ASTM C1721 - 09

    Standard Guide for Petrographic Examination of Dimension Stone

    Active Standard ASTM C1721 | Developed by Subcommittee: C18.01

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.07


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    Significance and Use

    Petrographic examinations are made for the following purposes:

    Determine the physical and chemical characteristics (mineralogy, texture, and composition) of the stone specimen that may be observed by petrographic methods and that have a bearing on the performance of the material in its intended use.

    Describe and classify the minerals of the specimen.

    Classify the stone both commercially and geologically based on Terminology C 119, recognizing the differences in nomenclature; and based on the following standards, as appropriate:

    Specification C 406

    Specification C 503

    Specification C 568

    Specification C 615

    Specification C 616

    Specification C 629

    Specification C 1526

    Specification C 1527

    Determine the relative amounts of the minerals of the specimen and constituents that have a bearing on the performance of the material in its intended use.

    Compare characteristics of the stone with specimens from one or more sources, for which test data or performance records are available.

    The petrographer should be told in as much detail as necessary, the purposes and objectives of the examination, the kind of information needed, and the extent of examination desired.

    Pertinent background information, including results of prior testing, such as   physical and mechanical testing, should be made available. The petrographers    advice and judgment should be sought regarding the extent of the examination.    Available physical and mechanical testing may include the following:

    Test Methods C 97

    Test Method C 99

    Test Method C 170

    Test Method C 880

    Test Methods C 120

    Test Method C 121

    Test Method C 241

    Test Method C 1353

    Test Method C 217

    This guide may form the basis for establishing arrangements between a purchaser of consulting petrographic service and the petrographer. In such a case, the purchaser and the consultant should together determine the kind, extent, and objectives of the examination and analyses to be made, and should record their agreement in writing. The agreement may stipulate specific determinations to be made, observations to be reported, funds to be obligated, or a combination of these or other conditions.

    Petrographic examinations provide identification of type and varieties of minerals and structures present in the specimen. However, as noted above, identification of all minerals and structures present in the specimen is not required.

    The petrographic examination should establish whether the specimen contains chemically unstable minerals or volumetrically unstable materials.

    Petrographic examination should identify weathered or otherwise altered constituents or minerals and describe the extent of that weathering or alteration. Where possible, describe potential aesthetic changes that may occur as a result of weathering.

    Note 1—If the dimension stone will be exposed to freezing and thawing and may become wet or saturated in use, finely porous and highly weathered or otherwise altered minerals should be identified because these materials will be especially susceptible to damage by freezing and thawing.

    Petrographic examination should identify constituents or minerals and the extent to which they may lead to staining and color change of the surface of the stone when the stone is exposed to the weather for exterior use.

    Petrographic examination should identify and estimate proportions of constituents that may be susceptible to deterioration from attack by deicing agents where proposed for use at grade level in freezing environments where deicing salts are anticipated to be used.

    Criteria are available for identifying minerals by their optical properties or by XRD. Criteria are available for identifying rocks by their mineral composition and texture. Examination in both reflected and transmitted light may be necessary to provide data for these identifications. X-ray microanalysis using energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometers with scanning electron microscopy (SEM/EDX) or wavelength-dispersive X-ray spectrometers in electron microprobes (EMPA/WDX) may provide useful information on the chemical composition of minerals and rocks.

    The objectives for which this guide was prepared, will have been attained if those involved with the evaluation of the specimen have reasonable assurance that the petrographic examination results, wherever and whenever obtained, may confidently be compared.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This guide outlines procedures for the petrographic examination of stone specimen material proposed for use as dimension stone used in construction.

    1.2 This guide outlines the extent to which petrographic techniques should be used, the selection of petrographic related properties that should be looked for, and the manner in which such techniques may be employed in the examination of dimension stone.

    1.3 The rock and mineral names given in Terminology C 119 should be used, insofar as they are appropriate, in reports prepared in accordance with this guide.

    1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. The values given in parentheses are provided for information purposes only.

    1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    C97 Test Methods for Absorption and Bulk Specific Gravity of Dimension Stone

    C99 Test Method for Modulus of Rupture of Dimension Stone

    C119 Terminology Relating to Dimension Stone

    C120 Test Methods of Flexure Testing of Slate (Breaking Load, Modulus of Rupture, Modulus of Elasticity)

    C121 Test Method for Water Absorption of Slate

    C170 Test Method for Compressive Strength of Dimension Stone

    C217 Test Method for Weather Resistance of Slate

    C241 Test Method for Abrasion Resistance of Stone Subjected to Foot Traffic

    C406 Specification for Roofing Slate

    C503 Specification for Marble Dimension Stone

    C568 Specification for Limestone Dimension Stone

    C615 Specification for Granite Dimension Stone

    C616 Specification for Quartz-Based Dimension Stone

    C629 Specification for Slate Dimension Stone

    C880 Test Method for Flexural Strength of Dimension Stone

    C1353 Test Method for Abrasion Resistance of Dimension Stone Subjected to Foot Traffic Using a Rotary Platform, Double-Head Abraser

    C1526 Specification for Serpentine Dimension Stone

    C1527 Specification for Travertine Dimension Stone

    C1528 Guide for Selection of Dimension Stone

    E883 Guide for Reflected-Light Photomicrography


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 07.060 (Geology. Meteorology. Hydrology)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 11111600(Stone)


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/C1721-09

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM C1721-09, Standard Guide for Petrographic Examination of Dimension Stone, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2009, www.astm.org

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