The Job of a Geotechnical Engineer
Explaining the job of a geotechnical engineer
Engineering itself is a very broad topic, with the different fields that make up the expertise. Civil engineering alone is already broad enough, as a civil engineer’s career can branch out into specialties. One of these is a geotechnical engineering, which Reddy Kancharla wishes to discuss in this article.
What exactly is the job of a geotechnical engineer?
By definition, geotechnical engineering is about defining the soil’s strength and deformation properties. Natural materials like clay, silt, sand, rock, and snow are points of interest in geotechnics, which mainly characterizes the job of a geotechnical engineer. The interesting part about this is that geotechnics can go down further into other specialist fields, such as soil and rock mechanics, geophysics, hydrogeology, and other associated disciplines, like geology.
Another way to contextualize the job is by following it along the path of civil engineering. According to Reddy Kancharla, for one to be a geotechnical engineer, one has to be a civil engineer first. From here it’s easier to realize the diversity of types of civil engineers out in the field or at the construction site, all working together.
Geotechnical engineering has practical applications particularly in the foundational aspect of any civil work. Through their understanding of the behavior of earth materials, geotechnical engineers create their set of recommendations for their respective teams. Their methods include the use of rock and soil mechanics, as they investigate subsurface conditions.
At the start of a project, another engineer typically designs a structure with a certain load pushed on the earth, Reddy Kancharla notes. The geotechnical engineer first comes into play here, as an inquiry is made into the chosen spot where a structure is to be erected. This stage involves a lot of drilling and sampling operations, which the geotechnical engineer oversees. Taken samples will then be examined in the laboratory before the recommendation and design are finalized.
With the data that they are able to gather from their studies, geotechnical engineers can improve design for earthworks, as well as structure foundation. This means that no building, bridge, skyscraper, or megastructure, will ever be constructed without the approval of a geotechnical engineer.
Reddy Kancharla shares that obviously, a lot of huge responsibilities come with the job. Further, it takes a lot of smarts and competence to become a geotechnical engineer. As this job is a serious specialty, it is also recognized as one of the most highly paid jobs in the world.