Standard Active Last Updated: Aug 08, 2023 Track Document
ASTM D4718/D4718M-15(2023)

Standard Practice for Correction of Unit Weight and Water Content for Soils Containing Oversize Particles

Standard Practice for Correction of Unit Weight and Water Content for Soils Containing Oversize Particles D4718_D4718M-15R23 ASTM|D4718_D4718M-15R23|en-US Standard Practice for Correction of Unit Weight and Water Content for Soils Containing Oversize Particles Standard new BOS Vol. 04.08 Committee D18
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Significance and Use

4.1 Compaction tests on soils performed in accordance with Test Methods D698, D1557, D4253, and D7382 place limitations on the maximum size of particles that may be used in the test. If a soil contains cobbles or gravel, or both, test options may be selected which result in particles retained on a specific sieve being discarded (for example the 4.75-mm [No. 4], the 19-mm [3/4-in.] or other appropriate size) and the test performed on the finer fraction. The unit weight-water content relations determined by the tests reflect the characteristics of the actual material tested, and not the characteristics of the total soil material from which the test specimen was obtained.

4.2 It is common engineering practice to use laboratory compaction tests for the design, specification, and construction control of soils used in earth construction. If a soil used in construction contains large particles, and only the finer fraction is used for laboratory tests, some method of correcting the laboratory test results to reflect the characteristics of the total soil is needed. This practice provides a mathematical equation for correcting the unit weight and water content of the finer fraction of a soil, tested to determine the unit weight and water content of the total soil.

4.3 Similarly, as utilized in Test Methods D1556/D1556M, D2167, D6938, D7698, and D7830/D7830M, this practice provides a means for correcting the unit weight and water content of field compacted samples of the total soil, so that values can be compared with those for a laboratory compacted finer fraction.

Note 2: The quality of the result produced by this standard 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/sampling/inspection/etc. Users of this standard are cautioned that compliance with Practice D3740 does not in itself ensure reliable results. Reliable results depend on many factors; Practice D3740 provides a means of evaluating some of those factors.

Note 3: When this practice is used for construction control, the using agency should specify whether the maximum unit weight value used for reference is the unit weight including oversize fraction or the unit weight of the finer fraction. Calculated values of percent compaction based on this correction practice will vary depending on which unit weight value is used for reference.


1.1 This practice presents a procedure for calculating the unit weights and water contents of soils containing oversize particles when the data are known for the soil fraction with the oversize particles removed.

1.2 This practice also can be used to calculate the unit weights and water contents of soil fractions when the data are known for the total soil sample containing oversize particles.

1.3 This practice is based on tests performed on soils and soil-rock mixtures in which the portion considered oversize is that fraction of the material retained on the 4.75-mm [No. 4] sieve. Based on these tests, this practice is applicable to soils and soil-rock mixtures in which up to 40 % of the material is retained on the 4.75-mm [No. 4] sieve. The practice also is considered valid when the oversize fraction is that portion retained on some other sieve, but the limiting percentage of oversize particles for which the correction is valid may be lower. However, the practice is considered valid for materials having up to 30 % oversize particles when the oversize fraction is that portion retained on the 19-mm [3/4-in.] sieve.

1.4 The factor controlling the maximum permissible percentage of oversize particles is whether interference between the oversize particles affects the unit weight of the finer fraction. For some gradations, this interference may begin to occur at lower percentages of oversize particles, so the limiting percentage must be lower for these materials to avoid inaccuracies in the computed correction. The person or agency using this practice shall determine whether a lower percentage is to be used.

1.5 This practice may be applied to soils with any percentage of oversize particles subject to the limitations given in 1.3 and 1.4. However, the correction may not be of practical significance for soils with only small percentages of oversize particles. The person or agency specifying this practice shall specify a minimum percentage of oversize particles below which the practice need not be applied. If a minimum percentage is not specified, 5 % shall be used.

1.6 This practice may not be applicable to soil-rock mixtures which degrade under field compaction.

1.7 Units—The values stated in either SI Units or inch-pound units are to be regarded separately as standard. The values stated in each system may not be exact equivalents; therefore, each system shall be used independently of the other. Combining values from the two systems may result in non-conformance with the standard.

1.7.1 It is common practice in the engineering profession to concurrently use pounds to represent both a unit of mass (lbm) and a force (lbf). This implicitly combines two separate systems of units; that is, the absolute system and the gravitational system. It is scientifically undesirable to combine the use of two separate sets of inch-pound units within a single standard. This standard has been written using the gravitational system of units when dealing with the inch-pound system. In this system, the pound (lbf) represents a unit of force (weight). However, the use of balances or scales recording pounds of mass (lbm) or the recording of density in lbm/ft3 shall not be regarded as a non conformance with this standard.

Note 1: Sieve size is identified by its standard designation in Specification E11. The alternative designation given in brackets is for information only and does not represent a different standard sieve size.

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

1.8.1 The procedures used to specify how data are collected/recorded and 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 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 commensurate with these considerations. It is beyond the scope of these test methods to consider significant digits used in analysis methods for engineering design.

1.9 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 practice 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.

1.10 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.

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Book of Standards Volume: 04.08
Developed by Subcommittee: D18.03
Pages: 4
DOI: 10.1520/D4718_D4718M-15R23
ICS Code: 93.020