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    ASTM D4972 - 13

    Standard Test Method for pH of Soils

    Active Standard ASTM D4972 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.22

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.08

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    Significance and Use

    5.1 The pH of the soil is a useful variable in determining the solubility of soil minerals and the mobility of ions in the soil and assessing the viability of the soil-plant environment.

    5.2 pH measurements are made in both water and a calcium chloride solution because the calcium displaces some of the exchangeable aluminum. The low ionic strength counters the dilution effect on the exchange equilibrium by setting the salt concentration of the solution closer to that expected in the soil solution. The pH values obtained in the solution of calcium chloride are slightly lower than those measured in water due to the release of more aluminum ions which then hydrolyses. Therefore, both measurements are required to fully define the character of the soil's pH.

    5.3 For the purpose of this test method the test soil must be sieved through a 2-mm (No. 10) sieve. Measurements on soils or soil fractions having particle sizes larger than 2 mm by this test method may be invalid. If soil or soil fractions with particles larger than 2 mm are used, it must be stated in the report since the results may be significantly different.

    5.4 All water used for this test method must be ASTM Type III or better. Type III water is defined by Specification D1193. It is prepared by distillation, ion exchange, reverse osmosis, or a combination thereof.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the measurement of the pH of soils for uses other than for corrosion testing. Such measurements are used in the agricultural, environmental, and natural resources fields. This measurement determines the degree of acidity or alkalinity in soil materials suspended in water and a 0.01 M calcium chloride solution. Measurements in both liquids are necessary to fully define the soil's pH. This variable is useful in determining the solubility of soil minerals and the mobility of ions in the soil and assessing the viability of the soil-plant environment. A more detailed discussion of the usefulness of this parameter is not warranted here; however, it can be found in many discussions of the subject. A few such discussions are given as Refs (1-6)2 at the end of the text.

    1.2 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

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

    1.4 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.

    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.080.10 (Chemical characteristics of soil)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 11111501(Soil)

    Referencing This Standard
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    DOI: 10.1520/D4972

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM D4972-13, Standard Test Method for pH of Soils, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2013,

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