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Ground Water. 2011 Nov-Dec;49(6):932-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2010.00791.x. Epub 2011 Feb 9.

A review of thermal response test analysis using pumping test concepts.

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Département de Géologie et de Génie Géologique, Université Laval, 1065 Avenue de la Médecine, Québec G1V 0A6, Canada.


The design of ground-coupled heat pump systems requires knowledge of the thermal properties of the subsurface and boreholes. These properties can be measured with in situ thermal response tests (TRT), where a heat transfer fluid flowing in a ground heat exchanger is heated with an electric element and the resulting temperature perturbation is monitored. These tests are analogous to standard pumping tests conducted in hydrogeology, because a system that is initially assumed at equilibrium is perturbed and the response is monitored in time, to assess the system's properties with inverse modeling. Although pumping test analysis is a mature topic in hydrogeology, the current analysis of temperature measurements in the context of TRTs is comparatively a new topic and it could benefit from the application of concepts related to pumping tests. The purpose of this work is to review the methodology of TRTs and improve their analysis using pumping test concepts, such as the well function, the superposition principle, and the radius of influence. The improvements are demonstrated with three TRTs. The first test was conducted in unsaturated waste rock at an active mine and the other two tests aimed at evaluating the performance of thermally enhanced pipe installed in a fully saturated sedimentary rock formation. The concepts borrowed from pumping tests allowed the planning of the duration of the TRTs and the analysis of variable heat injection rate tests accounting for external heat transfer and temperature recovery, which reduces the uncertainty in the estimation of thermal properties.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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