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Thermal and thermo-mechanical behavior of energy piles

Abstract : The thermal and thermo-mechanical behavior of energy piles is investigated by various approaches: laboratory measurement on small soil samples, physical modeling on small-scale pile, experiments on real-scale pile, and analytical/numerical calculations. First, the thermal conductivity of unsaturated loess is measured simultaneously with moisture content and suction. The results show a unique relationship between thermal conductivity and moisture content during a wetting/drying cycle while a clear hysteresis loop can be observed on the relationship between thermal conductivity and suction. Second, thermal tests are performed on a full-scale experimental energy pile to observe heat transfer at the real scale. Third, an analytical solution is proposed to simulate conductive heat transfer from an energy pile to the surrounding soil during heating. The above-mentioned tasks related to the thermal behavior are then completed by studies on the thermo-mechanical behavior of energy piles. On one hand, experiments are performed on a small-scale pile installed either in dry sand or in saturated clay. Thirty thermal cycles, representing thirty annual cycles, are applied to the pile under various constant pile head loads. The results show irreversible pile head settlement with thermal cycles; the settlement is higher at higher pile head load. In addition, the irreversible thermal settlement is the most significant during the first cycles; it becomes negligible at high number of cycles. On the other hand, the experimental work with small-scale pile is completed with numerical calculations by using the finite element method. This approach is first validated with the results on small-scale pile prior to be used to predict the results of full-scale experiments
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Van-Tri Nguyen. Thermal and thermo-mechanical behavior of energy piles. Géotechnique. Université Paris-Est, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017PESC1160⟩. ⟨tel-02003027⟩

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