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ASTM D 4318 : 2017


Status of Standard is Unknown

Standard Test Methods for Liquid Limit, Plastic Limit, and Plasticity Index of Soils
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1.1These test methods cover the determination of the liquid limit, plastic limit, and the plasticity index of soils as defined in Section 3 on Terminology.

1.2Two procedures for preparing test specimens are provided as follows: Specimen Preparation Procedure 1 (Wet Preparation), as described in 11.1 and Specimen Preparation Procedure 2 (Dry Preparation), as described in 11.2. The specimen preparation procedure to be used shall be specified by the requesting authority. If no specimen preparation procedure is specified, use the wet preparation procedure. (See Section 6, Interferences.)

1.3Two methods for determining the liquid limit are provided as follows: Liquid Limit Method A (Multipoint Method), as described in Sections 12 and 13, and Liquid Limit Method B (One-Point Method), as described in Sections 14 and 15. The method to be used shall be specified by the requesting authority. If no method is specified, use Method A. (See Section 6, Interferences.)

1.4The plastic limit test, Method for Plastic Limit, is performed on material prepared for the liquid limit test. When determining the plastic limit, two procedures for rolling portions of the test specimen are provided as follows: Plastic Limit Rolling Procedure 1 (Hand Rolling), and Plastic Limit Rolling Procedure 2 (Using the Rolling Device).

1.5The liquid limit and plastic limit of soils (along with the shrinkage limit) are often collectively referred to as the Atterberg limits. These limits distinguished the boundaries of the several consistency states of plastic soils.

1.6The plasticity index, Method for Plasticity Index, is calculated using results from liquid limit and plastic limit testing.

1.7The methods described herein are performed only on that portion of a soil that passes the 425-μm (No. 40) sieve. Therefore, the relative contribution of this portion of the soil to the properties of the sample as a whole must be considered when using these methods to evaluate the properties of a soil.

1.8The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to inch-pound units, which are provided for information only and are not considered standard. Reporting of test results in units other than SI shall not be regarded as nonconformance with this standard.

1.8.1The converted inch-pound units use the gravitational system of units. In this system, the pound (lbf) represents a unit of force (weight), while the unit for mass is slugs. The converted slug unit is not given, unless dynamic (F = ma) calculations are involved.

1.8.2It 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 implicitly combines two separate systems of units; that is, the absolute system and the gravitational system. 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.

1.8.3The “alternative” sieve size designations listed in Specification E11 for the 425-µm and 2.00-mm sieves are given in parentheses following the “standard” designations, that is, 425-µm (No. 40) and 2.00-mm (No. 10).

1.8.4The standard units for the resilience tester covered in Annex A1 are inch-pound, not SI. The SI values given in Fig. A1.1 are for information only.

1.9All observed and calculated values shall conform to the guidelines for significant digits and rounding established in Practice D6026.

1.9.1For 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.

1.9.2The 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 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.

1.10This 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.

1.11This 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.

D 18
Test Method
American Society for Testing and Materials

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