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Soil Thermal Resistivity Testing Basics

Soil thermal resistivity testing is a crucial stage in preparing to bury an underground utility line. The thermal resistivity of soil describes its ability to retain or dissipate heat.

You Need to Know Thermal Resistivity Before You Bury:

  • Power lines
  • Phone lines
  • Data lines
  • Petroleum pipelines
  • Solar power storage

Why Thermal Resistivity Matters

Heat retention is a key component of a reliable underground system for storing solar power. Heat dissipation, meanwhile, increases the efficiency of an underground power line or petroleum pipe. Adequate heat dissipation doesn’t only make a utility line more efficient — it can also help to prevent emergency situations such as melted wires. Knowing the thermal resistivity of the soil in which you intend to dig can also help you choose the best possible material when filling the hole.

Your Thermal Resistivity Testing Solution

Tempsand is proud to offer thermal resistivity testing to help you determine the feasibility of a site before you break ground. Our two-stage testing process includes testing the soil at the site in which you intend to install the cable or pipeline. The second stage takes place in our laboratory.

Thermal Resistivity Testing: On-Site Testing

Our Testing Equipment

To test the thermal resistivity of the soil at your proposed dig site, our engineers use a device consisting of a small probe and heater.

How We Test Thermal Resistivity

If you haven’t already broken ground at the dig site, we’ll create a hole to your specified depth and insert a probe. We pass a small amount of electricity through the heater to warm the soil, and we then gather measurements with the probe.

Accuracy Is Key

When testing the thermal resistivity of soil at a potential dig site, it is important to heat the soil as quickly as possible to prevent the movement of water in the soil from reducing the accuracy of the temperature measurements. We pulse heat through the soil and take extremely precise temperature measurements to minimize the effect of soil moisture.

Thermal Resistivity Testing: Laboratory Testing

Taking a Core Sample

To test the thermal resistivity of soil in a controlled environment, we’ll take a core sample from the proposed dig site and bring it to our laboratory. We also have the ability to remove rock samples.

Drying the Core Sample

After bringing the core sample or rock sample to our laboratory, we’ll thoroughly dry it to remove any existing water in the sample. Drying the sample allows us to measure the thermal resistivity more accurately since it gives us the ability to control moisture content within the sample.

Thermal Resistivity Under Varying Moisture Conditions

In laboratory testing, we’ll measure the thermal resistivity of a sample under various moisture conditions to determine whether the proposed dig site has suitable thermal characteristics. If the sample doesn’t have the appropriate characteristics, we’ll perform additional testing to help you choose an alternate filling material.

Contact Us Now

Before you break ground on a proposed dig site for a utility line, petroleum pipeline or any other purpose in which thermal resistivity is a factor, contact us for soil thermal resistivity testing. Our engineers look forward to discussing the specifics of your project with you.