ASTM D6151 - 08

    Standard Practice for Using Hollow-Stem Augers for Geotechnical Exploration and Soil Sampling

    Active Standard ASTM D6151 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.02

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.09


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    ASTM D6151

    Significance and Use

    Hollow-stem augers are frequently used for geotechnical exploration. Often, hollow-stem augers are used with other sampling systems, such as split barrel penetration resistance testing, Test Method D1586, or thin-wall tube sampling, Practice D1587 (see 2.5). Hollow-stem augers may be used to advance a drill hole without sampling using a pilot bit assembly, or they may be equipped with a sampling system for obtaining soil cores. In some subsurface conditions that contain cohesive soils, the drillhole can be successfully advanced without the use of a pilot bit assembly. Intermittent drilling (advancing of the HSA column with or without a pilot bit) and sampling can be performed depending on the intervals to be sampled, or continuous sampling can be performed. During pauses in the drilling and sampling process, in situ testing or other soil sampling methods can be performed through the hollow auger column below the lead auger assembly. At completion of the boring to the depth of interest, the hole may be abandoned or testing or monitoring devices can be installed. Hollow-stem auger drilling allows for drilling and casing the hole simultaneously, thereby eliminating hole caving problems and contamination of soil samples (2). The hollow-stem auger drilling and sampling method can be a satisfactory means for collecting samples of shallow unconsolidated subsurface materials (2). Additional guidance on use can be found in Refs. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

    Soil sampling with a double-tube hollow-stem sampling system provides a method for obtaining continuous or intermittent samples of soils for accurate logging of subsurface materials to support geotechnical testing and exploration. A wide variety of soils from clays to sands can be sampled. The sampling systems can be particularly effective in dry soft to stiff clayey or silty deposits but also can work well under saturated conditions. Saturated cohesionless soils such as clean sands may flow and cave during drilling (see Note 1). In many cases, the HSA soil core sampling system can produce very little disturbance to the sample and can provide samples for laboratory tests for measurement of selected engineering properties. Large-diameter soil cores, if taken carefully, can provide Class C and D samples as described in Practice D4220. The HSA systems can also provide disturbed samples of unsaturated sands and gravels with some structure preserved. Full 5-ft (1.5-m) long cores usually cannot be obtained in unsaturated sands due to increasing side wall friction between the dry sands and inside surface of the sample core barrel. Sample length of 2 to 2.5 ft. (0.60 to 0.75 m) is generally the limit of amount of sample that can be recovered in unsaturated sands before the friction between the sampler and the sand becomes too high and causes blocking or plugging of the sampler. Shorter large diameter core runs of 2.5 ft with the 5-ft sample barrel system, or with a 2.5-ft sample barrel system, have generally proven to result in the best samples.

    Note 1—Research on thin-wall piston sampling in clean sands indicates that in general it is impossible to obtain truly undisturbed samples of saturated clean sands. These soils can dilate or collapse upon insertion of a sampling tube. The hollow-stem auger double-tube system can only obtain partitially disturbed samples of sands below the water table.

    Hollow-stem auger drilling is considered a shallow drilling method with maximum depth of drilling of 200 to 300 ft (60 to 90 m) depending on torque and pull down/retract capacity of the drilling equipment and subsurface conditions of the formation(s) encountered. Saturated loose unconsolidated deposits further limit maximum depth that can be attained. Hollow-stem augers can act as casings set through unconsolidated surficial soils and drilling can be converted to other methods (see 2.5) for deeper drilling.

    Drilling and soil sampling can be accomplished with a variety of hollow-stem auger systems. Types of systems can be chosen depending on the advantages of handling, sampling requirements, and subsurface conditions. There are two basic types of systems. One type of system uses inner drill rods or hex rods connecting the sampler or pilot bit assembly to the surface for advancing and retrieving the sampler barrel or pilot bit assembly (Fig. 1 and Fig. 2 ). Another system uses a wireline latching system in the HSA column to lower, latch, and retrieve a core barrel or pilot bit assembly (Fig. 3 ).

