In 1925 soil mechanics was established by Dr. K. Terzaghi. This term was coined when he published a book Erdbaumechanik in German which was on the subject we are discussing. He defined soil mechanics as (we are simplifying this here):
Soil mechanics deals with sediments and other accumulation of solids in unconsolidated form produced by chemical and mechanical degradation of rocks. There may have organic constituents. The engineering problems with such materials is analyzed or solved by applying laws of the mechanics and hydraulics.
So Soil mechanics is thus a branch of
-Mechanics which encounters soil response under forces
-Hydraulics that encounters water flow through soil mass
Soils consist of solids but of discrete particles which don’t have strong bond like solid but they are not free particles like fluid. So these materials falls between solid and fluid and their behavior also follow this trend.
Thus it is not unexpected that both fluid mechanics and solid mechanics contribute in soil mechanics. As soils have an inherent particulate system, such system exists in soil mass and soil mechanics is sometimes termed as particulate mechanics.
Soil mechanics gives theoretical basis to analyze problems of geotechnical engineering and engineering geology. These principles are also related to
• geophysical engineering
• coastal engineering
• soil physics etc.