ASTM D6519 - 08

    Standard Practice for Sampling of Soil Using the Hydraulically Operated Stationary Piston Sampler

    Active Standard ASTM D6519 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.02

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.09


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    Significance and Use

    Hydraulically activated stationary piston samplers are used to gather soil samples for laboratory or field testing and analysis for geologic investigations, soil chemical composition studies, and water quality investigations. The sampler is sometimes used when attempts to recover unstable soils with thin-walled tubes, Practice D1587, are unsuccessful. Examples of a few types of investigations in which hydraulic stationary piston samplers may be used include building site foundation studies containing soft sediments, highway and dam foundation investigations where softer soil formation need evaluation, wetland crossings utilizing floating structures, and hazardous waste site investigations. Hydraulically activated stationary piston samplers provide specimens necessary to determine the physical and chemical composition of soils and, in certain circumstances, contained pore fluids (see Guide D6169).

    Hydraulically activated stationary piston samplers can provide relatively intact soil samples of soft or loose formation materials for testing to determine accurate information on the physical characteristics of that soil. Samples of soft formation materials can be tested to determine numerous soil characteristics such as; soil stratigraphy, particle size, moisture content, permeability, sheer strength, compressibility, and so forth. The chemical composition of soft formation soils can also be determined from the sample if provisions are made to ensure that clean, decontaminated tools are used in the sample gathering procedure. Field-extruded samples can be field-screened or laboratory-analyzed to determine the chemical composition of soil and contained pore fluids. Using sealed or protected sampling tools, cased boreholes, and proper advancement techniques can help in the acquisition of good representative samples. A general knowledge of subsurface conditions at the site is beneficial.

    The use of this practice may not be the correct method for investigations of softer formations in all cases. As with all sampling methods, subsurface conditions affect the performance of the sample gathering equipment and methods used. For example, research indicates that clean sands may undergo volume changes in the sampling process, due to drainage. The hydraulically activated stationary piston sampler is generally not effective for cohesive formations with unconfined, undrained shear strength in excess of 2.0 tons per square foot, coarse sands, compact gravelly tills containing boulders and cobbles, compacted gravel, cemented soil, or solid rock. These formations may damage the sample or cause refusal to penetration. A small percentage of gravel or gravel cuttings in the base of the borehole can cause the tube to bend and deform, resulting in sample disturbance. Certain cohesive soils, depending on their water content, can create friction on the thin-walled tube which can exceed the hydraulic delivery force. Some rock formations can weather into soft or loose deposits where the hydraulically activated stationary piston sampler may be functional. The absence of groundwater can affect the performance of this sampling tool. As with all sampling and borehole advancement methods, precautions must be taken to prevent cross-contamination of aquifers through migration of contaminates up or down the borehole. Refer to Guide D6286 on selecting drilling methods for environmental site characterization for additional information about work at hazardous waste sites.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice covers a procedure for sampling of cohesive, organic, or fine-grained soils, or combination thereof, using a thin-walled metal tube that is inserted into the soil formation by means of a hydraulically operated piston. It is used to collect relatively intact soil samples suitable for laboratory tests to determine structural and chemical properties for geotechnical and environmental site characterizations.

    1.1.1 Guidance on preservation and transport of samples in accordance with Practice D4220 may apply. Samples for classification may be preserved using procedures similar to Class A. In most cases, a thin-walled tube sample can be considered as Class B, C, or D. Refer to Guide D6286 for use of the hydraulically operated stationary piston soil sampler for environmental site characterization. This sampling method is often used in conjunction with rotary drilling methods such as fluid rotary; Guide D5783; and hollow stem augers, Practice D6151. Sampling data should be reported in the substance log in accordance with Guide D5434.

    1.2 The hydraulically operated stationery piston sampler is limited to soils and unconsolidated materials that can be penetrated with the available hydraulic pressure that can be applied without exceeding the structural strength of the thin-walled tube. This standard addresses typical hydraulic piston samplers used on land or shallow water in drill holes. The standard does not address specialized offshore samplers for deep marine applications that may or may not be hydraulically operated. This standard does not address operation of other types of mechanically advanced piston samplers.

    1.3 This practice does not purport to address all the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use and may involve use of hazardous materials, equipment, and operations. It is the responsibility of the user to establish and adopt appropriate safety and health practices. Also, the user must comply with prevalent regulatory codes, such as OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) guidelines, while using this practice. For good safety practice, consult applicable OSHA regulations and other safety guides on drilling.

    1.4 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.

    1.5 This practice offers a set of instructions for performing one or more specific operations. This document cannot replace education or experience and should be used in conjunction with professional judgement. Not all aspects of this practice may be applicable in all circumstances. This ASTM standard is not intended to represent or replace the standard of care by which the adequacy of a given professional service must be judged, nor should this document be applied without consideration of a project's many unique aspects. The word Standard in the title means only that the document has been approved through the ASTM consensus process. This practice does not purport to comprehensively address all of the methods and the issues associated with sampling of soil. Users should seek qualified professionals for decisions as to the proper equipment and methods that would be most successful for their site investigation. Other methods may be available for drilling and sampling of soil, and qualified professionals should have flexibility to exercise judgment as to possible alternatives not covered in this practice. The practice is current at the time of issue, but new alternative methods may become available prior to revisions, therefore, users should consult with manufacturers or producers prior to specifying program requirements.


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.080.01 (Soil quality in general)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 11111501(Soil); 41113819(Soil analyzer)


    DOI: 10.1520/D6519-08

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