Standard Active Last Updated: Dec 07, 2018 Track Document
ASTM D5520-18

Standard Test Method for Laboratory Determination of Creep Properties of Frozen Soil Samples by Uniaxial Compression

Standard Test Method for Laboratory Determination of Creep Properties of Frozen Soil Samples by Uniaxial Compression D5520-18 ASTM|D5520-18|en-US Standard Test Method for Laboratory Determination of Creep Properties of Frozen Soil Samples by Uniaxial Compression Standard new BOS Vol. 04.08 Committee D18
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Significance and Use

5.1 Understanding the mechanical properties of frozen soils is of primary importance to permafrost engineering. Data from creep tests are necessary for the design of most foundation elements embedded in, or bearing on frozen ground. They make it possible to predict the time-dependent settlements of piles and shallow foundations under service loads, and to estimate their short- and long-term bearing capacity. Creep tests also provide quantitative parameters for the stability analysis of underground structures that are created for permanent use.

5.2 It must be recognized that the structure of frozen soil in situ and its behavior under load may differ significantly from that of an artificially prepared specimen in the laboratory. This is mainly due to the fact that natural permafrost ground may contain ice in many different forms and sizes, in addition to the pore ice contained in a small laboratory specimen. These large ground-ice inclusions (such as ice lenses, a dominant horizontal, lens-shaped body of ice of any dimension) will considerably affect the time-dependent behavior of full-scale engineering structures.

5.3 In order to obtain reliable results, high-quality intact representative permafrost samples are required for creep tests. The quality of the sample depends on the type of frozen soil sampled, the in situ thermal condition at the time of sampling, the sampling method, and the transportation and storage procedures prior to testing. The best testing program can be ruined by poor-quality samples. In addition, one must always keep in mind that the application of laboratory results to practical problems requires much caution and engineering judgment.

Note 1: 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 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 determination of the creep behavior of cylindrical specimens of frozen soil, subjected to uniaxial compression. It specifies the apparatus, instrumentation, and procedures for determining the stress-strain-time, or strength versus strain rate relationships for frozen soils under deviatoric creep conditions.

1.2 Although this test method is one that is most commonly used, it is recognized that creep properties of frozen soil related to certain specific applications, can also be obtained by some alternative procedures, such as stress-relaxation tests, simple shear tests, and beam flexure tests. Creep testing under triaxial test conditions will be covered in another standard.

1.3 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in 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 For the purposes of comparing, a measured or calculated value(s) with specified limits, the measured or calculated value(s) shall be rounded to the nearest decimal or significant digits in the specified limits.

1.4.2 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 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: D18.19
Pages: 8
DOI: 10.1520/D5520-18
ICS Code: 13.080.40