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Environmental Geomechanics: A Recent Development in Geotechnical Engineering DR. D. N. SINGH PROFESSOR Geotechnical Engineering Division Department of Civil Engineering I.I.T. BOMBAY Civil Engineering. " design and construct public works...". Transformation.

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Environmental Geomechanics: A Recent Development in Geotechnical EngineeringDR. D. N. SINGHPROFESSORGeotechnical Engineering DivisionDepartment of Civil EngineeringI.I.T.


Civil Engineering

" design and construct public works..."


Practice of improving and maintaining the built and natural environment to enhance the quality of life for present and the generations to follow


Role of Civil Engineers

“Designers and Builders of

The Quality of Life…….”

  • Creators of the Civilised Society Environment
  • Providing solutions to the needs of a developing global


  • Performers (on a world stage) as strategic thinkers and global managers
  • Pillars of local Economies
  • Creating and maintaining complex infrastructure in wealth creation
subject organization

Geotechnical Engineering




Rock Mechanics

Soil Mechanics


Retaining Structures


Subject Organization

Effect is more


environmental geomechanics
Environmental Geomechanics


Population Explosion


Sluggish and “Don’t bother approach”


Human Greed

Is a Philosophy put in practice to deal with

under-ground “environment” & Problems associated with it

Combination/Blend of

Geotechnical Engg. and Environmental Engg.


Waste Disposal Strategies

Above ground storage

No protection Protected by

geologic materials


Shallow trench burial

Engineered Backfill geological materials.


Deep Disposal

with backfillProtected by

high-retardation geologic material

Issues are
  • Ascertaining the quality of air, water, and land resources;
  • Transport, use, and disposal of hazardous wastes
  • water and wastewater treatment, and reuse.
  • Analysis and design of foundation systems, seepage control, earth dams and water resource structures, response of foundations and embankments to

Man made


industrialization/population explosion

earthquakes/(& to some extent other natural calamities).

scope of environmental geomechanics
SCOPE of Environmental Geomechanics

Assessment of pollutants being discharged on/in the soil deposits (Disposal/Handling/storage)

Process by which the pollutants travel in geo-environment

(Contaminant Transport)

Protection of ground water aquifers from contamination


Methods of cleaning the contaminated sites


Methods of creating “Value added” products

(Recycling & Reuse)

specific studies on
Specific Studies on
  • Hazardous wastes
  • Physical, Chemical, Mineralogical, Electrical and Thermal characterization
  • Geoenvironmental hazards:

Natural and man made

Recycle and Reuse of Industrial waste(s)

  • Role of Geotechnical engineering in environmental protection
  • Surface and subsurface contamination
  • Characterization of contaminated ground
  • Geoenvironmental site investigation
  • Site assessment technologies

Soil-Water-Environment Interaction

The Natural Environment

Man Made Environment


The Particle Energy Field Theory

Environmental Geotechnical Problems

Requires knowledge from other Disciplines

Bacteriology Biology Chemical Engg.

Climatology Geohydrology Geophysics

Geochemistry Hydrogeology Mechanics

Microgeology Physico-Chemistry Soil Science

Soil Engineering Toxicology

Understanding of Soil response to Environments

(Short & long-term)


The Natural Environment

  • Atmosphere
  • Biosphere
      • Oxygen Cycle
      • Nitrogen Cycle
      • Carbon Cycle
  • Hydrosphere
  • Lithosphere
  • Geomicrobiosphere Ecosphere

The Cycle of Nature


Man-made Environment

Solid Liquid

  • Agricultural wastes
  • Human and Animal wastes
  • Industrial wastes
  • Mine wastes……Acid mine waste

(due to oxidation of Iron Sulphide (FeS2) or Pyrites to H2SO4)

  • Nuclear wastes
  • Construction Effects (Blasting/Dewatering/debris…)

Soil Response to Environments

  • Soil structures (on/in/with)
  • Pore fluid characteristics
  • Soil-heat
  • Soil-Chemical
  • Soil Bacteria
  • Soil-Root
  • Soil-Electrical
  • Soil-Liquid (water)

Basic concepts of Analysis

Most geotechnical projects occur in nature

Long-term phenomenon

Soil is more sensitive and susceptible to environment

than any other construction material

  • Loading may greatly affect soil properties but not the only
  • Parameter to be considered
        • Think of other factors:
        • Heat
        • Moisture (wet/Dry)
        • Pollution intrusion

Classical Soil Mechanics: Some flaws

Specific gravity and Atterberg limits are constant

Void ratio and porosity as indicators of soil deformation

Water in the soil mass is mainly gravity water

(need to consider Environmental water)

Flow through a soil mass is only due to hydrostatic potential

(need to consider thermal/electrical/magnetic/chemical effects)

Constitutive models are arbitrarily chosen.

Stress-strain relationship


Soil Classification: Controlling Parameters

  • Grain-size distribution
  • Soil Consistency (moisture content)
  • LL
  • PL
  • PI

Present scenario


  • % Passing #200 Sieve
  • Specific surface
  • pH in pore fluid
  • Ion-exchange capacity
  • Absorption & adsorption
  • Thermal properties (Conductivity, diffusivity, specific heat)
  • Dielectric constant (Electrical properties)

Proposed scenario


environmental geomechanics laboratory @ iit bombay
Environmental Geomechanics Laboratory @ IIT Bombay

You are most welcome to Visit the laboratory