ASTM D5873 - 14

    Standard Test Method for Determination of Rock Hardness by Rebound Hammer Method

    Active Standard ASTM D5873 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.12

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.08


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    Significance and Use

    4.1 The rebound hardness method provides a means for rapid classification of the hardness of rock during site characterization for engineering, design, and construction purposes, geotechnical mapping of large underground openings in rock, see Guide D4879, or reporting the physical description of rock core, see Practice D4543.

    4.2 The rebound hardness number, HR, can serve in a variety of engineering applications that require characterization of rock material. These applications include, for examples, the prediction of penetration rates for tunnel boring machines, determination of rock quality for construction purposes, grouping of test specimens, and prediction of hydraulic erodibility of rock.

    4.3 This test method is of limited use on very soft rock or very hard rock, which is defined as having uniaxial compressive strengths less than approximately 1 MPa or greater than 100 MPa.

    4.4 The results of this test method are not intended for conversion to strength data suitable for design.

    Note 1Several types of rebound hammers are commercially available to accommodate testing of various sizes and types of rock. For the same rock or material, rebound numbers obtained from different hammers are not comparable.
    Note 2The quality of the result produced by this test method 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 and sampling. Users of this test method 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 testing apparatus, sampling, test specimen preparation, and testing procedures for determining the rebound hardness number of rock material using a spring-driven steel hammer, referred to variously as a rebound hammer, impact test hammer, or concrete test hammer.

    1.2 This test method is best suited for rock material with uniaxial compressive strengths ranging between approximately 1 and 100 MPa. Test Method D7012 provides more information on compressive strength of rock.

    1.3 The portable testing apparatus may be used in the laboratory or field to provide a means of rapid assessment of rock hardness or to serve as an indicator of rock hardness.

    1.4 Rebound hammers are available from their original manufacturers in several different energy ranges. For a given plunger tip diameter and radius of curvature, the impact energy of the rebound hammer determines its range of applicability. Accordingly, this limitation should be kept in mind when selecting a hammer type. Earlier recommendations for rock mechanics applications were only for hammers with an impact energy of 0.735 N·m, especially on smaller core samples and weaker rocks (see also Brown 19812). This test method applies only to hammers with an impact energy not to exceed 0.735 N·m. Hammers with energies above 0.735 N·m tend to break the rock and are not recommended.

    1.5 Rocks exhibiting vesicular texture may be beyond the scope of this test. Care should be taken when testing such rocks and conglomerates as the rebound values will vary between testing a large piece of aggregate versus softer matrix of the conglomerate.

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

    1.6.1 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.

    1.7 For determining the rebound number of concrete, see Test Method C805/C805M.

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

    1.9 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

    C805/C805M Test Method for Rebound Number of Hardened 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

    D4543 Practices for Preparing Rock Core as Cylindrical Test Specimens and Verifying Conformance to Dimensional and Shape Tolerances

    D4879 Guide for Geotechnical Mapping of Large Underground Openings in Rock

    D6026 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Geotechnical Data

    D7012 Test Methods for Compressive Strength and Elastic Moduli of Intact Rock Core Specimens under Varying States of Stress and Temperatures


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.080.20 (Physical properties of soil)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/D5873

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