GeoEngineering and the Evolution

Geo-technical engineering is one of the sub-disciplines of civil engineering. It is closely related to technical geology, hence the discipline that combines the two is referred to as geotechnics. It is also known as ground engineering or soil engineering.

Sir Karl Terzaghi is the father of modern soil mechanics. He established clear procedures for determining properties and the strength properties of soils.

The subject applies the principles of soil mechanics, rock mechanics, the design of foundations, the retention of structures and earth structures.

Egyptian temples, Roman structures, etc. Were built centuries ago. But their design of the foundation was not based on any currently known technical principles!

This branch of civil engineering is concerned with soil, rock, groundwater and their relationship with the design, construction and operation of technical projects. The Dutch nuclear penetration test is used, for example, to determine the materials in soil profiles and to estimate their technical properties. Similarly, the increase in the net load of the soil can be calculated using a formula, net final load capacity / safety factor.

The tools used for technical analysis of field exploration are known as soil mechanics and rock mechanics. They can be analytical, numerical, experimental, etc. The analysis results are then used to develop geotechnical input for design purposes. Geotechnical engineers must monitor construction work in all phases.

The old constructions were based on common sense, experience, rules of thumb and collective wisdom of builders, etc. Some builders seem to have used rough tests to assess soil conditions. Their success is evident from the fact that many dams have served more than two thousand years!

Some failures during the Middle Ages have yielded new rules of thumb. The builders also slowly began applying scientific methods.

Researchers have conducted studies into the technical behavior of soils in the 17th and 18th centuries. Even at the end of the 19th century, progress in this area lagged behind!

Geo-technical engineering was born in 1925 with the publication of a book written by Karl Terzaghi. He focused his research on the development of rational design methods.

Thanks to the efforts of researchers, significant progress has been made in the field of geotechnics in the last century. But most analysis of soil and rock behavior is still disabled. The mathematical models of soil and rock behavior are only approximate, for example because they do not take into account most other relevant factors. Another disadvantage is the overestimation of the accuracy of geotechnical analysis.

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