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ASTM D5731_02 Determination of the Point Load Strength Index of Rock

International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM), Suggested method for
determining point load strength, 1972.
2. Australian Standard, AS 4133.4.1-1993: Method 4.1- Rock strength testsDetermination of point load strength index.
3. Broch, E and Franklin, J.A., The point load strength test


The method covers the determination of quick point load strength index of unprepared rock specimens
(cores, block or irregular lump) in the field. The portable point load apparatus consists of a small hydraulic
pump and ram, with a loading frame of maximum rigidity easily adjustable to test rock of different sizes. A rock
specimen is loaded between pointed platens of standard dimensions. The two quantities measured in the test
are the distance, D between platen contact points and the force, P, required to break the specimen, which is
read from a set of two load gauges (low range - 0 to 5.5kN and high range - 0 to 55 kN) in the hydraulic circuit.
The point load strength index, Is, is the ratio P/D . The weight and density of the test specimen is then
determined by linear measurements.
Rock samples containing sufficient material are selected for the required number of test specimens from
each domain of the rock mass for which point load strengths are required. Samples in the form of core are
preferred for more accurate strength classification. For routine testing, specimens shall be tested at close to
their in-situ moisture content. Loading rates shall be steadily and evenly applied such that failure is obtained 30
seconds to 3 minutes after commencement of loading. The test procedure varies with sample geometry and
rock anisotropy.

Procedural steps for axial, block and irregular lump test

1. Select and trim, using any convenient technique, rock lumps with a typical width of approximately 50
mm, and with a ratio of greatest to least dimension between 0.3 and 1.0 (see Figure).

2. Insert each lump in the loading device and close the platens to make contact along the greatest width of the
lump, away from edges and corners.

3. Increase the load to failure then record the distance (D).

4. Record the failure load (P) and failure mode for each specimen.

L > 0.5D
Minimum cross section
Area of plane through platen

0.3 W < D > W