Laboratory device to analyse the impact of soil properties on electrical and thermal conductivity

Open access


Gathering information about soil properties in an efficient way is essential for many soil applications also for very shallow geothermal systems (e.g. collector systems or heat baskets). In the field, electrical resistivity tomogramphy measurements enable non-invasive and extensive analyses regarding the determination of soil properties. For a better understanding of measured electrical resistivity values in relation to soil properties within this study, a laboratory setup was developed. The structure of this laboratory setup is geared to gather electrical resistivity or rather electrical conductivity values which are directly comparable to data measured in the field. Within this setup grain size distribution, moisture content, and bulk density, which are the most important soil parameters affecting the electrical resistivity, can be adjusted. In terms of a better estimation of the geothermal capability of soil, thermal conductivity measurements were also implemented within the laboratory test sequence. The generated data reveals the serious influence of the water content and also provides a huge impact of the bulk density on the electrical as well as on the thermal conductivity. Furthermore, different behaviour patterns of electrical and thermal conductivity in their particular relation to the different soil parameters could be identified.

Abu-Hamdeh N.H., 2003. Thermal properties of soils as affected by density and water content. Biosystems Engineering, 86(1), 97-102.

Abu-Hamdeh N.H. and Reeder R.C., 2000. Soil thermal conductivity effects of density, moisture, salt concentration, and organic matter. Soil Science Soc. America J., 64(4), 1285-1290.

Ad-hoc-AG-Boden, 2005. Bodenkundliche Kartieranleitung, KA5. Schweizerbart’Sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Hannover, Germany.

Andersland O.B. and Anderson D.M., 1978. Geotechnical Engineering for cold Regions. McGraw-Hill, New York.

Bai W., Kong L., and Guo A., 2013. Effects of physical properties on electrical conductivity of compacted lateritic soil. J. Rock Mechanics Geotechnical Eng., 5, 406-411.

Bertermann D., Klug H., and Morper-Busch L., 2015. A pan- European planning basis for estimating the very shallow geothermal energy potentials. Renewable Energy, 75, 335-347.

Bertermann D., Klug H., Morper-Busch L., and Bialas C., 2014. Modelling vSGPs (very shallow geothermal potentials) in selected CSAs (case study areas). Energy, 71, 226-244.

Corwin D.L. and Lesch S.M., 2005. Apparent soil electrical conductivity measurements in agriculture. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 46, 11-43.

Dahlin T. and Loke M.H., 1998. Resolution of 2D Wenner resistivity imaging as assessed by numerical modelling. Applied Geophysics, 38, 237-249.

Dahlin T. and Zhou B., 2004. A numerical comparison of 2D resistivity imaging with 10 electrode arrays. Geophysical Prospecting, 52, 379-398.

Decagon Devices, Inc., 2016. KD2 Pro Thermal Properties Analyzer - Operator’s Manual, Version February 29, 1-67.

Dehner U., 2007. Bestimmung der thermischen Eigenschaften von Böden als Grundlage für die Erdwärmenutzung. Mainzer geowissenschaftliche Mitteilungen, 35, 159-186.

Ewing R.P. and Hunt A.G., 2006. Dependence of the electrical conductivity on saturation in real porous media. Vadose Zone J., 5, 731-741.

Farouki O.T., 1981. Thermal properties of soils (No. CRRELMONO-81-1). Cold regions research and engineering lab., Hanover NH.

Friedman S.P., 2005. Soil properties influencing apparent electrical conductivity: a review. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 46, 45-70.

Giao P.H., Chung S.G., Kim D.Y., and Tanaka H., 2003. Electric imaging and laboratory resistivity testing for geotechnical investigation of Pusan clay deposits. J. Applied Geophysics, 52, 157-175.

Giordano N., Firmbach L., Comina C., Dietrich P., Mandrone G., and Vienken T., 2013. Laboratory scale electrical resistivity measurements to monitor the heat propagation within porous media for low enthalpy geothermal applications. Proc. Conf. GNGTS, November 19-21, Trieste, Italy.

