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    ASTM D4403 - 20

    Standard Practice for Extensometers Used in Rock

    Active Standard ASTM D4403 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.23

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.08


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    Significance and Use

    4.1 Extensometers are widely used in the field of engineering and include most devices used to measure displacements, separation, settlements, convergence, and the like.

    4.2 For tunnel instrumentation, extensometers are generally used to measure roof and sidewall movements and to locate the tension arch zone surrounding the tunnel opening.

    4.3 Extensometers are also used extensively as safety monitoring devices in tunnels, in underground cavities, on potentially unstable slopes, and in monitoring the performance of rock support systems.

    4.4 An extensometer should be selected on the basis of its intended use, the preciseness of the measurement required, the anticipated range of deformation, and the details accompanying the installation. No single instrument is suitable for all applications.

    4.5 In applications for construction in rock, precise measurements will usually allow the identification of significant, possibly dangerous, trends in rock movement; however, precise measurement is much less important than the overall pattern of movement.

    4.6 Data collection of extensometers can be simple or low tech, such as manual readings at the instrument location, or complex or high tech where there are electronic readings taken at the site and either downloaded at the instrument locations or transmitted to a data collection and analysis center.

    4.7 It is important to realize the pros and cons and costs between each type of extensometers. In the case of manual readings, not as much data may be collected, important data may be missed and the person taking the readings may be put in harm’s way and may not be able to safely continue collecting data just when the data is needed the most or becomes more important. Whereas, with electronic data collection as the system becomes more sophisticated, the data collected can be done more safely, provide important data that might be missed, and may allow for real-time data analyses that are timelier and more accurate.

    4.8 When very accurate measurements are dictated by certain excavations, for example, the determination of the tension arch zone around a tunnel opening, extensometers which can be adjusted in the field after installation shall be used. In all cases, the accuracy of extensometers, either determined through calibration, should be given in addition to the sensitivity of the transducers.

    Note 1: Notwithstanding the statements on precision and bias contained in this test method, 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 that meet the criteria of Practice D3740 are generally considered capable of competent and objective testing. Users of these test methods are cautioned that compliance with Practice D3740 does not in itself ensure reliable results. Reliable testing depends on many factors; Practice D3740 provides a means of evaluating some of those factors.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice covers the description, application, selection, installation, data collecting, and data reduction of the various types of contact type extensometers used in the field of rock mechanics. Laser or other non-contact extensometers are not covered here.

    1.2 Limitations of each type of extensometer system are covered in Section 5.

    1.3 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as the standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard. Add if appropriate, “Reporting of test results in units other than inch-pound shall not be regarded as nonconformance with this standard.

    1.4 All observed and calculated values shall conform to the guidelines for significant digits and rounding established in Practice D6026.

    1.4.1 The procedures used to specify how data are collected/recorded or 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 this standard to consider significant digits used in analysis methods for engineering design.

    1.5 The text of this standard references notes and footnotes which provide explanatory material. These notes and footnotes (excluding those in tables and figures) shall not be considered as requirements of the standard.

    1.6 This practice offers a set of instructions for performing one or more specific operations. This document cannot replace education or experience and should be used in conjunction with professional judgment. Not all aspects of this guide may be applicable in all circumstances. This ASTM standard is not intended to represent or replace the standard of care by which the adequacy of a given professional service must be judged, nor should this document be applied without consideration of a project's many unique aspects. The word “Standard” in the title of this document means only that the document has been approved through the ASTM consensus process.

    1.7 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.

    1.8 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

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

    D6026 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Geotechnical Data


    ICS Code

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

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 41114503(Extensometers)


    Referencing This Standard
    Link Here
    Link to Active (This link will always route to the current Active version of the standard.)

    DOI: 10.1520/D4403-20

    Citation Format

    ASTM D4403-20, Standard Practice for Extensometers Used in Rock, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2020, www.astm.org

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