ASTM D7830 / D7830M - 13

    Standard Test Method for In-Place Density (Unit Weight) and Water Content of Soil Using an Electromagnetic Soil Density Gauge

    Active Standard ASTM D7830 / D7830M | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.08

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.09


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 The method described determines wet density and water content by correlating complex impedance measurement data to an empirically developed model. The empirical model is generated by comparing the electrical properties of typical soils encountered in civil construction projects to their wet densities and water contents determined by other accepted methods.

    5.2 The test method described is useful as a rapid, non-destructive technique for determining the in-place total density and water content of soil and soil-aggregate mixtures and the determination of dry density.

    5.3 This method may be used for quality control and acceptance of compacted soil and soil-aggregate mixtures as used in construction and also for research and development. The non-destructive nature allows for repetitive measurements at a single test location and statistical analysis of the results.

    Note 2The quality of the result produced by this standard test method is dependent on the competence of the personnel performing it, and the suitability of the equipment and facilities used. Agencies that meet the requirements of Practice D3740 are generally considered capable of competent and objective sampling/testing/inspection, and the like. 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 evaluation some of those factors.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the procedures for determining in-place properties of non-frozen, unbound soil and soil aggregate mixtures such as total density, gravimetric water content and relative compaction by measuring the electromagnetic impedance of the compacted soil.

    1.1.1 The method and device described in this test method are intended for in-process quality control of earthwork projects. Site or material characterization is not an intended result.

    1.2 Units—The values stated in either SI units or inch-pound units [given 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.

    1.2.1 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 in this standard.

    1.2.2 In the engineering profession, it is customary practice to use, interchangeably, units representing both mass and force, unless dynamic calculations are involved. This implicitly combines two separate systems of units, that is, the absolute system and the gravimetric system. It is undesirable to combine the use of two separate systems within a single standard. The use of balances or scales recording pounds of mass (lbm), or the recording of density in lbm/ft3 should not be regarded as nonconformance with this standard.

    1.3 All observed and calculated values shall conform to the Guide for Significant Digits and Rounding established in Practice D6026.

    1.3.1 The procedures used to specify how data is collected, recorded, and calculated in this standard are regarded as 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 decrease the number of significant digits of reported data commensurate with these considerations. It is beyond the scope of this standard to consider significant digits used in the analysis methods for engineering design.

    1.4 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.

    Note 1ASTM International takes no position respecting the validity of any patent rights asserted in connection with any item mentioned in this standard. Users of this standard are expressly advised that determination of the validity of any such patent rights, and the risk of infringement of such rights, are entirely their own responsibility.


    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

    D422 Test Method for Particle-Size Analysis of Soils

    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))

    D1556 Test Method for Density and Unit Weight of Soil in Place by Sand-Cone Method

    D1557 Test Methods for Laboratory Compaction Characteristics of Soil Using Modified Effort (56,000 ft-lbf/ft3 (2,700 kN-m/m3))

    D2167 Test Method for Density and Unit Weight of Soil in Place by the Rubber Balloon Method

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

    D2937 Test Method for Density of Soil in Place by the Drive-Cylinder Method

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

    D4253 Test Methods for Maximum Index Density and Unit Weight of Soils Using a Vibratory Table

    D4254 Test Methods for Minimum Index Density and Unit Weight of Soils and Calculation of Relative Density

    D4318 Test Methods for Liquid Limit, Plastic Limit, and Plasticity Index of Soils

    D4643 Test Method for Determination of Water (Moisture) Content of Soil by Microwave Oven Heating

    D4718 Practice for Correction of Unit Weight and Water Content for Soils Containing Oversize Particles

    D4944 Test Method for Field Determination of Water (Moisture) Content of Soil by the Calcium Carbide Gas Pressure Tester

    D4959 Test Method for Determination of Water (Moisture) Content of Soil By Direct Heating

    D6026 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Geotechnical Data

    D6938 Test Method for In-Place Density and Water Content of Soil and Soil-Aggregate by Nuclear Methods (Shallow Depth)

    D7382 Test Methods for Determination of Maximum Dry Unit Weight and Water Content Range for Effective Compaction of Granular Soils Using a Vibrating Hammer

    E691 Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.080.20 (Physical properties of soil)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 41103320(Density measurement instrument)


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/D7830_D7830M-13

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM D7830 / D7830M-13, Standard Test Method for In-Place Density (Unit Weight) and Water Content of Soil Using an Electromagnetic Soil Density Gauge, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2013, www.astm.org

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