Standard Active Last Updated: May 20, 2021 Track Document
ASTM D5220/D5220M-21

Standard Test Method for Water Mass per Unit Volume of Soil and Rock In-Place by the Neutron Depth Probe Method

Standard Test Method for Water Mass per Unit Volume of Soil and Rock In-Place by the Neutron Depth Probe Method D5220_D5220M-21 ASTM|D5220_D5220M-21|en-US Standard Test Method for Water Mass per Unit Volume of Soil and Rock In-Place by the Neutron Depth Probe Method Standard new BOS Vol. 04.08 Committee D18
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Significance and Use

5.1 This test method is useful as a rapid, nondestructive technique for the measurement of the in-place water mass per unit volume of soil and rock at desired depths below the surface.

5.2 This test method is useful for informational and research purposes. The information acquired from this test method is best used for quality control and acceptance testing when correlated to actual water mass per unit volume using procedures and methods described in A1.2.3.

5.3 The non-destructive nature of this test method allows repetitive measurements to be made at a single test location for statistical analysis and to monitor changes over time.

5.4 The fundamental assumptions inherent in this test method are that the material under test is homogeneous and hydrogen present is in the form of water as defined by Test Method D2216.

Note 1: The quality of the result produced by this standard 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/sampling/inspection, and the like. Users of this standard are cautioned that compliance with Practice D3740 does not in itself assure reliable results. Reliable results depend on many factors; Practice D3740 provides a means of evaluating some of those factors.


1.1 This test method covers the measurement of the water mass per unit volume of soil and rock by thermalization or slowing of fast neutrons, where the neutron source and the thermal neutron detector are placed at the desired depth in the bored hole lined by an access tube.

1.1.1 For limitations see Section 6 on Interferences.

1.2 The water mass per unit volume, expressed as mass per unit volume of the material under test, is determined by comparing the thermal neutron count rate with previously established calibration data (see Annex A1).

1.3 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 are not necessarily exact equivalents; therefore, to ensure conformance with the standard, each system shall be used independently of the other, and values from the two systems shall not be combined. Within the text of this standard, SI units appear first followed by the inch-pound (or other non-SI) units in brackets.

1.3.1 Reporting of test results in units other than SI 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, and calculated in this standard are regarded as the industry standard. In addition, they are representative of the significant digits that should generally 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 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. Specific hazards are given in Section 8.

1.6 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: D18.08
Pages: 8
DOI: 10.1520/D5220_D5220M-21
ICS Code: 13.080.40