Soil Mechanics Preface

By the time this book is published later this year, it will be nine years since I wrote the preface to the sixth edition.

During this period dramatic changes to the treatment of soil mechanics have been suggested and adopted. Many changes have been created by the draft European Geotechnical Design Code, Eurocode 7 but the results of modern research into soil behaviour have also created changes, which are still continuing. The book includes for the first time an introduction to practical geotechnical design using limit state theory and an outline of the changes to be introduced by the Eurocode.

Going further back, and comparing the contents of the first edition of this book with the subject matter that it now contains, a reader could not be blamed if he or she felt that the two editions do not deal with the same subject. However, although the theories and treatments described in many sections of the book are now more complicated than thirty years ago, the fundamentals, on which the subject is founded, are still the same and the title Elements of Soil Mechanics is as appropriate today as it was three decades ago.

The main features of the seventh edition are the text alterations in the sections describing limit state design and unsaturated soils. These alterations have been included to reflect the recent changes in practice in these two subject areas. New worked examples have been provided to help guide the reader through the new design approaches set out in the new Geotechnical codes, and an up to date appraisal of the problems of unsaturated soils is given. In addition, minor amendments and improvements have been added where necessary. The book has been reset in larger format and includes a large number of improved illustrations. It is hoped that these features, together with the worked examples and problems, will ensure that the book is a valuable aid to student-centred learning.

As in previous editions I would like to thank the many friends in geotechnics who have sent me helpful criticisms both in the past and more recently. I also wish to thank my son, Ian, who has taken over the book and will look after its future now that I have retired. The changes included in this edition and the general upgrading of the text and figures are almost entirely due to his efforts, although I did check through the final text and must therefore take equal blame for any errors.

G. N. Smith February, 1998

A note from Ian G. N. Smith

I would like to add a postscript to the above preface and record my thanks to Dr John Oliphant, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, for his suggestions and advice related to the sections covering limit state design, and also to Dr John McDougall, Napier University, Edinburgh, for his valuable suggestions on the chapter dealing with unsaturated soils.

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