ASTM D5298 - 10

    Standard Test Method for Measurement of Soil Potential (Suction) Using Filter Paper

    Active Standard ASTM D5298 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.04

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.08


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    Significance and Use

    Soil suction is a measure of the free energy of the pore-water in a soil. Soil suction in practical terms is a measure of the affinity of soil to retain water and can provide information on soil parameters that are influenced by the soil water; for example, volume change, deformation, and strength characteristics of the soil.

    Soil suction is related with soil water content through water retention characteristic curves (see Test Methods D6836). Soil water content may be found from Test Method D2216.

    Measurements of soil suction may be used with other soil and environmental parameters to evaluate hydrologic processes (1) and to evaluate the potential for heave or shrinkage, shear strength, modulus, in situ stress and hydraulic conductivity of unsaturated soils.

    The filter paper method of evaluating suction is simple and economical with a range from 10 to 100 000 kPa (0.1 to 1000 bars).

    Note 1—The 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 laboratory filter papers as passive sensors to evaluate the soil matric (matrix) and total potential (suction), a measure of the free energy of the pore-water or tension stress exerted on the pore-water by the soil matrix (1, 2). The term potential or suction is descriptive of the energy status of soil water.

    1.2 This test method controls the variables for measurement of the water content of filter paper that is in direct contact with soil or in equilibrium with the partial pressure of water vapor in the air of an airtight container enclosing a soil specimen. The filter paper is enclosed with a soil specimen in the airtight container until moisture equilibrium is established; that is, the partial pressure of water vapor in the air is in equilibrium with the vapor pressure of pore-water in the soil specimen.

    1.3 This test method provides a procedure for calibrating different types of filter paper for use in evaluating soil matric and total potential.

    1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. The inch-pound units given in parentheses are approximate.

    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

    C114 Test Methods for Chemical Analysis of Hydraulic Cement

    D653 Terminology Relating to Soil, Rock, and Contained Fluids

    D1125 Test Methods for Electrical Conductivity and Resistivity of Water

    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

    D4542 Test Method for Pore Water Extraction and Determination of the Soluble Salt Content of Soils by Refractometer

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

    D6836 Test Methods for Determination of the Soil Water Characteristic Curve for Desorption Using Hanging Column, Pressure Extractor, Chilled Mirror Hygrometer, or Centrifuge

    E1 Specification for ASTM Liquid-in-Glass Thermometers

    E337 Test Method for Measuring Humidity with a Psychrometer (the Measurement of Wet- and Dry-Bulb Temperatures)

    E832 Specification for Laboratory Filter Papers

    E1137/E1137M Specification for Industrial Platinum Resistance Thermometers

    E2251 Specification for Liquid-in-Glass ASTM Thermometers with Low-Hazard Precision Liquids


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.080.05 (Examination of soil in general)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/D5298-10

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