Terzaghi-Civil Engineer Biog


Terzaghi who renowned as FATHER OF SOIL MECHANICS contributed a lot to Geo technology. With his publication Erdbaumechanik (Introduction to Soil Mechanics), he elaborated the concepts of slope stability, earth pressure, foundations etc., Terzaghi's contribution to Geotechnical Engineering is boundless with his methods and procedures for investigation, analysis, testing, instrumentation, and practice.
By foto fra 1926, via Wikimedia Commons


Born: October 3, 1883 (Prague)
Died : October 25, 1963 (aged 80) (USA)
Spouse: Ruth Doggett Terzaghi
Notable students: Cinna Lomnitz

By studying mechanical engineering at the Technical University in Graz, graduating in 1904, he worked as an engineer for several years; he was awarded a doctorate in engineering by the same institution in 1911. After visiting the United States, he served in the Austrian Air Force during World War I, but in 1916 he accepted a position with the Imperial School of Engineers, Istanbul. When the war was over, he took a post (1918–25) with Robert College, a U.S. institution, also in Istanbul. Much research had been done on foundations, earth pressure, and stability of slopes, but Terzaghi set out to organize the results and, through research, to provide unifying concepts.

In 1925 he went to the United States, where as a member of the faculty of the MIT, Cambridge, he worked unceasingly for the acceptance of his ideas, serving also as consulting engineer for many construction projects.

In 1929 he accepted the newly created chair of soil mechanics at Vienna Technical University. He returned to the United States in 1938 and served as professor of civil engineering at Harvard University from 1946 until his retirement in 1956. His consulting practice grew to encompass the world, including the chairmanship of the Board of Consultants of Egypt’s Aswan High Dam project until 1959.

Even though his contributions are measureless, here are the few concepts:
Classification methods for soils and rocks;
Capillary phenomena in soils;
The theory and documentation of consolidation and settlement;
Piping and its prevention;
Design and construction of earth, rock and concrete dams on all kinds of foundations;
Anchorages for suspension bridges in soils;
Field and laboratory measurement of pore pressures and soil properties;
Use of flow nets in two and three dimensions;
Design of drainage wells and tunnels;
Design to avoid scour of river and waterfront structures;
Earth pressure variations on walls and bulkheads;
Engineering in terrain underlain by permafrost;
Pile foundations;
Soil improvement by compaction, pile-driving, grouting and incorporation of geotextiles;
Soil and rock tunneling;
Engineering geology;
Sinkhole formation and collapse;
Regional subsidence due to oil-field operations;

“The one thing an engineer should be afraid of is the development of conditions on the job which he has not anticipated. The construction drawings are no more than a wish dream. I have the impression that the great majority of dam failures were due to negligent construction and not to faulty design.”  -Terzaghi

SOURCES: britannica , GEO-STRATA magazine of ASCE
Next Post »