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ASTM D6032/D6032M-17

Standard Test Method for Determining Rock Quality Designation (RQD) of Rock Core

Standard Test Method for Determining Rock Quality Designation (RQD) of Rock Core D6032_D6032M-17 ASTM|D6032_D6032M-17|en-US Standard Test Method for Determining Rock Quality Designation (RQD) of Rock Core Standard new BOS Vol. 04.09 Committee D18
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Significance and Use

5.1 The RQD was first introduced in the mid 1960s to provide a simple and inexpensive general indication of rock mass quality to predict tunneling conditions and support requirements. The recording of RQD has since become virtually standard practice in drill core logging for a wide variety of geotechnical explorations.

5.2 The use of RQD values has been expanded to provide a basis for making preliminary design and constructability decisions involving excavation for foundations of structures, or tunnels, open pits, and many other applications. The RQD values also can serve to identify potential problems related to bearing capacity, settlement, erosion, or sliding in rock foundations. The RQD can provide an indication of rock quality in quarries for issues involving concrete aggregate, rockfill, or large riprap.

5.3 The RQD has been widely used as a warning indicator of low-quality rock zones that may need greater scrutiny or require additional borings or other investigational work. This includes rocks with certain time-dependent qualities that by determining the RQD again after 24 h, under well-controlled conditions, can assist in determining durability.

5.4 The RQD is a basic component of many rock mass classification systems, such as rock mass rating (RMR) and Q-System, for engineering purposes. See D5878 and 2,3.

5.5 When needed, drill holes in different directions can be used to determine the RQD in three dimensions.

5.6 The concept of RQD can be used on any rock outcrop or excavation surface using line surveys as well. However, this topic is not covered by this standard.

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 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 rock quality designation (RQD) as a standard parameter in drill core logging of a core sample in addition to the commonly obtained core recovery value (Practice D2113); however there may be some variations between different disciplines, such as mining and civil projects.

1.2 This standard does not cover any RQD determinations made by other borehole methods (such as acoustic or optical televiewer) and which may not give the same data or results as on the actual core sample(s).

1.3 There are many drilling and lithologic variations that could affect the RQD results. This standard provides examples of many common and some unusual situations that the user of this standard needs to understand to use this standard and cannot expect it to be all inclusive for all drilling and logging scenarios. The intent is to provide a baseline of examples for the user to take ownership and watch for similar, additional or unique geological and procedural issues in their specific drilling programs.

1.4 This standard uses the original calculation methods by D.U. Deere to determine an RQD value and does not cover other calculation or analysis methods; such as Monte Carlo.

1.5 The RQD in this test method only denotes the percentage of intact and sound rock in a core interval, defined by the test program, and only of the rock mass in the direction of the drill hole axis, at a specific location. A core interval is typically a core run but can be a lithological unit or any other interval of core sample relevant to the project.

1.6 RQD was originally introduced for use with conventional drilling of N-size core with diameter of 54.7 mm (2.155 in.). However, this test method covers all types of core barrels and core sizes from BQ to PQ, which are normally acceptable for measuring determining RQD as long as proper drilling techniques are used that do not cause excess core breakage or poor recovery, or both. See 6.3 for more information on this issue.

1.7 Only the RQD classification which correlates with the common tunneling classification that was presented by Deere2,3 is covered in this test method. Other classification systems are not covered specifically but are mentioned in general and if used shall not be regarded as nonconformance with this standard.

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 method used to specify how data are collected, calculated, or recorded in this standard is not directly related to the accuracy to which the data can be applied in design or other uses, or both. How one applies the results obtained using this standard is beyond its scope.

1.9 The values stated in either SI units or inch-pound units [rational values are given in brackets] 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. Reporting of test results in units other than SI shall not be regarded as nonconformance with this standard.

1.10 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 and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.11 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: 04.09
Developed by Subcommittee: D18.12
Pages: 9
DOI: 10.1520/D6032_D6032M-17
ICS Code: 13.080.99; 73.100.30