Smiths Elements of Soil Mechanics Ninth Edition by Ian Smith
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Smiths Elements of Soil Mechanics Ninth Edition by Ian Smith


Ian Smith is Head of the School of Engineering and the Built Environment at Edinburgh Napier University. He has taught Geotechnical Engineering at the university for nearly 20 years, having spent some years beforehand working in the site investigation industry. He is an authority on the use of Eurocode 7 in geotechnical design and has instructed designers and academics in the use of the code throughout the UK, Europe and in China.


When I wrote the 8th Edition of this book in 2005, only Part 1 of Eurocode 7 had been published. In that Edition, I illustrated how geotechnical design to the new Eurocode was to be carried out and the feedback that I received indicated that readers found my approaches easy to follow.

Between 2007 and 2010, Part 2 of the code and both UK National Annexes to the code were published and much of the new material in this 9th Edition has been developed around the now complete set of documents.

To help the reader fully understand the stages of a Eurocode 7 design, I have rearranged the sequence of chapters in the book and written two new chapters around the complete design process: Chapter 5 describes the design methods (aligning to Eurocode 7 Part 1) and Chapter 6 describes the ground investigation aspects (aligning to Part 2).

The specific design methods to be used for various geotechnical structures are described in the later chapters, which cover retaining walls, shallow and deep foundations and slopes. The early chapters of the book cover the fundamentals of the behaviour of soils. I have provided many worked examples throughout the book that illustrate the principles of soil mechanics and the geotechnical design processes.

To help the reader further, I have produced a suite of spreadsheets and documents to accompany the book that match up against many of the worked examples. These can be used to better understand the analysis being adopted in the examples, which are particularly beneficial to understanding the Eurocode 7 design examples.

In addition, I have produced the solutions to the exercises at the end of the chapters as a series of portable document format (pdf) files. All of these files can be freely downloaded from Whilst the full content of both parts of Eurocode 7 has driven the bulk of the new material in this edition, I have also updated other aspects of the text throughout.

This was done in recognition that some aspects of the book had become dated as a result of the introduction of new methods and standards.

Furthermore, the format of the book has been improved to aid readability and thus help the reader in understanding the material. All in all, I believe that I have produced a valuable and very up-to-date textbook on soil mechanics from which the learning of the subject should be made easier.

I must thank my colleagues Dr Daniel Barreto and Dr John McDougall for their advice on the revisions I have made to the sections on shear strength and unsaturated soils.

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