11 Handling, transport and storage of samples

11.1 General

11.1.1 Handling according to this part of ISO22475 starts when the sample comes out of the sampling tool.

11.1.2 The relevant conditions of soil and rock samples that were present after the sample had come out of the sampling tool, shall be preserved.

11.1.3 National laws or safety regulations shall be considered when transporting samples known or suspected to contain hazardous material.

11.1.4 A separate traceability record shall accompany each shipment so that the possession of the sample is traceable from collection to shipment to laboratory disposition.

11.1.5 When transferring the possession of samples the persons(s) relinquishing and receiving the samples shall sign, date, record the time and check completely the traceability record.

11.1.6 Every soil and rock sample shall be protected at all times fromdirect sun light, heat, frost and rain.

11.2 Preservation materials and sample containers

The type of preservation materials and sample containers depend on the sampling categories (A, B, and C), and on the climate, transporting mode and distance. Preservation materials and sample containers include

  • a) sealing wax, e.g. microcrystalline wax;
  • b) metal discs, ca 2 mm thick and having a diameter slightly less than the inside diameterof the tube liner or ring and to be used together with wax or caps and tape;
  • c) waterproof duct tape;
  • d) caps, either plastic, rubber or metal, to be placed over the end of thin-walled tubes together with tape or wax;
  • e) O-ring (sealing and caps) used to seal the ends of samples within thin-walled tubes by mechanically expanding the O-ring against the tube wall;
  • f) jars with a lid, e.g. 250 ml, 500 ml and 1 000 ml;
  • g) plastic pails;
  • h) glass jars;
  • i) aluminium foil;
  • j) plastic bags;
  • k) packing material, to protect against vibration and shock;
  • l) insulation against temperature changes, e.g. granule (lead), foam;
  • m) shipping containers, either box or cylindrical type and of proper construction to protect against vibrations, shock and the elements to the degree required.

11.3 Handling of samples

11.3.1 Handling of soil and rock samples according to sampling categories A and B Plastic bags shall be placed around the sample as tight as possible. Lids of plastic pails and jars or glass jars shall be placed around the sample as tight as possible. Lids of plastic pails and jars or glass jars have to be airtight. Glass jars additionally need sealing rings for air tightness. Sample ends within tubes shall be sealed with plastic expandable packers or by a soil filling and end caps in order to maintain the conditions for a specified period (see Figure 9).

NOTE For long-term sealing, microcrystalline wax up to 15 % beeswax, paraffin or resin can be used to avoid shrinkage cracks. Cylindrical, cubic or other rock samples wrapped in plastic or aluminium foil can be further protected with three coats of wax.

11.3.2 Handling of water samples

The water sample containers shall generally be kept in the dark, filled and thermally-insulated or refrigerated, without any contact with materials that could affect the water quality. They should be transported to the laboratory daily.

11.4 Labelling of samples

11.4.1 All samples shall be immediately numbered, documented and labelled after sampling and sealed.

11.4.2 The label shall show the following information:

  • a) identification of the project;
  • b) identification of trial pit, borehole, etc.;
  • c) date of sampling;
  • d) identification of sample;
  • e) sampling category;
  • f) depth of the sample from reference level.

11.4.3 The samples shall be marked, so that there is no doubtabout the upper and lower end of the sample. The label should indicate the soil and rock type, the weathering and possible discontinuities from visual identification, if possible.

11.5 Transport of samples

11.5.1 Transport of soil samples Sampling category A Soils sample obtained according to sampling category A shall be preserved in their liners or in containers. Samples in core boxes shall be transported horizontally. Block and special samples without a tube shallbe wrapped in suitable plastic film or/and aluminiumfoil, and coated with several layers of wax or sealed in several layers of cheese cloth and wax. The samples shall be protected against vibration, shocks and extreme temperatures. Samples shall only be placed in solid boxes into which the samples fit snugly preventing bumping, rolling, dropping, etc. For all other methods of transporting samples, the sealed samples shall be placed in suitable shipping containers that provide cushioning or/and insulation for the sample or container. The cushioning material (sawdust, rubber, polystyrene, urethane foam, or material with similar resiliency) shall completely encase the samples in such a way that they are not disturbed during transport.

NOTE A satisfactory cushioning between samples and walls of the shipping container can have a minimum thickness of 25 mm. A minimum thickness of 50 mm can be provided on the container floor. The shipping container can be made from wood, metal, plastic or styrene and shall meet the requirements for the correct transportation of the sample.

Plastic or rubber cap   Packer before closing
a) Plastic or rubber cap   c) Packer before closing
Wax plug   Packer after closing
b) Wax plug   d) Packer after closing


  • 1 plastic or rubber cap
  • 2 soil to fill the space between end of tube and sample
  • 3 plastic sheeting
  • 4 sampler tube
  • 5 sample
  • 6 sealing lips
  • 7 metal plate
  • 8 rubber seal
  • 9 adhesive tape
  • 10 two layers of molten wax
  • 11 wax plug
Figure 9 – Examples of sealing and securing samples

ISO 22475-1 Sampling by drilling and excavation and groundwater measurements. Part 1: Technical principles of execution