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Model specification to determine thermal conductivity of soils

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Barry Clarke, Ali Agab, Derek Nicholson MBE


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Developments in technology have led to an increasing interest in alternative sources of energy, which includes the ground and, in particular, the zone of influence of building foundations. The temperature in that zone in northern Europe is about 10-13 degrees C, which is about the mean air temperature. It is possible to take advantage of this stable temperature to cool/heat buildings by circulating liquid through a closed loop within this zone and passing it through a heat exchanger or heat pump connected to a circulation system within the building. The number of loops required depends on the difference in temperature between the building and the ground, and on the thermal properties of the ground. This paper describes a model specification for determining the thermal characteristics of soils and rocks obtained from routine site investigations. Tests on cylindrical specimens have been used to develop the equipment, test procedure and analysis. The results indicate that the technique is simple, reliable, and produces typical results for sand and clays.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Clarke BG, Agab A, Nicholson D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Geotechnical Engineering

Year: 2008

Volume: 161

Issue: 3

Pages: 161-168

ISSN (print): 1353-2618

ISSN (electronic): 1751-8563

Publisher: Thomas Telford Ltd.


DOI: 10.1680/geng.2008.161.3.161


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