Standard Test Method for Determination of Pore Volume and Pore Volume Distribution of Soil and Rock by Mercury Intrusion Porosimetry
This test method is intended for use in determining the volume and the volume distribution of pores in soil and rock with respect to the apparent diameter of the entrances of the pores. In general, both the size and volume of the pores affects the soil or rock performance. Thus, the pore volume distribution is useful in understanding soil and rock performance and in identifying a material that can be expected to perform in a particular manner (1, 2).4
1.1 This test method covers the determination of the pore volume and the pore volume distributions of soil and rock by the mercury intrusion porosimetry method. The range of apparent diameters of pores for which this test method is applicable is fixed by the operant pressure range of the testing instrument. This range is typically between apparent pore entrance diameters of about 100 [mu]m and 2.5 nm (0.0025 [mu]m). Larger pores must be measured by another method.
1.2 Mercury intrusion porosimetry is useful only for measuring pores open to the outside of a soil or rock fragment; mercury intrusion porosimetry will not give the volume of any pores completely enclosed by surrounding solids. This test method will give only the volume of intrudable pores that have an apparent diameter corresponding to a pressure within the pressurizing range of the testing instrument.
1.3 The intrusion process proceeds from the outside of a fragment toward its center. Comparatively large interior pores can exist that have smaller pores as the only means of access. Mercury intrusion porosimetry will incorrectly register the entire volume of these "ink-bottle" pores as having the apparent diameter of the smaller access pores. In a test sample, inter-fragment pores can exist in addition to intra-fragment pores (see Section 3 for definitions). The inter-fragment pores will vary in size and volume depending on the size and shape of the soil or rock fragments and on the manner in which the fragments are packed together. It is possible that some inter-fragment pores can have the same apparent diameter as some intra-fragment pores. When this occurs this test method cannot distinguish between them. Thus, the test method yields an intruded pore volume distribution that is in part dependent upon the packing of multifragment samples. However, most soils and rocks have intra-fragment pores much smaller than the inter-fragment pores. This situation leads to a bi-modal pore size distribution and the distinction between the two classes of pores can then be made (see Figs. 1 and 2).
1.4 Mercury intrusion may involve the application of high pressures to the sample. This may result in a temporary, or permanent, or temporary and permanent alteration in the pore geometry. Generally, soils and rocks are composed of comparatively strong solids and are less subject to these alterations than certain other materials. However, the possibility remains that the use of this test method may alter the natural pore volume distribution that is being measured.
1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety problems, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to consult and establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use. For specific precaution statements, see Section 8.
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