ASTM D5240 / D5240M - 12(2013)

    Standard Test Method for Evaluation of Durability of Rock for Erosion Control Using Sodium Sulfate or Magnesium Sulfate

    Active Standard ASTM D5240 / D5240M | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.17

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.08


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 Rock for erosion control consists of individual pieces of natural stone. The ability of these individual pieces of stone to resist deterioration due to weathering action affects the stability of the integral placement of rock for erosion control and hence, the stability of construction projects, structures, shorelines, and stream banks.

    5.2 The sodium sulfate or magnesium sulfate soundness test is one method by which to estimate qualitatively the durability of rock under weathering conditions. This test method was developed to be used in conjunction with additional test methods listed in Practice D4992. This test method does not provide an absolute value, but rather an indication of the resistance to freezing and thawing; therefore, the results of this test method are not to be used as the sole basis for the determination of rock durability.

    5.3 This test method has been used to evaluate many different types of rocks. There have been occasions when test results have provided data that have not agreed with the durability of rock under actual field conditions; samples yielding a low soundness loss have disintegrated in actual usage, and the reverse has been true.

    Note 1The quality of results produced by this standard is dependent on the competence of the personnel performing it and 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 and Practice D3740 provides a means of evaluating some of them.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers test procedures for evaluating the soundness of rock for erosion control by the effects of a sodium or magnesium sulfate solution on slabs of rock. The test is an accelerated weathering test that simulates the freezing and thawing of cold weather exposure. The rock slabs, prepared in accordance with procedures in Practice D5121, are intended to be representative of erosion control sized materials and their inherent weaknesses. The test is appropriate for breakwater stone, armor stone, riprap and gabion sized rock materials.

    The limitations of this test are twofold. First the test is a simulation of freezing and thawing conditions. The internal expansive force, derived from the rehydration of the salt upon re-immersion, simulates the expansion of water on freezing relying on chemical crystal formation to simulate freezing rather than the actual freezing of water. Secondly the size of the cut rock slab specimens may eliminate some of the internal defects present in the rock structure. The test specimens may not be representative of the quality of the larger rock samples used in construction. Careful examination of the rock source and proper sampling are essential in minimizing this limitation.

    1.2 The use of reclaimed concrete and other materials is beyond the scope of this test method.

    1.3 Units—The values stated in either SI units or inch-pound units [presented in brackets] are to be regarded separately as standard. The values stated in each system may not be exact equivalents; therefore, each system shall be used independently of the other. Combining values from the two systems may result in non-conformance with the standard.

    1.4 All observed and calculated values shall conform to the guidelines for significant digits and rounding established in Practice D6026, unless superseded by this standard.

    1.4.1 For purposes of comparing measured or calculated value(s) with specified limits, the measured or calculated value(s) shall be rounded to the nearest decimal or significant digits in the specified limits.

    1.4.2 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 user’s objectives; and it is common practice to increase or reduce significant digits of 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.

    1.5 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

    C88 Test Method for Soundness of Aggregates by Use of Sodium Sulfate or Magnesium Sulfate

    C295 Guide for Petrographic Examination of Aggregates for Concrete

    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

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

    D4992 Practice for Evaluation of Rock to be Used for Erosion Control

    D5121 Practice for Preparation of Rock Slabs for Durability Testing

    D6026 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Geotechnical Data

    E100 Specification for ASTM Hydrometers

    E145 Specification for Gravity-Convection and Forced-Ventilation Ovens


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 91.100.15 (Mineral materials and products)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/D5240_D5240M-12R13

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM D5240 / D5240M-12(2013), Standard Test Method for Evaluation of Durability of Rock for Erosion Control Using Sodium Sulfate or Magnesium Sulfate, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2013, www.astm.org

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