Standard Historical Last Updated: Dec 16, 2011 Track Document
ASTM D1586-08a

Standard Test Method for Standard Penetration Test (SPT) and Split-Barrel Sampling of Soils

Standard Test Method for Standard Penetration Test (SPT) and Split-Barrel Sampling of Soils D1586-08A ASTM|D1586-08A|en-US Standard Test Method for Standard Penetration Test (SPT) and Split-Barrel Sampling of Soils Standard new BOS Vol. 04.08 Committee D18
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Significance and Use

This test method provides a disturbed soil sample for moisture content determination, for identification and classification (Practices D 2487 and D 2488) purposes, and for laboratory tests appropriate for soil obtained from a sampler that will produce large shear strain disturbance in the sample such as Test Methods D 854, D 2216, and D 6913. Soil deposits containing gravels, cobbles, or boulders typically result in penetration refusal and damage to the equipment.

This test method provides a disturbed soil sample for moisture content determination and laboratory identification. Sample quality is generally not suitable for advanced laboratory testing for engineering properties. The process of driving the sampler will cause disturbance of the soil and change the engineering properties. Use of the thin wall tube sampler (Practice D 1587) may result in less disturbance in soft soils. Coring techniques may result in less disturbance than SPT sampling for harder soils, but it is not always the case, that is, some cemented soils may become loosened by water action during coring; see Practice D 6151, and Guide D 6169.

This test method is used extensively in a great variety of geotechnical exploration projects. Many local correlations and widely published correlations which relate blow count, or N-value, and the engineering behavior of earthworks and foundations are available. For evaluating the liquefaction potential of sands during an earthquake event, the N-value should be normalized to a standard overburden stress level. Practice D 6066 provides methods to obtain a record of normalized resistance of sands to the penetration of a standard sampler driven by a standard energy. The penetration resistance is adjusted to drill rod energy ratio of 60 % by using a hammer system with either an estimated energy delivery or directly measuring drill rod stress wave energy using Test Method D 4633.

Note 1—The reliability of data and interpretations generated by this practice 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 D 3740 generally are considered capable of competent testing. Users of this practice are cautioned that compliance with Practice D 3740 does not assure reliable testing. Reliable testing depends on several factors and Practice D 3740 provides a means of evaluating some of these factors. Practice D 3740 was developed for agencies engaged in the testing, inspection, or both, of soils and rock. As such, it is not totally applicable to agencies performing this practice. Users of this test method should recognize that the framework of Practice D 3740 is appropriate for evaluating the quality of an agency performing this test method. Currently, there is no known qualifying national authority that inspects agencies that perform this test method.


1.1 This test method describes the procedure, generally known as the Standard Penetration Test (SPT), for driving a split-barrel sampler to obtain a representative disturbed soil sample for identification purposes, and measure the resistance of the soil to penetration of the sampler. Another method (Test Method D 3550) to drive a split-barrel sampler to obtain a representative soil sample is available but the hammer energy is not standardized.

1.2 Practice D 6066 gives a guide to determining the normalized penetration resistance of sands for energy adjustments of N-value to a constant energy level for evaluating liquefaction potential.

1.3 Test results and identification information are used to estimate subsurface conditions for foundation design.

1.4 Penetration resistance testing is typically performed at 5-foot depth intervals or when a significant change of materials is observed during drilling, unless otherwise specified.

1.5 This test method is limited to use in nonlithified soils and soils whose maximum particle size is approximately less than one-half of the sampler diameter.

1.6 This test method involves use of rotary drilling equipment (Guide D 5783, Practice D 6151). Other drilling and sampling procedures (Guide D 6286, Guide D 6169) are available and may be more appropriate. Considerations for hand driving or shallow sampling without boreholes are not addressed. Subsurface investigations should be recorded in accordance with Practice D 5434. Samples should be preserved and transported in accordance with Practice D 4220 using Group B. Soil samples should be identified by group name and symbol in accordance with Practice D 2488.

1.7 All observed and calculated values shall conform to the guidelines for significant digits and rounding established in Practice D 6026, unless superseded by this test method.

1.8 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard, except as noted below. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units, which are provided for information only and are not considered standard.

1.8.1 The gravitational system of inch-pound units is used when dealing with inch-pound units. In this system, the pound (lbf) represents a unit of force (weight), while the unit for mass is slugs.

1.9 Penetration resistance measurements often will involve safety planning, administration, and documentation. This test method does not purport to address all aspects of exploration and site safety. 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. Performance of the test usually involves use of a drill rig; therefore, safety requirements as outlined in applicable safety standards (for example, OSHA regulations, NDA Drilling Safety Guide, drilling safety manuals, and other applicable state and local regulations) must be observed.

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Book of Standards Volume: 04.08
Developed by Subcommittee: D18.02
Pages: 9
DOI: 10.1520/D1586-08A
ICS Code: 93.020