September 3, 2017

What is Geotechnical Engineering?

Are you looking to switch careers, or are you just simply taking an interest in a new field of study, whatever your reasoning you came to the right place to learn all about geotechnical engineering? Geotechnical engineering is not only a simple aspect of engineering but it is a very fascinating one, so let’s take a closer look at what geotechnical engineering really is.

As you may have inferred from the name, geotechnical engineering is a branch of civil engineering, it has to do with the behaviour of the earths materials, as determined by the term “geo.” This aspect of engineering is extremely important in civil engineering as well as other industries such as mining and petroleum as well as construction that takes places on the surface of with twitch the ground. A geotechnical engineer uses the principles of soil and rock mechanics to look into subsurface conditions and materials and evaluate the stability of natural slopes and man-made slopes. This information is then used to determine whether the slope is stable enough to be built on or excavated.

A geotechnical engineer would typically begin a project but defining what materials are involved in the project then they would carefully investigate the soil at the site to determine what is involved. These investigations involve the assessment of the risk of the project to humans, property and environment, this could be from earthquakes, landslides, sinkholes and other natural events. After a very deep and thorough investigation of the area and all elements involved the design can begin. The geotechnical engineer will determine what type of foundations and or pavement sub grades are required for the man-made structure that will be built on the area. This is a very crucial step as the foundation is the base of the entire building and must be built to withstand natural elements such as earthquakes or storms. The foundation will depend greatly on the time of building that will be built upon it, for example a high rise will have a different foundation than a bridge or commercial building.

There are also aspects of geotechnical engineering that relate to coastal and ocean engineering. This can be related to the design and construction of wharfs, marinas, and jetties. This can also be used for the construction of off shore foundations such as oil platforms.

Geotechnical engineering is very closely related to engineering geology as well. They have a lot of areas that overlap and often times people from the industries will work together on projects to ensure that the project is successful and safe. While you may have never heard of geotechnical engineering before you will no doubt think about it more often when looking at structure from now on, especially those built on unruly looking slopes or mountainsides.

If you are looking for a new career or just to learn a little bit more about the interesting industry, we hope we have provided you with further information about the industry and how much it effects our day to day lives.

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