ASTM D5334 - 14

    Standard Test Method for Determination of Thermal Conductivity of Soil and Soft Rock by Thermal Needle Probe Procedure

    Active Standard ASTM D5334 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.12

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.08


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 The thermal conductivity of both intact and reconstituted soil specimens as well as soft rock specimens is used to analyze and design systems used, for example, in underground transmission lines, oil and gas pipelines, radioactive waste disposal, geothermal applications, and solar thermal storage facilities.

    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. Users of this standard are cautioned that compliance with Practice D3740 does not in itself ensure 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 presents a procedure for determining the thermal conductivity (λ) of soil and soft rock using a transient heat method. This test method is applicable for both intact and reconstituted soil specimens and soft rock specimens. This test method is suitable only for homogeneous materials.

    1.2 This test method is applicable to dry or unsaturated materials over temperatures ranging from <0 to >100°C, depending on the suitability of the thermal needle probe construction to temperature extremes. However, care must be taken to prevent significant error from: (1) redistribution of water due to thermal gradients resulting from heating of the needle probe; (2) redistribution of water due to hydraulic gradients (gravity drainage for high degrees of saturation or surface evaporation); (3) phase change of water in specimens with temperatures <0°C or >100°C. These errors can be minimized by adding less total heat to the specimen through either minimizing power applied to the needle probe and/or minimizing the heating duration of the measurement.

    1.3 Units—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.

    1.4.1 The procedure 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

    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

    D4439 Terminology for Geosynthetics

    D6026 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Geotechnical Data


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.080.20 (Physical properties of soil)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 11111501(Soil)


    DOI: 10.1520/D5334-14

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