ASTM D4554 - 12

    Standard Test Method for In Situ Determination of Direct Shear Strength of Rock Discontinuities

    Active Standard ASTM D4554 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.12

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.08


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 Because of scale effects, there is no simple method of predicting the in situ shear strength of a rock discontinuity from the results of laboratory tests on small specimens; in situ tests on large specimens are the most reliable means.

    5.2 Results can be employed in stability analysis of rock engineering problems, for example, in studies of slopes, underground openings, and dam foundations. In applying the test results, the pore water pressure conditions and the possibility of progressive failure must be assessed for the design case, as they may differ from the test conditions.

    5.3 Tests on intact rock that are free from planes of weakness are usually accomplished using laboratory triaxial testing. Intact rock can, however, be tested in situ in direct shear if the rock is weak and if the specimen block encapsulation is sufficiently strong.

    Note 1The quality of the result produced by this standard 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 D3740 are generally considered capable of competent and objective testing/sampling/inspection/etc. Users of this standard are cautioned that compliance with Practice D3740 does not in itself assure reliable results. Reliable results depend on many factors; Practice D3740 provides a means of evaluating some of those factors.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the measurement of peak and residual direct shear strength in a drained condition of in situ rock discontinuities as a function of stress normal to the sheared plane. This sheared plane is usually a significant discontinuity that may or may not be filled with gouge or soil-like material.

    1.2 The measured shear properties are affected by scale factors. The severity of the effect of these factors must be assessed and applied to the specific problems on an individual basis.

    1.3 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. No other units of measurements are included in this standard.

    1.4 All observed and calculated values shall conform to the guidelines for significant digits and rounding established in Practice D6026.

    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

    D422 Test Method for Particle-Size Analysis of Soils

    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

    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

    D6026 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Geotechnical Data

    D6913 Test Methods for Particle-Size Distribution (Gradation) of Soils Using Sieve Analysis


    ICS Code

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

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/D4554-12

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