ASTM D7503 - 10

    Standard Test Method for Measuring the Exchange Complex and Cation Exchange Capacity of Inorganic Fine-Grained Soils

    Active Standard ASTM D7503 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.04

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.09


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    ASTM D7503

    Significance and Use

    Fine-grained soils are used in waste containment systems as barriers to flow and contaminant transport. Liquids contained by these barriers can contain ions that may interact with the mineral surfaces in fine-grained soils.

    The liquid passing through the pores of fine-grained soil can interact with the mineral surface, and affect the physical and chemical characteristics of the soil. This method can be used as part of an evaluation of these interactions.

    Note 1—The quality of the result produced by this standard depends on the competence of the personnel performing the test 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 ensure reliable results. Reliable results depend on many factors. Practice D3740 provides a means of evaluating some of these factors.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method describes the procedures for measuring the soluble and bound cations as well as the cation exchange capacity (CEC) of fine-grained inorganic soils. Clay minerals in fine-grained soils carry a negative surface charge that is balanced by bound cations near the mineral surface. These bound cations can be exchanged by other cations in the pore water, which are referred to as soluble cations. The cation exchange capacity is a measure of the negative surface charge on the mineral surface. The CEC generally is satisfied by calcium (Ca), sodium (Na), magnesium (Mg), and potassium (K), although other cations may be present depending on the environment in which the soil exists. This test method was developed from concepts described previously in Lavkulich (1981) (1) and Rhoades (1982) (2). In soils with appreciable gypsum or calcite, dissolution of these minerals will release Ca in solution that may affect the measurement.

    1.2 In this test method, the soluble salts from the mineral surface are washed off with de-ionized water and then the concentration of soluble salts within the extract is measured. The bound cations of the clay are measured by using a solution containing an index ion that forces the existing cations in the bound layer into solution. The total concentrations of bound and soluble cations in this solution are measured. The CEC is measured by displacing the index ion with another salt solution and measuring the amount of the displaced index ion.

    1.3 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.

    1.4 All observed and calculated values shall conform to the guide for significant digits and rounding established in Practice D6026. The procedures in Practice D6026 that are used to specify how data are collected, recorded, and calculated are regarded as the industry standard. In addition, they are representative of the significant digits that should generally be retained. The procedures do not consider material variation, purpose for obtaining the data, special purpose studies, or any considerations for the objectives of the user. Increasing or reducing the significant digits of reported data to be commensurate with these considerations is common practice. Consideration of the significant digits to be used in analysis methods for engineering design is beyond the scope of this standard.

    1.5 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard, unless other units are specifically given.


    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

    D1193 Specification for Reagent Water

    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

    D6026 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Geotechnical Data

    E145 Specification for Gravity-Convection and Forced-Ventilation Ovens


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.080.10 (Chemical characteristics of soil); 71.100.40 (Surface active agents)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 11111501(Soil)


    DOI: 10.1520/D7503-10

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