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Error analysis of the thermal cell for soil thermal conductivity measurement

Error analysis of the thermal cell for soil thermal conductivity measurement
Error analysis of the thermal cell for soil thermal conductivity measurement
Soil thermal conductivity is an important factor in the design of energy foundations and other ground heat exchanger systems. Laboratory tests in a thermal cell are often used to determine the thermal conductivity of soil specimens. Two interpretation methods have been suggested. Analysis can be based on the assumption of one-directional heat flow and the thermal conductivity calculated using Fourier's law. Alternatively the lumped capacitance method can be employed, using results generated as a specimen cools. In this study, six samples of London Clay were tested using a thermal cell. A finite-element model of the tests was then used to determine the validity of the assumptions made in analysis. The model showed substantial heat loss through the sides of the specimens, which would have a significant impact on the calculated thermal conductivity. The conditions required for the lumped capacitance method to be valid were also found not to be met. Consequently neither analysis method is recommended. A better approach would be to pursue apparatus with fewer heat losses or transient testing techniques
energy site investigation thermal effects
1353-2618
191-200
Low, Jasmine E.
802ab459-ecfd-41dd-bd86-cf6975b45bf5
Powrie, William
600c3f02-00f8-4486-ae4b-b4fc8ec77c3c
Loveridge, Fleur A.
495228dc-4e97-4393-a1b5-7f1a1a800848
Low, Jasmine E.
802ab459-ecfd-41dd-bd86-cf6975b45bf5
Powrie, William
600c3f02-00f8-4486-ae4b-b4fc8ec77c3c
Loveridge, Fleur A.
495228dc-4e97-4393-a1b5-7f1a1a800848

Low, Jasmine E., Powrie, William and Loveridge, Fleur A. (2017) Error analysis of the thermal cell for soil thermal conductivity measurement. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Geotechnical Engineering, 170 (3), 191-200. (doi:10.1680/jgeen.16.00137).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Soil thermal conductivity is an important factor in the design of energy foundations and other ground heat exchanger systems. Laboratory tests in a thermal cell are often used to determine the thermal conductivity of soil specimens. Two interpretation methods have been suggested. Analysis can be based on the assumption of one-directional heat flow and the thermal conductivity calculated using Fourier's law. Alternatively the lumped capacitance method can be employed, using results generated as a specimen cools. In this study, six samples of London Clay were tested using a thermal cell. A finite-element model of the tests was then used to determine the validity of the assumptions made in analysis. The model showed substantial heat loss through the sides of the specimens, which would have a significant impact on the calculated thermal conductivity. The conditions required for the lumped capacitance method to be valid were also found not to be met. Consequently neither analysis method is recommended. A better approach would be to pursue apparatus with fewer heat losses or transient testing techniques

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 26 January 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 3 March 2017
Published date: June 2017
Keywords: energy site investigation thermal effects

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 415928
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/415928
ISSN: 1353-2618
PURE UUID: 08768ebc-9a62-47ca-9879-ef2e4c54b5a1
ORCID for William Powrie: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2271-0826

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 28 Nov 2017 17:31
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 01:38

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Contributors

Author: Jasmine E. Low
Author: William Powrie ORCID iD
Author: Fleur A. Loveridge

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