Publication Abstract

Proceedings-DFI/EFFC 11th International Conference on Piling and Deep Foundations, 2014, Stockholm, Sweden, (DFI)

Assessing the Applicability of Thermal Response Testing To Energy Piles
Fleur Loveridge and William Powrie, University of Southampton, United Kingdom; Tracy Brettmann, A. H. Beck Foundation Co. Inc., USA; C. Guney Olgun, Virginia Tech, USA

Deep foundations are increasingly being used, not just to carry structural loads, but also to act as heat exchangers as part of a ground source heat pump system. Such foundations, often called energy piles, have the potential to make significant contributions towards meeting the heating and cooling demands of buildings, thus reducing the overall energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions during their lifespan. To ensure that the available energy from these systems is maximized, it is important to determine the thermal conductivity of the surrounding soils, a key design input parameter. In situ thermal response tests are commonly used to carry out this task for small diameter borehole heat exchangers. However, there has been debate over the applicability of these tests to energy piles due to their larger diameter and the consequent increased influence of the pile thermal properties on the test outcome. This paper examines the results of three thermal response tests carried out on piles of different diameters and thermal properties installed at the same site in Texas. Transient analysis of the test results, combined with comparisons to laboratory testing of soil samples from the site, is used to given an indication of the applicability of the thermal response test over different timescales for the different piles. It is concluded that the test is most suited to smaller diameter piles constructed with lower thermal diffusivity materials. Recommendations are given for the conduction of pile thermal response tests and interpretation of test data.

 article #1888; publication #100 (IC-2014)