Geotechnical Engineering

Prentice Hall
Donald P. Coduto / Man-chu Ronald Yeung / William A. Kitch  
Total pages
April 2010
Related Titles


Forjunior-level soil mechanics or introductory geotechnical engineering courses.


This introductory geotechnical engineering textbook explores both the principles of soil mechanics and their application to engineering practice. It offers a rigorous, yet accessible and easy-to-read approach, as well as technical depth and an emphasis on understanding the physical basis for soil behavior.


The second edition has been revised to include updated content and many new problems and exercises, as well as to reflect feedback from reviewers and the authors' own experiences.


Clear and detailed explanations of soil mechanics principles.

See Chapter 9 (Stress) and Chapter 12 (Strength)


Applications of soil mechanics principles to practical geotechnical engineering problems engages students and helps them grasp key concepts more easily.

See Chapter 13 (Slopes), Chapters 14 and 15 (Foundations), and Chapters 16 and 17 (Earth Retaining Structures)


A strong presentation of basic principles and the underlying assumptions.


Applies principles to practical problems emphasizing the role of geotechnical engineering in real design projects.


Makes frequent references to sources of uncertainties in geotechnical analyses to help students understand that geotechnical engineering is not a precise science.


Offers a full chapter on engineering geology which is especially useful for those students with no previous exposure to geology.


Considers earth slopes, landslides, and related issues.


Makes extensive use of photographs.


Contains approximately 90 example problems.


Features approximately 400 questions and practice problems, including numerical problem-solving, definitions, short essay questions, and comprehensive problems, all at the end of a chapter.


Coordinated with a companion book, Foundation Design: Principles and Practices, 2/e.

New to this Edition

This edition benefits from the addition of two new co-authors joining Donald P. Coduto: Man-chu Ronald Yeung and William A. Kitch. The authors are colleagues at Cal Poly Pomona. Each brings unique experiences and skills to the manuscript, and we believe the final product has benefited from this collaboration.

The coverage of “principles” is strengthened to facilitate a better understanding of fundamental geotechnical engineering concepts and to provide a firmer foundation for more advanced studies. These discussions include extensive narratives intended to impart an understanding of the underlying physical processes, not just an ability to do computations. The book also retains a “practices” component, which introduces students to the practical application of these principles to real engineering problems.

Although this book is not intended to be a comprehensive treatise on geotechnical engineering practice, the authors have found that a mix of theory and application facilitates the most effective learning.

Every chapter has some updates, some of which are quite extensive. The most noteworthy improvements include the following:

  • The chapter on soil strength has been updated to provide more in-depth coverage of the underlying physical behavior.
  • The chapter on slope stability has been enhanced.
  • The coverage of structural foundations has been expanded to two chapters.
  • A new appendix, Finite Difference Solutions to Flow Problems, has been added.
  • Stand-alone chapters on geoenvironmental engineering, dams and levees, soil improvement, and geotechnical earthquake engineering have been eliminated.
  • Key points from these chapters have been condensed and moved to other locations.
  • Many of the homework problems have been updated and new homework problems have been added.

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Chapter 1 Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering 1
1.1 Geotechnical Engineering Design Process 2
1.2 Historical Development 4
1.3 Modern Geotechnical Engineering 14
1.4 Accuracy of Geotechnical Engineering Analyses 16
1.5 A Pictorial Overview of Geotechnical Engineering 16

Chapter 2 Engineering Geology 28
2.1 The Geologic Cycle 29
2.2 Rocks 30
2.3 Rock-Forming Minerals 35
2.4 Structural Geology 37
2.5 Weathering 43
2.6 Soil Formation,Transport, and Deposition 45
2.7 Rock and Soil as Geomaterials 56
Summary 59
Questions and Practice Problems 61

Chapter 3 Site Exploration and Characterization 64
3.1 Project Assessment 65
3.2 Literature Search 66
3.3 Remote Sensing 67
3.4 Field Reconnaissance and Surface Exploration 69
3.5 Subsurface Exploration 69
3.6 Soil and Rock Sampling 82
3.7 Groundwater Exploration and Monitoring 87
3.8 Ex Situ Testing 88
3.9 In Situ Testing 89
3.10 Geophysical Exploration 106
3.11 Synthesis and Interpretation 108
3.12 Economics 112
3.13 Geotechnical Monitoring During Construction 113
Summary 113
Questions and Practice Problems 115

Chapter 4 Soil Composition 121
4.1 Soil as a Particulate Material 122
4.2 The Three Phases 122
4.3 Weight-Volume Relationships 124
4.4 Particle Size and Shape 138
4.5 Clay Soils 148
4.6 Plasticity and the Atterberg Limits 151
4.7 Structured Versus Unstructured Soils 155
4.8 Organic Soils 156
Summary 157
Questions and Practice Problems 158

