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ASTM D4729-19

Standard Test Method for In Situ Stress and Modulus of Deformation Using the Flat Jack Method

Standard Test Method for In Situ Stress and Modulus of Deformation Using the Flat Jack Method D4729-19 ASTM|D4729-19|en-US Standard Test Method for In Situ Stress and Modulus of Deformation Using the Flat Jack Method Standard new BOS Vol. 04.08 Committee D18
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Significance and Use

5.1 Flat jack tests are useful to assess rock mass deformability and stresses in the design stages of projects as well as for issues with existing projects; for example, stresses around an underground opening. The in situ stress values can be used as an important parameter for interpretation and validation of test results and analytical models.

5.2 This test method has been successfully used for other applications such as concrete dams and masonry structures. This test method is similar to the techniques and equipment used in C1196 and C1197. However, this standard is written more for rock and where irregular surfaces may be involved and both in situ stress and deformability are obtained in one test.

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 this test method are cautioned that compliance with Practice D3740 does not in itself assure reliable testing. Reliable testing depends on many factors; Practice D3740 provides a means of evaluating some of those factors.


1.1 The flat jack test measures the natural or altered in situ stress at a rock surface either for a surface outcrop or an underground excavation surface. The modulus of deformation and the long-term deformational properties (creep) may also be evaluated for the applied stress range, however long-term creep is not covered by this method.

1.2 This method covers square flat jacks that are placed in a rock slot and if required encapsulated in the slot.

1.3 Deformation readings are taken at the surface, but this standard does not exclude deformation readings being taken below the surface, such as using a flat jack which is set up to obtain displacement data internally.

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 Limitation—The flat jack test measures the average stress normal to the surface of the test chamber, underground excavation, or outcrop. In situ stress levels must be determined by theoretical interpretations of these data.

1.6 Assumptions and Factors Influencing the Data: 

1.6.1 The stress relief is assumed to be an elastic, reversible process. In nonhomogeneous or highly fractured materials, this may not be completely true.

1.6.2 The equations assume that the rock mass is isotropic and homogeneous. Anisotropic effects may be estimated by testing in different orientations.

1.6.3 The flat jack is assumed to be 100 % efficient. The design and size requirements of 7.1 were determined to satisfy this requirement to within a few percent.

1.6.4 The jack is assumed to be aligned with the principal stresses on the surface being measured. Shear stresses are not canceled by jack pressure. Orientating the tests in three directions in each plane tested prevents the misalignment from being excessive for at least one of the tests.

1.7 Units—The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as 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-pounds shall not be regarded as nonconformance with this standard.”

1.7.1 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. The slug unit is not given unless dynamic (F=ma) calculations are involved. For standards involving the determination of mass or the use of density and unit weight, include the following numbered paragraph.

1.7.2 The slug unit of mass is typically not used in commercial practice; that is, density, balances, and so on. Therefore, the standard unit for mass in this standard is either kilogram (kg) or gram (g) or both. Also, the equivalent inch-pound unit (slug) is not given/presented in parentheses.

1.7.3 It is common practice in the engineering/construction profession to concurrently use pounds to represent both a unit of mass (lbm) and of force (lbf). This practice implicitly combines two separate systems of units; the absolute and the gravitational systems. It is scientifically undesirable to combine the use of two separate sets of inch-pound units within a single standard. As stated, this standard includes the gravitational system of inch-pound units and does not use/present the slug unit for mass. However, the use of balances or scales recording pounds of mass (lbm) or recording density in lbm/ft3 shall not be regarded as nonconformance with this standard.

1.8 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.

1.9 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: D18.12
Pages: 10
DOI: 10.1520/D4729-19
ICS Code: 93.020