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Lab Services: Soil testing

Lab Services: Soil testing

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Test Method Title

Standard Test Method for Capillary-Moisture Relationships for Fine-Textured Soils by Pressure-Membrane Apparatus **ASTM has discontinued this method; the new industry-accepted standard test method is now ASTM D6836

Reference Number

ASTM D3152



Test Property

Capillary-Moisture Relationship

Description of Test

Saturated soil samples are placed in contact with a saturated porous membrane resting on a screen disk installed within a high-pressure chamber. The bottom of the membrane-screen assembly is maintained at a atmospheric pressure by means of a small drain tube or opening through the bottom of the pressure chamber. A desired air pressure admitted to the pressure chamber and consequently to the top of the membrane, creates a pressure drop across the membrane. The saturated soil samples on the membrane establish equilibrium with the water in the membrane. The water, held at a tension less than the pressure drop across the membrane, will then move out of the soil, through the membrane, and out through the drain hose. When water has ceased to flow from the sample and the membrane, indicating equilibrium for that particular tension, the moisture content of each sample is determined. A series of these tests at various tensions is required to prepare a complete curve of the capillary-moisture properties for any particular soil.

Preferred Test Sample Size

Number of Test Specimens

5 or more

Test Specimen Size

Material passing #10 sieve of approximately 25 g, either undisturbed or compacted into a 2 in diameter x 1 in test specimen cutter


Capillary-moisture, fine textured soils, pressure-membrane

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