ASTM D425 - 88(2008)

    Standard Test Method for Centrifuge Moisture Equivalent of Soils

    Active Standard ASTM D425 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.03

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.08


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    Significance and Use

    Not all water contained in a saturated soil can be removed by gravity drainage. The amount of water retained after gravity drainage is usually expressed as water holding capacity or specific retention. It varies with time, and with the particle-size distribution and plasticity of the soil (in general, increasing in value with increasing plasticity index).

    In general, the centrifuge moisture equivalent is based on the theory of applying a centrifugal force great enough to reduce the capillary fringe zone enough that it can be ignored without introducing much error, even in small specimens, and yet not so great as to withdraw a large proportion of the water that is held securely above the capillary fringe. For example, if a soil will hold water 100 mm by capillarity acting against gravity, the soil will theoretically be able to hold the water only 0.1 mm against a centrifugal force that is 1000 times greater than the force of gravity. It has been determined that for at least medium-textured soils (sandy to silty particle-size distribution) the centrifuge moisture equivalent approximates the water holding capacity and when combined with the bulk density can be used to calculate an approximate specific retention and specific yield. These properties when combined with porosity can be used to estimate aquifer storage coefficient.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the determination of the moisture equivalent of soil in the laboratory by means of a centrifuge technique.

    1.2 This test method is limited to disturbed specimens of coarse-grained soils having fines of low plasticity such as SP, SW, SC-SM, or SM soils. The test is limited to soils passing the 2.00-mm sieve or that fraction of a soil passing a 2.00-mm sieve.

    Note 1—Test Method D 3152 or Test Method D 2325 should be used to evaluate the capillary-moisture relations of fine-grained soils and coarse-grained soils having fines of medium to high plasticity, undisturbed soils, and soils at specific desired units weights.

    1.3 The test method is temperature-dependent, and consistent comparable results can be obtained only if the tests are performed under a constant-temperature condition.

    1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard.

    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

    D653 Terminology Relating to Soil, Rock, and Contained Fluids

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

    D2325 Test Method for Capillary-Moisture Relationships for Coarse- and Medium-Textured Soils by Porous-Plate Apparatus

    D3152 Test Method for Capillary-Moisture Relationships for Fine-Textured Soils by Pressure-Membrane Apparatus

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

    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 11111501(Soil)


    DOI: 10.1520/D0425-88R08

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