ASTM D7263-09(2018)

    Standard Test Methods for Laboratory Determination of Density (Unit Weight) of Soil Specimens


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    1. Scope

    1.1 These test methods describe two ways of determining the total/moist and dry densities (unit weights) of intact, disturbed, remolded, and reconstituted (compacted) soil specimens. Density (unit weight) as used in this standard means the same as “bulk density” of soil as defined by the Soil Science Society of America. Intact specimens may be obtained from thin-walled sampling tubes, block samples, or clods. Specimens that are remolded by dynamic or static compaction procedures may also be measured by these methods. These methods apply to soils that will retain their shape during the measurement process and may also apply to other materials such as soil-cement, soil-lime, soil-bentonite or solidified soil-bentonite-cement slurries. It is common for the density (unit weight) of specimens after removal from sampling tubes and compaction molds to be less than the value based on tube or mold volumes, or of in situ conditions. This is due to the specimen swelling after removal of lateral pressures.

    1.1.1 Method A covers the procedure for measuring the volume of wax coated specimens by determining the quantity of water displaced.

    1.1.1.1 This method only applies to specimens in which the wax will not penetrate the outer surface of the specimen.

    1.1.2 Method B covers the procedure by means of the direct measurement of the dimensions and mass of a specimen, usually one of cylindrical shape. Intact and reconstituted/remolded specimens may be tested by this method in conjunction with strength, permeability (air/water) and compressibility determinations.

    1.2 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. The values stated in inch-pound units are approximate.

    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 method used to specify how data are collected, calculated, or recorded in this standard is not directly related to the accuracy with 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.

    1.4 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, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

    1.5 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.


    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

    D698 Test Methods for Laboratory Compaction Characteristics of Soil Using Standard Effort (12,400 ft-lbf/ft3 (600 kN-m/m3))

    D854 Test Methods for Specific Gravity of Soil Solids by Water Pycnometer

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

    D1587/D1587M Practice for Thin-Walled Tube Sampling of Fine-Grained Soils for Geotechnical Purposes

    D2166/D2166M Test Method for Unconfined Compressive Strength of Cohesive Soil

    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 Procedures)

    D3550/D3550M Practice for Thick Wall, Ring-Lined, Split Barrel, Drive Sampling of Soils

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

    D4220/D4220M Practices for Preserving and Transporting Soil Samples

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

    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

    E2251 Specification for Liquid-in-Glass ASTM Thermometers with Low-Hazard Precision Liquids

    Other Reference

    Soil Science Society of America Glossary of Soil Science Terms Available online: www.soils.org/publications/soils-glossary


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.080.20 (Physical properties of soil)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 11111501(Soil)


    Referencing This Standard
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    DOI: 10.1520/D7263-09R18

    Citation Format

    ASTM D7263-09(2018), Standard Test Methods for Laboratory Determination of Density (Unit Weight) of Soil Specimens, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2018, www.astm.org

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