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In the Soviet Union the study of strength properties of soils is the subject of soil mechanics defined as "the science studying mechanical1 properties of soils and processes taking place in soils under various loads" (V. F. Babkov, 1956, p. 12). The Bol'shaya Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya (Great Soviet Encyclopedia) states that

“Soil mechanics took the form of a scientific doctrine in the USSR in the years of the prewar five-year plans in connection with the fulfillment of the grand program of industrial, hydropower and road construction” (Mekhanika gruntov, 1954, p. 369).

Some authors consider soil mechanics to be a part of engineering soil science and at the same time part of structural analysis in the study of strength of soils.

The strength properties of soils, compressibility and shearing strength, have been studied in many research institutions throughout the country, and this research has been co-ordinated by Conferences and Committees. For construction purposes, the strength properties are studied in laboratories and in the field by load tests.

The works on some aspects of compressibility of soil are briefly reviewed here, then works on shearing resistance, and finally the methods of models applied to a study of both these properties.

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