Distributed Thermal Response Multi-Source Modeling to Evaluate Heterogeneous Subsurface Properties

Honglei Liu, Andrew J. Stumpf, Yu Feng F. Lin, Xiaobing Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A thorough assessment of thermal properties in heterogeneous subsurface is necessary in design of low-temperature borehole heat exchangers (BHEs). A distributed thermal response test (DTRT), which combines distributed temperature sensing (DTS) with a conventional thermal response test (TRT), was conducted in a U-bend geothermal loop installed in an open borehole at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to estimate thermal properties by analyzing the thermal response of different geologic materials while applying a constant heat input rate. Fiber-optic cables in the DTRT were deployed both inside the U-bend geothermal loop and in the center of the borehole to improve the accuracy of calculated heat-loss rates and borehole temperature profile measurements. To assess the subsurface thermal conductivity during the heating phase of the DTRT, a single-source model and a multi-source model, both based on the infinite line source method, were developed using the borehole temperature data and temperatures inside and along the outside of the loop, separately. The two models returned similar thermal conductivity values. The multi-source modeling has the advantage of predicting the thermal conductivity of heterogeneous geologic materials from borehole temperature profiles during the DTRT heating phase. In addition, based on the distributed thermal conductivity measured in the borehole, estimates were made for both radial thermal impacts and the rate of heat loss in the BHE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-236
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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