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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Charles Remund


The focus of this research was to determine the relative magnitude of thermal contact conductance at the soil-pipe interface for typical soils. Soils have various physical, thermal and water holding properties which would vary the value of thermal contact conductance when used around buried heat exchangers. Knowledge of those properties which have the greatest effect on thermal contact conductance can be used to determine what soil types make good backfill materials around buried heat exchangers. The following sub-objectives were identified and completed to achieve the main objective: - A thermal probe was designed and constructed to measure thermal contact conductance between the surface of the probe and the soil packed around it. - A test procedure which simulated GSHP operation was utilized to determine the effect of long term operation in the heat dissipation mode on thermal contact conductance. - Thermal contact conductance tests were performed on a broad range of soils and measured thermal contact conductance values were compared over a range of applied thermal load, initial soil water content, and soil dry density.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Heat -- Conduction
Heat pipes
Soils -- Thermal properties
Soils -- Effect of temperature on




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