ASTM D5918 - 13

    Standard Test Methods for Frost Heave and Thaw Weakening Susceptibility of Soils

    Active Standard ASTM D5918 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.19

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.09


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    ASTM D5918

    Significance and Use

    5.1 These test methods can be used to determine the relative frost-susceptibility of soils used in pavement systems. Both the frost heave susceptibility and the thaw weakening susceptibility can be determined.

    5.2 These test methods should be used only for seasonal frost conditions and not for permanent or long-term freezing of soil. These test methods also have not been validated for anything other than pavement systems.

    5.3 These test methods cannot be used to predict the amount of frost heave or thaw weakening in the field. Its purpose is to determine the relative frost-susceptibility classification for use in empirical pavement design methods for seasonal frost regions.

    Note 1The 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 These laboratory test methods cover the frost heave and thaw weakening susceptibilities of soil that is tested in the laboratory by comparing the heave rate and thawed bearing ratio2 with values in an established classification system. This test was developed to classify the frost susceptibility of soils used in pavements. It should be used for soils where frost-susceptibility considerations, based on particle size such as the limit of 3 % finer than 20 mm in Specification D2940, are uncertain. This is most important for frost-susceptibility criteria such as those used by the Corps of Engineers,3 that require a freezing test for aggregates of inconclusive frost classification. The frost heave susceptibility is determined from the heave rate during freezing. The thaw weakening susceptibility is determined with the bearing ratio test (see Test Method D1883).

    1.2 This is an index test for estimating the relative degree of frost-susceptibility of soils used in pavement systems. It cannot be used to predict the amount of frost heave nor the strength after thawing, nor can it be used for applications involving long-term freezing of permafrost or for foundations of refrigerated structures.

    1.3 The test methods described are for one specimen and uses manual temperature control. It is suggested that four specimens be tested simultaneously and that the temperature control and data taking be automated using a computer.

    1.4 All recorded and calculated values shall conform to the guide for significant digits and rounding established in Practice D6026.

    1.4.1 The procedures used to specify how data are collected/recorded and calculated in this standard are regarded as the industry standard. In addition, they are representative of the significant digits that should generally 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 analysis methods for engineering design.

    1.4.2 Measurements made to more significant digits or better sensitivity than specified in this standard shall not be regarded a nonconformance with this standard.

    1.5 This standard is written using SI units. Inch-pound units are provided for convenience. The values stated in inch pound units may not be exact equivalents; therefore, they shall be used independently of the SI system. Combining values from the two systems may result in nonconformance with this standard.

    1.5.1 The gravitational system of inch-pound units is used when dealing with inch-pound units. In this system, the pound (lbf) represents a unit of force (weight), while the unit for mass is slugs. The rationalized slug unit is not given, unless dynamic (F=ma) calculations are involved.

    1.5.2 It is common practice in the engineering/ construction profession to concurrently use pounds to represent both a unit of mass (lbm) and of force (lbf). This implicitly combines two separate systems of units; that is, the absolute system and the gravitational system. It is scientifically undesirable to combine the use of two separate sets of inch-pound units within a single standard. As stated, this standard includes the gravitational system of inch-pound units and does not use/present the slug unit for mass. However, the use of balances or scales recording pounds of mass (lbm) or recording density in lbm/ft3 shall not be regarded as nonconformance with this standard.

    1.6 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

    C670 Practice for Preparing Precision and Bias Statements for Test Methods for Construction Materials

    D75 Practice for Sampling Aggregates

    D420 Guide to Site Characterization for Engineering Design and Construction Purposes

    D653 Terminology Relating to Soil, Rock, and Contained Fluids

    D698 Test Methods for Laboratory Compaction Characteristics of Soil Using Standard Effort (12 400 ft-lbf/ft3 (600 kN-m/m3))

    D1587 Practice for Thin-Walled Tube Sampling of Soils for Geotechnical Purposes

    D1883 Test Method for CBR (California Bearing Ratio) of Laboratory-Compacted Soils

    D2216 Test Methods for Laboratory Determination of Water (Moisture) Content of Soil and Rock by Mass

    D2940 Specification for Graded Aggregate Material For Bases or Subbases for Highways or Airports

    D3550 Practice for Thick Wall, Ring-Lined, Split Barrel, Drive Sampling of Soils

    D3740 Practice for Minimum Requirements for Agencies Engaged in Testing and/or Inspection of Soil and Rock as Used in Engineering Design and Construction

    D4083 Practice for Description of Frozen Soils (Visual-Manual Procedure)

    D6026 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Geotechnical Data

    E105 Practice for Probability Sampling of Materials

    E122 Practice for Calculating Sample Size to Estimate, With Specified Precision, the Average for a Characteristic of a Lot or Process


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.080.01 (Soil quality in general)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 11111501(Soil)


    DOI: 10.1520/D5918-13

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