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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - Soil Physics

Single- and Dual-Probe Heat Pulse Probe for Determining Thermal Properties of Dry Soils


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 75 No. 3, p. 787-794
    Received: June 16, 2010

    * Corresponding author(s): Bing.Si@usask.ca
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  1. Gang Liua and
  2. Bing C. Si *b
  1. a College of Resources and Environment China Agricultural Univ. Beijing 100094, PR China
    b Dep. of Soil Science Univ. of Saskatchewan Saskatoon, SK, S7N5A8 Canada


Heat pulse methods include the dual-probe (DP) and single-probe (SP) methods. The DP method is a widely used method for determining the thermal conductivity (K) and thermal diffusivity (β) of soil. The SP method has been traditionally used for measuring K only. The objective of this study was to examine if the SP method can be used to estimate the thermal properties of air-dried soils. The thermal properties of three sands were measured using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and the DP and SP methods. For the SP method, the small-time and large-time solutions of the perfect conductor model and hollow cylindrical probe model were fitted to the respective small-time and large-time temperature vs. time curves. Both K and β of the soil were determined by the SP method. The DP and SP methods yielded similar K values for the three air-dried soils with a relative deviation <6.1%. In comparison with the DSC measurements, the DP method overestimated the specific heat (c) by 19 to 29%, while the SP method with the hollow cylindrical probe model underestimated c by 21 to 8%, and the SP method with the perfect conductor model resulted in −4 to 7% error. Therefore, the SP method with the perfect conductor model gave the most accurate estimate of c.

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