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January/February 2010

Petrographic Examination

Petrography is routinely performed on dimension stone for many construction projects in which new stone is being used, and it is often required in technical specifications. In order to facilitate this process, ASTM International Committee C18 on Dimension Stone has developed a new standard, C1721, Guide for Petrographic Examination of Dimension Stone. The new standard is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee C18.01 on Test Methods.

According to Laura Powers, a petrographer, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc., and an ASTM member, C1721 will serve as a practical standard to guide petrographers in describing, analyzing and reporting the characteristics that are important to architects and engineers in determining how a stone will behave or has behaved in service.

“In this standard, the petrographer who examines stone is directed to determine the proper scientific classification and to investigate characteristics that are important to the performance of the stone,” says Powers, who notes that there are certain performance expectations for any type of stone.

“When purchasing dimension stone, the purchaser, often through an architect, can reference C1721 and be confident that characteristics of the stone that relate to its future performance are identified and reported using standardized evaluation techniques,” says Michael Scheffler, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc., and a C18 member.

Scheffler says that all interested parties are welcome to join C18.01 in work on future revisions to C1721, particularly in expanding the description of more advanced evaluation techniques that are currently only briefly described in the standard.


Technical Information: Michael Scheffler, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc., Northbrook, Ill.

Phone: 847-272-7400

ASTM Staff: Jeffrey Adkins

Phone: 610-832-9738