3R26. Soil Mechanics: Basic Concepts and Engineering Applications. - A Aysen (Univ of Southern Queensland, Australia). Balkema Publ, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 2002. 459 pp. ISBN 90-5809-358-1. $139.00.

Reviewed by ME Popescu (Dept of Civil and Architec Eng, Illinois Inst of Tech, 3201 S Dearborn St, Chicago IL 60616).

Despite the long history of the use of soils as a construction material, the development of the engineering science of soil mechanics occurred only relatively recently. In the early 1920s Karl Terzaghi, now widely recognized as the father of soil mechanics, started working with a rational approach to the behavior of soils using continuum mechanics. Experimental evidence proved that this approach was a significant and powerful procedure in phenomenological terms. The fundamentals of such an approach and recent developments in the rapidly growing science of soil mechanics are presented in this book.

Designed primarily to serve the needs of the undergraduate civil engineering students, this book provides a clear explanation, in adequate depth, of fundamental principles of soil mechanics. The understanding of these principles is considered to be an essential foundation upon which future practical experience in soil engineering can be built.

The three areas contributing to a successful teaching of geotechnical engineering are covered, namely, applied mechanics, tests and experiments, and observation The student should have a good understanding of basic mechanics.

The book covers the soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering topics typically included in university courses in civil engineering and related subjects. The first chapter is on Nature of soils, plasticity, and compaction and is a general introduction in the first course in soil mechanics offered at the undergraduate level. The remaining nine chapters are presented in a logical and integrated manner. They deal with Effective stress and pore pressure in saturated soils, Movement of water through soil, Shear strength of soils and failure criteria, Stress distribution and settlement in soils, One-Dimensional consolidation, Application of limit analysis to stability problems in soil mechanics, Lateral earth pressure and retaining walls, Stability of earth slopes, and Bearing capacity of shallow foundations and piles.

The book provides the reader with a good understanding of the nature of soil, an appreciation of soil behavior, and insight into how the principles are applied in the practical engineering context. It builds a robust and adaptable framework of ideas to support and accommodate the more complex problems and analytical procedures that confront the practicing geotechnical engineer.

The book includes a comprehensive range of worked examples and problems set for solution by the student to consolidate understanding of the fundamental principles and illustrate their application in simple practical situations. A list of references is included at the end of each chapter as an aid to the more advanced study of any particular topic.

The text has been extensively illustrated for better understanding. There are many detailed and informative line illustrations included in all chapters, together with useful tabular data.

The book is written at a simple rather than sophisticated level. The emphasis throughout is on the practical knowledge of soil behavior required by the geotechnical engineer for the design and construction of foundations and embankments. The treatment of the chapters is modern and up-to-date. The use of SI units throughout, and frequent references to current international codes of practice and research papers, make the contents universally applicable.

Even though primarily aimed to undergraduate students, the book could also be of interest to graduate students in that it covers the more advanced aspects of soil behavior. Furthermore, practicing engineers who are in search of a rational introduction to the mechanical behavior of soils will find this work a valuable aid.

Soil Mechanics: Basic Concepts and Engineering Applications is recommended as a reference for university libraries serving civil engineering, mining engineering, and geological engineering programs, as well as for engineering consulting firms.