Grisso R., Alley M., Holshouser D., and Thomason W., 2009. Precision farming tools: soil electrical conductivity, virginia cooperative extension. Publication, 442-508, 1-6.

Hümann M., Schüler G., Müller C., Schneider R., Johst M., and Caspari T., 2011. Identification of runoff processes - The impact of different forest types and soil properties on runoff formation and floods. J. Hydrology, 409, 637-649.

Kaufhold S., Grissemann C., Dohrmann R., Klinkenberg M., and Decher A., 2014. Comparison of three small-scale devices for the investigation of the electrical conductivity/ resistivity of swelling and other clays. Clays and Clay Minerals, 62(1), 1-12.

Kersten M.S., 1949. Thermal properties of soils. Bulletin of the University of Minnesota, 28, 1-227.

Liu X., Jia Y., Zheng J., Shan H., and Li H., 2013. Field and laboratory resistivity monitoring of sediment consolidation in China Yellow River estuary. Engineering Geology, 164, 77-85.

Logsdon S.D., Green T.R., Bonta J.V., Seyfried M.S., and Evett S.R., 2010. Comparison of electrical and thermal conductivities for soils from five states. Soil Science, 175, 573-578.

Loke M.H., Chambers J.E., Rucker D.F., Kuras O., and Wilkinson P.B., 2013. Recent developments in the directcurrent geoelectrical imaging method. J. Appl. Geophysics, 95, 135-156.

Malehmir A., Socco L.V., Bastani M., Krawczyk C.M., Pfaffhuber A.A., Miller R.D., Maurer H., Frauenfelder R., Suto K., Bazin S., Merz K., and Dahlin T., 2016. Near-surface geophysical characterization of areas prone to natural hazards: A Review of the current and perspective on the future. Advances in Geophysics, 57, 51-146.

Okpoli C.C., 2013. Sensitivity and resolution capacity of electrode configurations. Int. J. Geophysics, 1-12.

Rhoades J.D., Chanduvi F., and Lesch S., 1999. Soil salinity assessment; Methods and interpretation of electrical conductivity measurements. FAO Irrigation and Drainage paper, 57, 1-150.

Rhoades J.D., Raats P.A.C., and Prather R.J., 1976. Effects of liquid-phase electrical conductivity, water content, and surface conductivity on bulk soil electrical conductivity. Soil Sci. Soc. America J., 40, 651-655.

Samouelian A., Cousin I., Tabbagh A., Bruand A., and Richard G., 2005. Electrical resistivity survey in soil science: a review. Soil Till. Res., 83(2), 173-193.

Sangati M., Borga M., Rabuffetti D., and Bechini R., 2009. Influence of rainfall and soil properties spatial aggregation on extreme flash flood response modelling: An evaluation based on the Sesia river basin, North Western Italy. Advances in Water Resources, 32, 1090-1106.

Saxton K.E. and Rawls W.J., 2006. Soil water characteristic estimates by texture and organic matter for hydrologic solutions. Soil Sci. Soc. America J., 70, 1569-1578.

Sheets K.R. and Hendrickx J.M.H., 1995. Noninvasive soil water content measurement using electromagnetic induction. Water Resources Res., 31(10), 2401-2409.

Singh D.N., Kuriyan S.J., and Manthena K.C., 2001. A generalized relationship between soil electrical and thermal resistivities. Experimental Thermal Fluid Sci., 25, 175-181.

Sreedeep S., Reshma A.C., and Singh D.N., 2005. Generalized relationship for determining soil electrical resistivity from its thermal resistivity. Experimental Thermal Fluid Sci., 29, 217-226.

International Agrophysics

The Journal of Institute of Agrophysics of Polish Academy of Sciences

Journal Information

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 1.242
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.267

CiteScore 2017: 1.38

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.435
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.849

Cited By


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 151 151 25
PDF Downloads 47 47 6