Active Standard ASTM D854 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.03
Book of Standards Volume: 04.08
Historical (view previous versions of standard)
These test methods cover the determination of the specific gravity of soil solids passing a sieve by means of a water pycnometer. Soil solids for these test methods do not include solids which can be altered by these methods, contaminated with a substance that prohibits the use of these methods, or are highly organic soil solids, such as fibrous matter which floats in water. Procedures for moist specimens such as organic soils, highly plastic fine grained soils, tropical soils, and soils containing halloysite and oven-dry specimens are provided. The apparatus is comprised of water pycnometer which shall be a stoppered flask, stoppered iodine flask, or volumetric flask; balance; drying oven; thermometer; dessicator; a system for entrapped air removal which shall be a hot plate or Bunsen burner or a vacuum pump or water aspirator; insulated container; non-corrosive smooth surface funnel; pycnometer filling tube with lateral vents; sieve; and blender with mixing blades. The specific gravity of the soil solids at the test temperature shall be calculated from the density of the soil solids and the density of water at the test temperature or from the mass of the oven dry soil solids; mass of pycnometer, water, and soil solids at the test temperature; and mass of the pycnometer and water at the test temperature. Precision and bias shall be determined to judge for the acceptability of the test results.
This abstract is a brief summary of the referenced standard. It is informational only and not an official part of the standard; the full text of the standard itself must be referred to for its use and application. ASTM does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contents of this abstract are accurate, complete or up to date.
Significance and Use
The specific gravity of a soil solids is used in calculating the phase relationships of soils, such as void ratio and degree of saturation.
The specific gravity of soil solids is used to calculate the density of the soil solids. This is done by multiplying its specific gravity by the density of water (at proper temperature).
The term soil solids is typically assumed to mean naturally occurring mineral particles or soil like particles that are not readily soluble in water. Therefore, the specific gravity of soil solids containing extraneous matter, such as cement, lime, and the like, water-soluble matter, such as sodium chloride, and soils containing matter with a specific gravity less than one, typically require special treatment (see Note 1) or a qualified definition of their specific gravity.
The balances, pycnometer sizes, and specimen masses are established to obtain test results with three significant digits.
Note 2—The quality of the result produced by these test methods 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 these test methods 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.
1.1 These test methods cover the determination of the specific gravity of soil solids that pass the 4.75-mm (No. 4) sieve, by means of a water pycnometer. When the soil contains particles larger than the 4.75-mm sieve, Test Method C127 shall be used for the soil solids retained on the 4.75-mm sieve and these test methods shall be used for the soil solids passing the 4.75-mm sieve.
1.1.1 Soil solids for these test methods do not include solids which can be altered by these methods, contaminated with a substance that prohibits the use of these methods, or are highly organic soil solids, such as fibrous matter which floats in water.
Note 1—The use of Test Method D5550 may be used to determine the specific gravity of soil solids having solids which readily dissolve in water or float in water, or where it is impracticable to use water.
1.2 Two methods for performing the specific gravity are provided. The method to be used shall be specified by the requesting authority, except when testing the types of soils listed in 1.2.1
1.2.1 Method A—Procedure for Moist Specimens, described in 9.2. This procedure is the preferred method. For organic soils; highly plastic, fine grained soils; tropical soils; and soils containing halloysite, Method A shall be used.
1.2.2 Method B—Procedure for Oven-Dry Specimens, described in 9.3.
1.3 All observed and calculated values shall conform to the guidelines for significant digits and rounding established in Practice D6026.
1.3.1 The procedures used to specify how data are collected/recorded and calculated in this standard are regarded as the industry standard. In addition, they are representative of the significant digits that generally should 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 reduce significant digits of reported data to be commensurate with these considerations. It is beyond the scope of these test methods to consider significant digits used in analysis methods for engineering design.
1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. The inch-pound units given in parentheses are mathematical conversions which are provided for information purposes only and are not considered standard.
1.5 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.
C127 Test Method for Density, Relative Density (Specific Gravity), and Absorption of Coarse Aggregate
D653 Terminology Relating to Soil, Rock, and Contained Fluids
D2216 Test Methods for Laboratory Determination of Water (Moisture) Content of Soil and Rock by Mass
D2487 Practice for Classification of Soils for Engineering Purposes (Unified Soil Classification System)
D3740 Practice for Minimum Requirements for Agencies Engaged in Testing and/or Inspection of Soil and Rock as Used in Engineering Design and Construction
D4753 Guide for Evaluating, Selecting, and Specifying Balances and Standard Masses for Use in Soil, Rock, and Construction Materials Testing
D5550 Test Method for Specific Gravity of Soil Solids by Gas Pycnometer
D6026 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Geotechnical Data
E11 Specification for Woven Wire Test Sieve Cloth and Test Sieves
E177 Practice for Use of the Terms Precision and Bias in ASTM Test Methods
E691 Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method