Journal article

Geotechnical analysis of heat exchanger piles

There is currently a lack of established calculation method for the geotechnical design of heat exchanger piles, although the technology is experiencing a fast expansion. Instead of quantifying the effects of temperature changes on the static behavior of heat exchanger piles, the common geotechnical practice is to apply a large overall security factor. This is done in order to be on the side of safety with respect to thermal effects. The few existing in situ experiments show that applying a thermal load induces a significant change in the stress-strain state of a pile. This paper presents a geotechnical numerical analysis method, based on the load transfer approach, which assesses the main effects of temperature changes on pile behavior. The method is validated on the basis of two in situ measurements of the loads and deformations experienced by heat exchanger test piles. The occurrence of critical design situations is further discussed. Some conclusions are formulated on concrete failure and the full mobilization of the pile shaft friction and base resistance during the operation of the heat exchange system.


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