Standard Historical Last Updated: Oct 21, 2022 Track Document
ASTM D5334-22

Standard Test Method for Determination of Thermal Conductivity of Soil and Rock by Thermal Needle Probe Procedure

Standard Test Method for Determination of Thermal Conductivity of Soil and Rock by Thermal Needle Probe Procedure D5334-22 ASTM|D5334-22|en-US Standard Test Method for Determination of Thermal Conductivity of Soil and Rock by Thermal Needle Probe Procedure Standard new BOS Vol. 04.08 Committee D18
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Significance and Use

5.1 The thermal conductivity of intact soil specimens, reconstituted soil specimens, and rock specimens is used to analyze and design systems involving underground transmission lines, oil and gas pipelines, radioactive waste disposal, geothermal applications, and solar thermal storage facilities, among others. Measurements can be made on site (in situ), or samples can be tested in a lab environment.

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. 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.


1.1 This test method presents a procedure for determining the thermal conductivity (λ) of soil and rock using a transient heat method. This test method is applicable for both intact specimens of soil and rock and reconstituted soil specimens, and is effective in the lab and in the field. This test method is most suitable for homogeneous materials, but can also give a representative average value for non-homogeneous materials.

1.2 This test method is applicable to dry, unsaturated or saturated materials that can sustain a hole for the sensor. It is valid over temperatures ranging from <0 to >100°C, depending on the suitability of the thermal needle probe construction to temperature extremes. However, care must be taken to prevent significant error from: (1) redistribution of water due to thermal gradients resulting from heating of the needle probe; (2) redistribution of water due to hydraulic gradients (gravity drainage for high degrees of saturation or surface evaporation); (3) phase change of water in specimens with temperatures near 0°C or 100°C.

1.3 Units—The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. No other units of measurements are included in this standard. 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 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 analytical methods for engineering design.

Note 1: This test method is also applicable and commonly used for determining thermal conductivity of a variety of engineered porous materials of geologic origin including concrete, Fluidized Thermal Backfill (FTB), and thermal grout.

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.

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: D18.12
Pages: 10
DOI: 10.1520/D5334-22
ICS Code: 13.080.20