    by CRC Press

    The currently available soil mechanics textbooks explain theory and show some practical applications through solving abstract geotechnical problems. Unfortunately, they do not engage students in the learning process as students do not "experience" what they study. This book employs a more engaging project-based approach to learning, which partially simulates what practitioners do in real life. It focuses on practical aspects of soil mechanics and makes the subject "come alive" through introducing real world geotechnical problems that the reader will be required to solve. This book appeals to the new generations of students who would like to have a better idea of what to expect in their employment future.

    This book covers all significant topics in soil mechanics and slope stability analysis. Each section is followed by several review questions that will reinforce the reader’s knowledge and make the learning process more engaging. A few typical problems are also discussed at the end of chapters to help the reader develop problem-solving skills. Once the reader has sufficient knowledge of soil properties and mechanics, they will be offered to undertake a project-based assignment to scaffold their learning. The assignment consists of real field and laboratory data including boreholes and test results so that the reader can experience what geotechnical engineering practice is like, identify with it personally, and integrate it into their own knowledge base. In addition, some problems include open-ended questions, which will encourage the reader to exercise their judgement and develop practical skills. To foster the learning process, solutions to all questions are provided to ensure timely feedback.

    1 Introduction
    1.1 Project description
    1.2 Field data
    1.3 Laboratory data

    2 Soil formation and exploration
    2.1 Rock weathering and soil formation
    2.2 Residual and transported soils
    2.3 Soil mineralogy
    2.4 Soil exploration
    2.5 Project analysis: field and laboratory data
    2.6 Review quiz

    3 Soil constituents
    3.1 Three phases in soil
    3.2 Volumetric ratios
    3.3 Mass ratios
    3.4 More about soil constituents
    3.5 Project analysis: soil constituents
    3.6 Problems for practice
    3.7 Review quiz

    4 Soil classification
    4.1 Size of soil fractions
    4.2 Laboratory work: sieve test and analysis
    4.3 Soil gradation
    4.4 Clay fraction, clay minerals and clay properties
    4.5 Soil classification
    4.6 Clay activity and liquidity index
    4.7 Project analysis: soil classification
    4.8 Problems for practice
    4.9 Review quiz

    5 Soil compaction
    5.1 Compaction process
    5.2 Laboratory work: compaction tests and analysis
    5.3 Compaction in the field
    5.4 Project analysis: soil compaction
    5.5 Problems for practice
    5.6 Review quiz

    6 Stresses in soils
    6.1 Stresses in soil mass
    6.2 Effective stress and pore water pressure
    6.3 Excess pore water pressures
    6.4 Project analysis: stresses and upward seepage
    6.5 Problems for practice
    6.6 Review quiz

    7 Principles of water flow in soil
    7.1 Soil permeability
    7.2 Rate of water flow and velocity
    7.3 Laboratory tests to determine the coefficient of permeability
    7.4 Horizontal and vertical water flow in layered soil mass
    7.5 Elevation, pressure and total heads
    7.6 Principles of flow nets
    7.7 Project analysis: flow net
    7.8 Problems for practice
    7.9 Review quiz

    8 Mohr circle and stresses
    8.1 Theoretical considerations
    8.2 Mohr circle of stress
    8.3 Determining stresses acting on plane
    8.4 Pole method
    8.5 Project analysis: Mohr circle and stresses in soil mass
    8.6 Problems for practice

    9 Principles of soil deformation
    9.1 Soil deformation in practice
    9.2 Laboratory tests to study soil strength
    9.3 Stress-strain characteristics of soil
    9.4 Project analysis: deformation of soft clay after load application
    9.5 Problems for practice
    9.6 Review quiz

    10 Consolidation of soft soil
    10.1 Process of consolidation
    10.2 Types of settlements during consolidation
    10.3 Soil consolidation in practice
    10.4 One-dimensional consolidation
    10.5 Project analysis: soil consolidation
    10.6 Terzaghi’s theory of consolidation and its practical application
    10.7 Overconsolidation ratio
    10.8 Problems for practice
    10.9 Review quiz 133

    11 Shear strength of soil
    11.1 Shear strength of soil in practice
    11.2 Shear strength of soil in the laboratory
    11.3 Triaxial compression tests
    11.4 Stress path concept
    11.5 Project analysis: shear strength
    11.6 Problems for practice
    11.7 Slope stability analysis
    11.8 Project analysis: slope stability analysis
    11.9 Review quiz


    Dr Ivan Gratchev is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Engineering & Built Environment, Griffith University, Australia. His research interests are in geotechnical aspects of landslides, soil liquefaction, and rock mechanics. He has published numerous research articles in leading international journals and international conferences. During his academic career, Dr Gratchev has taught several geotechnical courses (including soil mechanics, rock mechanics and geotechnical engineering practice) using a project-based approach. His teaching achievements were recognised by his peers and students through a number of learning and teaching citations and awards.

    Dong-Sheng Jeng is a professor at School of Engineering & Built Environment, Griffith University, Australia. His main research interests include coastal and ocean modelling, offshore geotechnics, porous flow, groundwater hydrodynamics, Artificial neural network and offshore wind energy. Alongside his research, he has authored or co-authored more than 250 journal articles and is an associate editor for a number of journals in the fields.

    Associate Professor Erwin Oh is the Director International for Griffith Sciences at Griffith University. He is also an Associate Professor in Geotechnical Engineering. He completed his Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Engineering degrees in Taiwan, and he was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Griffith University. He teaches Geotechnical Engineering for undergraduate student and Advanced Foundation Engineering for postgraduate student. His research interests include soft soils behaviours, ground improvement techniques, and pavement rehabilitation. He has co-authored over 100 refereed journal and conference articles. Associate Professor Oh has strong research collaboration with international partners and is actively engaged with the industry.

    This book is primarily aimed at soil mechanics students, but its project-based learning approach would be equally beneficial to any practising structural or civil engineer who is only occasionally confronted with soil mechanics problems. […] The authors deliberately present only abstract versions of the corresponding theories or models. Each chapter contains problem solving with clear and detailed resolution, and concludes with a short, useful quiz. […]

    Philippe Bouillard, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, Civil Engineering, Volume 172 Issue CE4 November 2019, p. 154