Validity of Local Thermal Equilibrium Assumption for Heat Transfer in a Saturated Soil Layer

Chu Wang, Patrick J. Fox

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The assumption of local thermal equilibrium (LTE) between solid and fluid phases commonly is used for studies of heat transfer in saturated soil and is valid for a wide range of conditions. However, for certain conditions, the heat transfer process may give rise to local thermal nonequilibrium (LTNE) in which adjacent solid and fluid phases have different temperatures. This note presents the results of a numerical study of the validity of the LTE assumption for one-dimensional heat transfer in a saturated soil layer with fluid flow. For the conditions investigated, the LTE assumption holds for soil with particle sizes smaller than the gravel range. For soil with particles sizes in the gravel range and larger, the LTE assumption may be valid or invalid, depending primarily on fluid discharge velocity, with higher fluid velocity values more likely to produce LTNE conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number06023002
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

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