Chapter 5 Soil Classification 164
5.1 USDA Soil Classification System 164
5.2 AASHTO Soil Classification System 167
5.3 Unified Soil Classification System (USCS) 171
5.4 Visual-Manual Soil Classification 180
5.5 Supplemental Soil Classifications 182
5.6 Applicability and Limitations 185
Summary 186
Questions and Practice Problems 187

Chapter 6 Excavation, Grading, and Compacted Fill 190
6.1 Earthwork Construction Objectives 192
6.2 Construction Methods and Equipment 193
6.3 Soil Compaction Concepts 213
6.4 Soil Compaction Standards and Specifications 215
6.5 Field Considerations and Monitoring 227
6.6 Suitability of Soils for use as Compacted Fill 235
6.7 Earthwork Quantity Computations 237
6.8 Lightweight Fills 241
6.9 Deep Fills 243
Summary 244
Questions and Practice Problems 245

Chapter 7 Groundwater-Fundamentals and One-Dimensional Flow 251
7.1 Hydrology 252
7.2 Principles of Fluid Mechanics 255
7.3 One-Dimensional Flow Through Soil 268
7.4 Flow Through Anisotropic Soils 284
Summary 287
Questions and Practice Problems 288

Chapter 8 Groundwater-Multidimensional Flow and Applications 295
8.1 Multidimensional Flow 295
8.2 Flow Net Solution for Two-Dimensional Flow 298
8.3 Numerical and Physical Modeling of Two-Dimensional Flow 316
8.4 Two- and Three-Dimensional Flow to Wells 320
8.5 Groundwater Control 329
8.6 Contaminant Control and Remediation 337
8.7 Soil Migration and Filtration 341
Summary 350
Questions and Practice Problems 352

Chapter 9 Stress 361
9.1 Simplifying Assumptions 362
9.2 Mechanics of Materials Review 363
9.3 Mohr Circle Analyses 368
9.4 Sources of Stress in the Ground 378
9.5 Geostatic Stresses 378
9.6 Induced Stresses 381
9.7 Superposition 392
9.8 Effective Stresses 395
9.9 Effective Stress Under Steady State Flow 405
9.10 Stresses in Layered Strata 408
Summary 409
Questions and Practice Problems 410

Chapter 10 Compressibility and Settlement 419
10.1 Physical Processes 422
10.2 Changes in Vertical Effective Stress 423
10.3 Distortion Settlement 426
10.4 Consolidation Settlement-Physical Processes 427
10.5 Consolidation (Oedometer) Test 432
10.6 Consolidation Status in the Field 444
10.7 Compressibility of Sands and Gravels 446
10.8 Consolidation Settlement Predictions 448
10.9 Secondary Compression Settlement 461
10.10 Crusts 463
10.11 Settlement of Unsaturated Soils 463
10.12 Heave Due to Unloading 464
10.13 Accuracy of Settlement Predictions 464
Summary 465
Questions and Practice Problems 467

Chapter 11 Rate of Consolidation 478
11.1 Terzaghi's Theory of Consolidation 478
11.2 Consolidation Settlement Versus Time Computations 489
11.3 The Coefficient of Consolidation, 499
11.4 Accuracy of Settlement Rate Predictions 504
11.5 Consolidation Monitoring 506
11.6 Other Sources of Time Dependent Settlement 512
11.7 Methods of Accelerating Settlements 514
Summary 518
Questions and Practice Problems 520

Chapter 12 Soil Strength 527
12.1 Strength Analyses in Geotechnical Engineering 527
12.2 Shear Failure in Soils 529
12.3 The Drained and the Undrained Conditions 536
12.4 Mohr-Coulomb Failure Criterion 539
12.5 Shear Strength of Saturated Sands and Gravels 545
12.6 Shear Strength of Saturated Clays 550
12.7 Shear Strength of Saturated Intermediate Soils 563
12.8 Shear Strength of Unsaturated Soils 564
12.9 Shear Strength Evaluation 564
12.10 Shear Strength at Interfaces Between Soil and Other Materials 583
12.11 Uncertainties in Shear Strength Assessments 584
Summary 585
Questions and Practice Problems 587

Chapter 13 Stability of Earth Slopes 593
13.1 Terminology 595
13.2 Modes of Slope Instability 597
13.3 Analysis of Slope Stability 604
13.4 Quantitative Analysis of Slides 605
13.5 General Procedures in a Limit Equilibrium Analysis of a Slide 606
13.6 Planar Failure Analysis 608
13.7 Infinite Slope Analysis 611
13.8 Swedish Slip Circle Method ( Analysis) 613
13.9 Method of Slices 618
13.10 Chart Solutions 627
13.11 Miscellaneous Issues 629
13.12 Seismic Stability 631
13.13 Stabilization Measures 636
13.14 Instrumentation 643
Summary 648
Questions and Practice Problems 649

