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Significance and Use
The practice described classifies soils from any geographic location into groups (including group indexes) based on the results of prescribed laboratory tests to determine the particle-size characteristics, liquid limit, and plasticity index.
The assigning of a group symbol and group index can be used to aid in the evaluation of the significant properties of the soil for highway and airfield purposes.
The various groupings of this classification system correlate in a general way with the engineering behavior of soils. Also, in a general way, the engineering behavior of a soil varies inversely with its group index. Therefore, this practice provides a useful first step in any field or laboratory investigation for geotechnical engineering purposes.
1.1 This practice covers a procedure for classifying mineral and organomineral soils into seven groups based on laboratory determination of particle-size distribution, liquid limit, and plasticity index. It may be used when a precise engineering classification is required, especially for highway construction purposes. Evaluation of soils within each group is made by means of a group index, which is a value calculated from an empirical formula.
Note 1—The group classification, including the group index, should be useful in determining the relative quality of the soil material for use in earthwork structures, particularly embankments, subgrades, subbases, and bases. However, for the detailed design of important structures, additional data concerning strength or performance characteristics of the soil under field conditions will usually be required.
1.2 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.
1.3 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.
1.4 This practice offers a set of instructions for performing one or more specific operations. This practice cannot replace education or experience and should be used in conjunction with professional judgment. Not all aspects of this practice may be applicable in all circumstances. This practice is not intended to represent or replace the standard of care by which the adequacy of a given professional service must be judged, nor should this practice be applied without consideration of a project's many unique aspects. The word “Standard” in the title of this document means only that the document has been approved through the ASTM consensus process.
2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.
D420 Guide to Site Characterization for Engineering Design and Construction Purposes
D421 Practice for Dry Preparation of Soil Samples for Particle-Size Analysis and Determination of Soil Constants
D422 Test Method for Particle-Size Analysis of Soils
D653 Terminology Relating to Soil, Rock, and Contained Fluids
D1140 Test Methods for Amount of Material in Soils Finer than No. 200 (75-m) Sieve
D1452 Practice for Soil Exploration and Sampling by Auger Borings
D1586 Test Method for Penetration Test (SPT) and Split-Barrel Sampling of Soils
D1587 Practice for Thin-Walled Tube Sampling of Soils for Geotechnical Purposes
D2217 Practice for Wet Preparation of Soil Samples for Particle-Size Analysis and Determination of Soil Constants
D4318 Test Methods for Liquid Limit, Plastic Limit, and Plasticity Index of Soils
AASHTO DocumentM145 The Classification of Soils and Soil Aggregate Mixtures for Highway Construction Purposes
ICS Number Code 93.080.10 (Road construction)
UNSPSC Code 11111501(Soil); 72141000(Highway and road construction services)