Posted in Civil Engineering

Those Pesky Kilogram-Force Units —

Generally speaking, engineers educated in the U.S. must be educated in two units: the U.S. system (the Brits abandoned the Imperial system long ago) and the S.I. system, commonly called the “metric system.” I say commonly because they’re not really the same; countries that have been using the system the French came up with it […]

Those Pesky Kilogram-Force Units —
Posted in Civil Engineering

D.D. Barkan’s Dynamics of Bases and Foundations Online

Years ago, when new documents went up on this site, they were announced. Because of the large number of these documents, we haven’t done that in a long time.

This one is special: it is D.D. Barkan’s 1962 classic Dynamics of Bases and Foundations, the translation edited by another “geo-legend,” G. P. Tschebotarioff. It has since fallen out of copyright, which makes it possible to disseminate here. The impact of this book on the subject of Soil Dynamics was considerable at the time and long-lasting. It was also one of the first books to come out of the Soviet Union at a time when few did, and highlighted the advances in vibrational technology that the Soviets were undertaking at the time.

It is our pleasure to pass this along to you, and we trust that you will find it useful all these years after its publication.

Posted in Civil Engineering

Fill and Grade Work for Christmas

Recently I posted a video for my university course, Soil Mechanics: Compaction and Soil Improvement. At the beginning of the lecture I posted this Biblical reference:

There is a voice that cries;
Prepare a road for the Lord through the wilderness,
clear a highway across the desert for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
every mountain and hill brought down;
rugged places shall be made smooth
and mountain-ranges become a plain.
Thus shall the glory of the Lord be revealed,
and all mankind together shall see it;
for the Lord himself has spoken. (Isaiah 40: 3-6 NEB)

Although there are many interpretations of this, the literal one is that it’s talking about is fill and grade work, especially for transportation infrastructure. It’s been a part of construction and civil engineering since ancient times; the best known evidence are the Roman roads, although there are others. One of the joys of maintaining this site is knowing that representatives of those ancient civilisations are frequent visitors to this site, keeping up the traditions of both the civilisation and the profession.

Although it’s not generally regarded as a Christmas passage, thanks in part to Handel’s Messiah it’s been associated with it. Once you make the association with fill and grade work, however, listening to this will never be quite the same.

Our Christmas wish at for you is that your civil work in 2021–fill and grade work and otherwise–and your own personal “fill and grade work” will be fruitful.

Posted in Civil Engineering

Construction Begins on an Interstate Highway in California — Transportation History

September 25, 1967 In Southern California, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at El Cajon Boulevard and Boundary Street in San Diego for Interstate 805 (I-805). Planning for that route dated back to 1956, the same year in which the Interstate Highway System itself first came into existence. After the groundbreaking ceremony, I-805 was constructed in phases. It […]

Construction Begins on an Interstate Highway in California — Transportation History
Posted in Academic Issues, Civil Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering

Summary of the “Old” Course Slides for My Foundations Course

I am beginning my preparations for teaching this class in the fall.  I already had in progress a revamping of the course when the COVID-19 storm hit (not the only storm I had to deal with!)  This revamping is very sweeping, so I’m presenting here the “old” slides which I used last year, and which reflect the structure of the course for many years.  I also include links to other materials, some of which will remain with the course and some of which won’t.