ASTM D1883 - 07e2

    Standard Test Method for CBR (California Bearing Ratio) of Laboratory-Compacted Soils

    Active Standard ASTM D1883 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.05

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.08


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    Significance and Use

    This test method is used to evaluate the potential strength of subgrade, subbase, and base course material, including recycled materials for use in road and airfield pavements. The CBR value obtained in this test forms an integral part of several flexible pavement design methods.

    For applications where the effect of compaction water content on CBR is small, such as cohesionless, coarse-grained materials, or where an allowance is made for the effect of differing compaction water contents in the design procedure, the CBR may be determined at the optimum water content of a specified compaction effort. The dry unit weight specified is normally the minimum percent compaction allowed by the using agency's field compaction specification.

    For applications where the effect of compaction water content on CBR is unknown or where it is desired to account for its effect, the CBR is determined for a range of water contents, usually the range of water content permitted for field compaction by using agency's field compaction specification.

    The criteria for test specimen preparation of self cementing (and other) materials which gain strength with time must be based on a geotechnical engineering evaluation. As directed by the engineer, self-cementing materials shall be properly cured until bearing ratios representing long term service conditions can be measured.

    Note 1—The agency performing this test can be evaluated in accordance with Practice D 3740. Notwithstanding the statements on precision and bias contained in this test method, the precision of this test method is dependent on the competence of the personnel performing it, and the suitability of the equipment and facilities used. Agencies that meet the criteria of Practice D 3740 are generally considered capable of competent and objective testing. Users of this test method are cautioned that compliance with Practice D 3740 does not in itself ensure reliable testing. Reliable testing depends on many factors; Practice D 3740 provides a means of evaluating some of those factors.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the determination of the CBR (California Bearing Ratio) of pavement subgrade, subbase, and base course materials from laboratory compacted specimens. The test method is primarily intended for (but not limited to) evaluating the strength of materials having maximum particle sizes less than ¾ in. (19 mm).

    1.2 When materials having maximum particle sizes greater than ¾ in. (19 mm) are to be tested, this test method provides for modifying the gradation of the material so that the material used for tests all passes the ¾-in. sieve while the total gravel (+No. 4 to 3 in.) fraction remains the same. While traditionally this method of specimen preparation has been used to avoid the error inherent in testing materials containing large particles in the CBR test apparatus, the modified material may have significantly different strength properties than the original material. However, a large experience base has developed using this test method for materials for which the gradation has been modified, and satisfactory design methods are in use based on the results of tests using this procedure.

    1.3 Past practice has shown that CBR results for those materials having substantial percentages of particles retained on the No. 4 sieve are more variable than for finer materials. Consequently, more trials may be required for these materials to establish a reliable CBR.

    1.4 This test method provides for the determination of the CBR of a material at optimum water content or a range of water content from a specified compaction test and a specified dry unit weight. The dry unit weight is usually given as a percentage of maximum dry unit weight determined by Test Methods D 698 or D 1557.

    1.5 The agency requesting the test shall specify the water content or range of water content and the dry unit weight for which the CBR is desired.

    1.6 Unless specified otherwise by the requesting agency, or unless it has been shown to have no effect on test results for the material being tested, all specimens shall be soaked prior to penetration.

    1.7 For the determination of CBR of field compacted materials, see Test Method D 4429.

    1.8 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as the standard. The SI equivalents shown in parentheses may be approximate.

    1.9 All observed and calculated values shall conform to the guidelines for significant digits and rounding established in Practice D 6026.

    1.9.1 The procedures used to specify how data are collected, recorded or calculated in this standard are regarded as the industry standard. In addition they are representative of the significant digits that generally should be retained. The procedures used do not consider material variation, purpose for obtaining the data, special purpose studies, or any considerations for the users objectives, and it is common practice to increase or reduce significant digits or reported data to be commensurate with these considerations. It is beyond the scope of this standard to consider significant digits used in analytical methods for engineering design.

    1.10 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety problems, 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

    D422 Test Method for Particle-Size Analysis of Soils

    D653 Terminology Relating to Soil, Rock, and Contained Fluids

    D698 Test Methods for Laboratory Compaction Characteristics of Soil Using Standard Effort (12 400 ft-lbf/ft3 (600 kN-m/m3))

    D1557 Test Methods for Laboratory Compaction Characteristics of Soil Using Modified Effort (56,000 ft-lbf/ft3 (2,700 kN-m/m3))

    D2168 Practices for Calibration of Laboratory Mechanical-Rammer Soil Compactors

    D2216 Test Methods for Laboratory Determination of Water (Moisture) Content of Soil and Rock by Mass

    D2487 Practice for Classification of Soils for Engineering Purposes (Unified Soil Classification System)

    D2488 Practice for Description and Identification of Soils (Visual-Manual Procedure)

    D3740 Practice for Minimum Requirements for Agencies Engaged in Testing and/or Inspection of Soil and Rock as Used in Engineering Design and Construction

    D4318 Test Methods for Liquid Limit, Plastic Limit, and Plasticity Index of Soils

    D4429 Test Method for CBR (California Bearing Ratio) of Soils in Place

    D4753 Guide for Evaluating, Selecting, and Specifying Balances and Standard Masses for Use in Soil, Rock, and Construction Materials Testing

    D6026 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Geotechnical Data

    E11 Specification for Woven Wire Test Sieve Cloth and Test Sieves


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 93.020 (Earth works. Excavations. Foundation construction. Underground works)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/D1883-07E02

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