Geotechnical Engineering

The Boston Big Dig
Fig. 1: The Boston Big Dig Project

From Wikipedia, Geotechnical engineering is concerned with the application of civil engineering technology to some aspect of the earth: geo-, meaning “earth”. The Geotechnical Engineer works to provide solutions to civil engineering tasks using materials found on and below a site. The materials are commonly referred to as soil and rock.

Geotechnical engineers' work includes many subdivisions including: Foundations, Retaining Structures, Pavements and Earthworks, and Site Investigations.

Specific Topics:

Geotechnical Engineers typically work with the following subjects:

Famous Geotechnical Engineers include:

  • Charles Augustin de Coulomb - Derived an equation for the calculation of lateral earth pressures on retaining walls.
  • William John Maquorn Rankine - Dealt with soil mechanics and the "earth pressure theory"
  • Karl von Terzaghi - The father of soil mechanics.
  • Alec Westley Skempton - Worked in the areas of fundamentals of effective stress, pore pressures in clays, bearing capacity, and slope stability.

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