Stress Distribution in Soil Mass
For many problems of practical interest, it is necessary to estimate settlements under conditions in which the induced stress varies spatially. The first step in the analyses of such problems usually involves estimation of the initial states of stress in the soil and of the changes in these stresses during loading and when the soil approaches equilibrium. The stress distribution in an elastic, isotropic, homogeneous and semi-infinite soil mass due to point load at the surface was derived by Boussinesq and was extended to other loading conditions by Melan, Carothers, Kolosov and Mindlin. This chapter presents stress distributions of different surface loads that are considered of most practical values. Contact pressure is the normal vertical pressure on the surface of contact pressure between the base of a structure and the supporting soil. The distribution of contact pressure for a uniformly loaded perfectly rigid footing resting on the surface of a cohesionless material is parabolic.