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THERMAL CONE TEST TO

DETERMINE SOIL
THERMAL PRPERTIES
Ghassan Anis Akrouch, A.M.ASCE; Jean-Louis Briaud, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE;
Marcelo Sanchez, Ph.D., Aff.M.ASCE; and Recep Yilmaz, Ph.D., Aff.M.ASCE

Boris Galindo
CIVG 797
Term Project
Energy geostructures
Earthworks involving frozen soils
Ground improvement technics with thermal
methods
Measurement Soil Thermal Properties
Soil thermal properties be evaluated in the lab or by in-situ tests.
Laboratory test requires soil extraction, transportation and careful handling
which is costly and time consuming.
In- situ tests determine the soil thermal properties under the exact conditions
however they require a long time to complete the test.

TCT
A new transient in-situ test
Modified (CPT): soil stratigraphy, hydraulic and mechanical properties
obtained.
After some tests on modified CPTs the final TCT was made.
Less than 1 hour
Heat generated from the soil-cone friction
Measurement using TCT
Thermal conductivity , thermal diffusivity , specific heat capacity , and
volumetric heat capacity C

Mechanism: conduction, convection and radiation.


Radiation heat: transfers energy as electromagnetic waves and is negligible in soils, it
affects sands in less than 1%.
Heat convection: transfers energy between fluid to a solid body at different temperature,
important in groundwater flow
Heat conduction: at molecular level, temperature increase causes collision of molecules,
this is the most important process related to heat transfer in soils and is govern by Fouriers
Law.
Pore water pressure dissipation Heat dissipation
Methodology
1. In-situ TCTs were perform at three different locations and also soil samples were taken
for laboratory testing.
2. A numerical model is set to simulate the TCTs where part of the data was used to
calibrate the model and the rest was used to check the results.
3. The numerical model was used to obtain the experimental data, running many
simulations with different thermal properties, in each simulation t50 was found.
4. A-B-x and t50 from the heat dissipation equations were obtained from the results of the
numerical model.
5. Thermal properties of the soil samples were obtained in the laboratory.
6. The results from the heat dissipation equations were validated by comparing them to
the laboratory results.
In situ test Sites
In situ test Results The temperature decay
recorded in the tests for clay
show an immediate decrease of
temperature after the cone
stop penetrating. Contrary in
sands the tests showed and
immediate increase of
temperature in the first seconds
and then the temperature
began to decrease.
The increment of temperature
was calculated by the
difference in temperature
between two consecutive
readings divided by their length
separation. These results can be
used as a guide to estimate the
temperature increase per m of
penetration during the TCT.

Liberal Arts Building


Fulgro Yard

NGES (sand site)


In situ test Results Data Reduction
The final temperature (Tf) was not able to be obtained due to the short duration of the test,
Tf was calculated with the next hyperbolic equation using the experimental data

The parameter d and e were evaluated through a linear regression of the data
Laboratory Tests
The thermal shock method consists in
applying temperature to the boundaries of
the sample and measure it at the center until
it reaches a steady state.
Is important to notice that the boundary
conditions in the thermal shock are different
from the field during the TCT, therefore this
might affect the final value of thermal
conductivity.
Numerical Analysis

Given the conditions of low


temperature increment and
short time for the TCTs studied
in this article, it is assumed
that the main phenome is the
heat conduction. If the
thermal solicitation is under
unsaturated conditions, vapor
Liberal Arts Building transfer becomes an important
part in the heat transfer
process.
The density, porosity and liquid
degree of saturation were
Calibration Curve considered as a constant for all
numerical simulations.
The results from the numerical
simulations show that the relation
between vs t50 is nonlinear and
the volumetric heat capacity C has
a small impact on t50.
The experimental and simulated
results are very similar. The
numerical analysis curve location
was adjusted to fit the measured
data.