    Double tube hollow-stem auger sampling systems can be particularly advantageous for sampling water-sensitive soils, such as collapsible soils, since fluid is not used in the drilling process. Since no pressurized circulation medium is used during the drilling process, the possibility for hydraulic fracturing of formation materials and core contamination from drill fluids is reduced.

    Difficulties in drilling may occur if cohesionless soils are drilled below the water table. Possibilities for sand lock or wedging of cuttings may occur (2). In cases where sands enter the HSA, water or drilling fluid may be added to the HSA column to provide hydrostatic balance or special pilot bit assemblies can be used (see 5.6). Problems may occur in getting the soil core barrel or pilot bit assembly back to the bottom of the HSA column. Highly saturated sands or liquefiable material may be drawn into the HSA by vacuum created when the sampler barrel or pilot bit assembly is initially pulled back through the cutter head of the lead auger assembly from the bottom of the borehole.

    Consideration should be given to proper decontamination and cleaning of drilling equipment, hollow-stem augers, samplers, and soil coring components.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice covers how to obtain soil samples using hollow-stem sampling systems and use of hollow-stem auger drilling methods for geotechnical exploration. This practice addresses how to obtain soil samples suitable for engineering properties testing.

    1.2 In most geotechnical explorations, hollow-stem auger drilling is combined with other sampling methods. Split barrel penetration tests (Test Method D1586) are often performed to provide estimates of engineering properties of soils. Thin-wall tube (Practice D1587) and ring-lined barrel samples (Practice D3550) are also frequently taken. This practice discusses hole preparation for these sampling events. For information on the sampling process, consult the related standards. Other in situ tests, such as the vane shear Test Method D2573, can be performed below the base of the boring by access through the drill string.

    1.3 This practice does not include considerations for geoenvironmental site characterizations and installation of monitoring wells which are addressed in Guide D5784.

    1.4 This practice may not reflect all aspects of operations. It offers guidance on current practice but does not recommend a specific course of action. It should not be used as the sole criterion or basis of comparison, and does not replace or relieve professional judgment.

    1.5 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.

    1.6 Hollow-stem auger drilling for geotechnical exploration often involves safety planning, administration, and documentation. This standard does not purport to specifically address exploration and site safety. 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 its use. Performance of the test usually involves use of a drill rig, therefore, safety requirements as outlined in applicable safety standards, for example OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) regulations, DCDMA safety manual (1), drilling safety manuals, and other applicable state and local regulations must be observed.


    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

    D420 Guide to Site Characterization for Engineering Design and Construction Purposes

    D653 Terminology Relating to Soil, Rock, and Contained Fluids

    D1452 Practice for Soil Exploration and Sampling by Auger Borings

    D1586 Test Method for Penetration Test (SPT) and Split-Barrel Sampling of Soils

    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

    D2488 Practice for Description and Identification of Soils (Visual-Manual Procedure)

    D2573 Test Method for Field Vane Shear Test in Cohesive Soil

    D3441 Test Method for Mechanical Cone Penetration Tests of Soil

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

    D4220 Practices for Preserving and Transporting Soil Samples

    D4428/D4428M Test Methods for Crosshole Seismic Testing

    D4700 Guide for Soil Sampling from the Vadose Zone

    D4719 Test Methods for Prebored Pressuremeter Testing in Soils

    D4750 Test Method for Determining Subsurface Liquid Levels in a Borehole or Monitoring Well (Observation Well)

    D5079 Practices for Preserving and Transporting Rock Core Samples

    D5092 Practice for Design and Installation of Ground Water Monitoring Wells

    D5434 Guide for Field Logging of Subsurface Explorations of Soil and Rock

    D5784 Guide for Use of Hollow-Stem Augers for Geoenvironmental Exploration and the Installation of Subsurface Water-Quality Monitoring Devices

    D5876 Guide for Use of Direct Rotary Wireline Casing Advancement Drilling Methods for Geoenvironmental Exploration and Installation of Subsurface Water-Quality Monitoring Devices


    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 81151902(Geophysical exploration)


    DOI: 10.1520/D6151-08

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