Queensland Chapter

The Basic Theories of Soil Mechanics

Professor John Atkinson

Soil mechanics is an applied science; it deals with the mechanical behaviour of wet particulate materials and construction on and in them. There are fundamental theories of soil mechanics which come from other basic branches of mechanics. There are also theories which have been developed specifically for particulate materials. Some theories are for material behaviour and some are for structural performance.

The talk will examine the basic soil mechanics theories including those for soil strength and stiffness and those for bearing capacity and slope stability. It will consider which of these are basic mechanics – and so applicable to all materials and structures – and which are specifically for soils; and there are not many of the later.

Engineers Australia members participating in AGS technical sessions can record attendance on their personal CPD logs. Members should refer to Engineers Australia CPD policy for details on CPD types, requirements and auditing guidelines.