ASTM D6035 / D6035M - 13

    Standard Test Method for Determining the Effect of Freeze-Thaw on Hydraulic Conductivity of Compacted or Intact Soil Specimens Using a Flexible Wall Permeameter

    Active Standard ASTM D6035 / D6035M | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.19

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.09


    Buy Standard (PDF)
    5 pages
    $42.00
    Buy Standard (Print)
    5 pages
    $42.00
    Buy Standard + Redline (PDF)
    10 pages
    $50.40

    Historical (view previous versions of standard)


    ASTM D6035 / D6035M

    Significance and Use

    4.1 This test method identifies the changes in hydraulic conductivity as a result of freeze-thaw on natural soils only.

    4.2 It is the user's responsibility when using this test method to determine the appropriate water content of the laboratory-compacted specimens (that is, dry, wet, or at optimum water content) (Note 2).

    Note 2It is common practice to construct clay liners and covers at optimum or greater than optimum water content. Specimens compacted dry of optimum water content typically do not contain larger pore sizes as a result of freeze-thaw because the effects of freeze-thaw are minimized by the lack of water in the sample. Therefore, the effect of freeze-thaw on the hydraulic conductivity is minimal, or the hydraulic conductivity may increase slightly.3

    4.3 The requestor must provide information regarding the effective stresses to be applied during testing, especially for determining the final hydraulic conductivity. Using high effective stresses (that is, 35 kPa [5 psi] as allowed by Test Method D5084) can decrease an already increased hydraulic conductivity resulting in lower final hydraulic conductivity values. The long-term effect of freeze-thaw on the hydraulic conductivity of compacted soils is unknown. The increased hydraulic conductivity caused by freeze-thaw may be temporary. For example, the overburden pressure imparted by the waste placed on a soil liner in a landfill after being subjected to freeze-thaw may reduce the size of the cracks and pores that cause the increase in hydraulic conductivity. It is not known if the pressure would overcome the macroscopically increased hydraulic conductivity sufficiently to return the soil to its original hydraulic conductivity (prior to freeze-thaw). For cases such as landfill covers, where the overburden pressure is low, the increase in hydraulic conductivity due to freeze-thaw will likely be permanent. Thus, the requestor must take the application of the test method into account when establishing the effective stress.

    4.4 The specimen shall be frozen to −15°C [5°F] unless the requestor specifically dictates otherwise. It has been documented in the literature that the initial (that is, 0 to −15°C [32°F to 5°F]) freezing condition causes the most significant effects3 in hydraulic conductivity. Freezing rate and ultimate temperature should mimic the field conditions. It has been shown that superfreezing (that is, freezing the specimen at very cold temperatures and very short time periods) produces erroneous results.

    4.5 The thawed specimen temperature and thaw rate shall mimic field conditions. Thawing specimens in an oven (that is, overheating) will produce erroneous results.

    4.6 Literature relating to this subject indicates that the effects of freeze-thaw usually occur by Cycle 10, thus it is recommended that at least 10 freeze-thaw cycles shall be performed to ensure that the full effects of freeze-thaw are measured. If the hydraulic conductivity values are still increasing after 10 freeze-thaw cycles, the test method shall be continued (that is, more freeze-thaw cycles shall be performed).

    Note 3The 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 measurement of the effect of freeze-thaw on the hydraulic conductivity of compacted or intact soil specimens using Test Method D5084 and a flexible wall permeameter to determine hydraulic conductivity. This test method does not provide steps to perform sampling of, or testing of, in situ soils that have already been subjected to freeze-thaw conditions.

    1.2 This test method may be used with intact specimens (block or thin-walled) or laboratory compacted specimens and shall be used for soils that have an initial hydraulic conductivity less than or equal to 1E-5 m/s [3.94 E-4 in./s] (1E-3 cm/s) (Note 1).

    Note 1The maximum initial hydraulic conductivity is given as 1 E-5 m/s [3.94 E-4 in./s]. This should also apply to the final hydraulic conductivity. It is expected that if the initial hydraulic conductivity is 1 E-5 m/s (3.94 E-4 in./s), then the final hydraulic conductivity will not change (increase) significantly (that is, greater than 1 E-5 m/s) (3.94 E-4 in./s).

    1.3 Soil specimens tested using this test method can be subjected to three-dimensional freeze-thaw (herein referred to as 3-d) or one-dimensional freeze-thaw (herein referred to as 1-d). (For a discussion of one-dimensional freezing versus three-dimensional freezing, refer to Zimmie2 or Othman.3)

    1.4 Soil specimens tested using this test method can be tested in a closed system (that is, no access to an external supply of water during freezing) or an open system.

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

    1.6 The values stated in 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. Reporting of test results in units other than SI shall not be regarded as conconformance with this test method.

    1.7 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

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

    D2113 Practice for Rock Core Drilling and Sampling of Rock for Site Investigation

    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

    D4220 Practices for Preserving and Transporting Soil Samples

    D5084 Test Methods for Measurement of Hydraulic Conductivity of Saturated Porous Materials Using a Flexible Wall Permeameter

    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 41113900(Soil measuring equipment)


    DOI: 10.1520/D6035_D6035M

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    ASTM D6035 / D6035M

    Citing ASTM Standards
    Back to Top