Chapter 14 Foundations 655
14.1 Shallow Foundations 656
14.2 Deep Foundations 658
Summary 671

Chapter 15 Spread Footing Design 673
15.1 Bearing Pressure 673
15.2 Bearing Capacity 675
15.3 Settlement 685
15.4 Spread Footings-Summary and Design Concerns 698
Summary 703
Questions and Practice Problems 704

Chapter 16 Earth Retaining Structures 709
16.1 Externally Stabilized Systems 709
16.2 Internally Stabilized Systems 714
16.3 Design of Earth Retaining Structures 717
Summary 719

Chapter 17 Lateral Earth Pressures 720
17.1 Lateral Earth Pressures and Wall Movement 720
17.2 Classical Lateral Earth Pressure Theories 726
17.3 Equivalent Fluid Pressure 742
17.4 Groundwater Effects 744
Summary 747
Questions and Practice Problems 748

Appendix A Recommended Resources for Further Study 751
Chapter 1-Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering 751
Chapter 2-Engineering Geology 752
Chapter 3-Site Exploration and Characterization 752
Chapter 4-Soil Composition 753
Chapter 5-Soil Classification 753
Chapter 6-Excavation, Grading, and Compacted Fill 753
Chapters 7 and 8-Groundwater-Fundamentals and One-Dimensional
Flow and Multidimensional Flow and Applications 753
Chapter 9-Stress 754
Chapters 10 and 11-Compressibility, Settlement, and Rate of Consolidation 754
Chapter 12-Soil Strength 755
Chapter 13-Stability of Earth Slopes 755
Chapters 14 and 15-Foundations and Spread Footing Design 756
Chapters 16 and 17-Earth Retaining Structures and Lateral Earth
Pressures 757

Appendix B Unit Conversion Factors 758
English Units 758
SI and Metric Units 758
Conversion Factors 759

Appendix C Field Identification of Soils 761
C.1 Equipment 761
C.2 Procedure 761
C.2.1 Color and Smell 761
C.2.2 Fine Versus Coarse Grain Determination 762
C.2.3 Coarse Grained Soil Classification 762
C.2.4 Fine Grained Soil Classification: Distinguishing Silts from Clays 763
C.2.5 Completing Classification 765

Appendix D Finite Difference Solutions to Flow Problems 766
D.1 Finite Difference Formulation 766
D.2 Application to Two-Dimensional Flow 769
D.3 Solving Finite Difference Problems 772
D.4 Applications Using Spreadsheets 773


Donald P. Coduto is currently a professor of geotechnical engineering and chair of the Civil Engineering Department at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, an M.S. in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MBA from the Claremont Graduate University. He is an ASCE Fellow, a licensed Civil Engineer and a licensed Geotechnical Engineer, and has worked on a variety of geotechnical projects for both private and public sector clients.


Dr. Man-chu Ronald Yeung is currently a professor of civil engineering at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He received a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1986, an M.S. in Geotechnical Engineering in 1987, and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering in 1991, all from the University of California, Berkeley. Before joining Cal Poly Pomona in 2005, Dr. Yeung had worked for several consulting firms and taught at several universities including Montana Tech, San Jose State University, and The University of Hong Kong. He is currently a member of the Editorial Board of the ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, a member of the ASCE Rock Mechanics Committee, and the Treasurer of the Geotechnical Engineering Technical Group of the ASCE Los Angeles Section. He has been a registered Civil Engineer in California since 1994.


Dr. William A. Kitch is currently an associate professor of civil engineering at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He received his B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1982 and his M.S. in Civil Engineering in 1983, both from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He earned his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering in 1991 from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a retired Lt Col in the US Air Force and had over 23 years of practicing engineering experience in both the private and public sectors. He is a registered Civil Engineer in California and Colorado.

Reader Review(s)

“I like the balance between the analytical and empirical aspects of foundation engineering.  The coverage of both geotechnical and structural engineering aspects of foundation is also appealing.” 



“The material is very current.  The author stays on top of the profession and uses state-of-the-art information, techniques, and methods.”



“The coverage of the book is excellent, and it is well-grounded in the fundamentals of soil mechanics.”



“The book presents the practice side of foundation engineering in addition to the principles of design.  Most textbooks present only the principles.”



“Interesting and very useful features of this book are:  1.) the List of Vocabulary, 2.0 the Summary of Major Points at the end of each chapter, and 3.) the use of both English and SI units-this is particularly important for empirical equations with built-in units.”

-Marte S. Gutierrez, VIRGINIA TECH

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