ASTM D1883-99

    Standard Test Method for CBR (California Bearing Ratio) of Laboratory-Compacted Soils


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    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the determination of the CBR (California Bearing Ratio) of pavement subgrade, subbase, and base/course materials from laboratory compacted specimens. The test method is primarily intended for but not limited to, evaluating the strength of cohesive materials having maximum particle sizes less than 3/4 in. (19 mm).

    Note 1-The agency performing this test can be evaluated in accordance with Practice D3740. Not withstanding statements on precision and bias contained in this Standard: The precision of this test method is dependent on the competence of the personnel performing it and the suitability of the equipment and facilities used. Agencies which meet the criteria of Practice D3740 are generally considered capable of competent and objective testing. Users of this method are cautioned that compliance with Practice D3740 does not in itself assure reliable testing. Reliable testing depends on many factors; Practice D3740 provides a means of evaluating some of those factors.

    1.2 When materials having maximum particle sizes greater than 3/4 in. (19 mm) are to be tested, this test method provides for modifying the gradation of the material so that the material used for tests all passes the 3/4-in. sieve while the total gravel (+No. 4 to 3 in.) fraction remains the same. While traditionally this method of specimen preparation has been used to avoid the error inherent in testing materials containing large particles in the CBR test apparatus, the modified material may have significantly different strength properties than the original material. However, a large experience base has developed using this test method for materials for which the gradation has been modified, and satisfactory design methods are in use based on the results of tests using this procedure.

    1.3 Past practice has shown that CBR results for those materials having substantial percentages of particles retained on the No. 4 sieve are more variable than for finer materials. Consequently, more trials may be required for these materials to establish a reliable CBR.

    1.4 This test method provides for the determination of the CBR of a material at optimum water content or a range of water content from a specified compaction test and a specified dry unit weight. The dry unit weight is usually given as a percentage of maximum dry unit weight from the compaction tests of Test Methods D698 or D1557.

    1.5 The agency requesting the test shall specify the water content or range of water content and the dry unit weight for which the CBR is desired.

    1.6 Unless specified otherwise by the requesting agency, or unless it has been shown to have no effect on test results for the material being tested, all specimens shall be soaked prior to penetration.

    1.7 For the determination of CBR of field compacted materials, see Test Method D4429.

    1.8 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as the standard. The SI equivalents shown in parentheses may be approximate.

    1.9 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety problems, 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.

    ASTM Standards

    C670 Practice for Preparing Precision and Bias Statements for Test Methods for Construction Materials

    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))

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

    D2168 Practices for Calibration of Laboratory Mechanical-Rammer Soil Compactors

    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)

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

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

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

    D4429 Test Method for CBR (California Bearing Ratio) of Soils in Place

    D4753 Guide for Evaluating, Selecting, and Specifying Balances and Standard Masses for Use in Soil, Rock, and Construction Materials Testing

    D6026 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Geotechnical Data

    E11 Specification for Woven Wire Test Sieve Cloth and Test Sieves


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 93.020 (Earth works. Excavations. Foundation construction. Underground works)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 11111501(Soil)


    Referencing This Standard
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    DOI: 10.1520/D1883-99

    Citation Format

    ASTM D1883-99, Standard Test Method for CBR (California Bearing Ratio) of Laboratory-Compacted Soils, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 1999, www.astm.org

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