This document specifies a basic method of determining the particle size distribution applicable to a wide range of mineral soil materials, including the mineral fraction of organic soils. It also offers procedures to deal with the less common soils mentioned in the introduction. This document has been developed largely for use in the field of environmental science, and its use in geotechnical investigations is something for which professional advice might be required.
A major objective of this document is the determination of enough size fractions to enable the construction of a reliable particle-size-distribution curve.
This document does not apply to the determination of the particle size distribution of the organic components of soil, i.e. the more or less fragile, partially decomposed, remains of plants and animals. It is also realized that the chemical pre-treatments and mechanical handling stages in this document could cause disintegration of weakly cohesive particles that, from field inspection, might be regarded as primary particles, even though such primary particles could be better described as aggregates. If such disintegration is undesirable, then this document is not used for the determination of the particle size distribution of such weakly cohesive materials.