A Geotechnical investigation is undertaken to determine the soil profile and groundwater status within the footprint of any proposed infrastructure. Based on the findings recommendations are suggested for foundation design of the structure and underground utilities.
Significance of Geotechnical Engineering
Geotechnical engineering is important in civil engineering, but also has applications in mining, petroleum, and another engineering field. That is concerned with construction occurring on the surface or within the ground. Geotechnical engineering uses principles of soil mechanics to investigate subsurface conditions and materials; determine the relevant physical/mechanical and chemical properties of these materials; evaluate the stability of natural slopes and man-made soil deposits; assess risks posed by site conditions; design earthworks and foundations and monitor site conditions.
What is Geotechnical Engineering?
A typical Geotechnical engineering project begins with a review of the project needs to define the required material properties. Then follows a site investigation of soil, rock, properties on and below an area of interest to determine their engineering properties including how they will interact with, on or in a proposed construction. Site investigations are needed to gain an understanding of the area in or on which the engineering will take place.
A geotechnical engineer then determines and designs the type of foundations, earthworks, and pavement subgrades required for the intended man-made structures to be built. Foundations are designed and constructed for structures of various sizes such as high-rise buildings, bridges, medium to large commercial buildings, and smaller structures where the soil conditions do not allow code-based design.
Foundations built for above-ground structures include shallow and deep foundations. Retaining structures include earth-filled dams and retaining walls. Earthworks include embankments, tunnels, dikes and levees, channels, reservoirs, deposition of hazardous waste, and sanitary landfills.