A field study on the application of distributed temperature sensing technology in thermal response tests for borehole heat exchangers

Dingfeng Cao, Bin Shi, Hong-Hu Zhu, Guangqing Wei, Hainar Bektursen, Mengya Sun

Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment

2018, pp 1–15

Abstract: Although the enhanced thermal response test (ETRT) method has been used to determine the distribution of ground temperatures and effective thermal conductivities, there are a number of obstacles which limit the wide application of this technology in the discipline of geoengineering. In this literature, four aspects of ETRT technology were investigated: (a) acquisition of ground temperature, (b) installation of the heat exchange tubes, (c) optimization of the monitoring positions, and (d) the difference in thermal conductivity obtained by the ETRT and numerical simulation. To investigate these issues, a field trial was carried out in Heze, Shandong Province, China, and the corresponding numerical models were built. The results demonstrate that: (i) the conventional methods that infer undisturbed ground temperature using water in tubes have large errors, whereas the distributed temperature sensing (DTS) technique enables the measurement of precise temperature profiles; (ii) the thermal conductivity measured using double U-tubes reflects the soil thermal property more accurately than that for a single U-tube; (iii) it is more reasonable to install optical fibers outside the U-tube sidewall than inside the observation tube; and (iv) it is essential to quantitatively consider various interface thermal impedance when estimating ground thermal conductivities using numerical simulation.

Keywords: Distributed temperature sensing (DTS), Thermal response test (TRT), Ground-coupled heat pump (GCHP), Thermal conductivity, Fiber optic sensor 

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