ASTM D4373-02

    Standard Test Method for Rapid Determination of Carbonate Content of Soils


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    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the determination of carbonate content of soils and soft rock which can be readily broken down by mechanical effort. It is a gasometric method that utilizes a simple portable apparatus. Results should be clearly stated as the calcite equivalent in percent because different carbonate species cover a wide range of percent calcite equivalent as shown below for a number of carbonates:

    SpeciesCationCalciteEquivalent, %
    MagnesiteMg117.0
    DolomiteCa, Mg108.6
    CalciteCa100.0
    AragoniteCa100.0
    RhodocrositeMn87.1
    SideriteFe86.4
    SmithsoniteZn79.8
    WitheriteBa50.7
    CerrusitePb37.5

    For example, a 100 % dolomite would be expected to yield 108.6 % calcite equivalent while 100 % siderite would yield only 86.4 % calcite equivalent. Calcite and aragonite reactions will typically complete within about 10 min. This method does not distinguish between the carbonate species and such determination must be made using quantitative chemical analysis methods such as atomic absorption.

    1.2 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard.

    1.3 All observed and calculated values shall conform to the guidelines for significant digits and rounding established in Practice D 6026.

    1.4 The method used to specify how data are collected, calculated, or recorded in this standard is not directly related to the accuracy to which the data can be applied in design or other uses, or both. How one applies the results obtained using this standard is beyond its scope.

    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. For specific precaution statements, see Section 8.


    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

    C25 Test Methods for Chemical Analysis of Limestone, Quicklime, and Hydrated Lime

    D653 Terminology Relating to Soil, Rock, and Contained Fluids

    D3042 Test Method for Insoluble Residue in Carbonate Aggregates

    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

    D6026 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Geotechnical Data

    E11 Specification for Woven Wire Test Sieve Cloth and Test Sieves

    E145 Specification for Gravity-Convection and Forced-Ventilation Ovens


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.080.10 (Chemical characteristics of soil)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 11111501(Soil)


    Referencing This Standard
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    DOI: 10.1520/D4373-02

    Citation Format

    ASTM D4373-02, Standard Test Method for Rapid Determination of Carbonate Content of Soils, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2002, www.astm.org

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