Determination of the Thermal Conductivity of the Insulation in District Heating Mains. Field measurements
Doktorsavhandling, 1994

This thesis concerns the development of a measurement method for determination in the field of the thermal conductivity of the insulation in buried district heating mains. The thermal conductivity of the insulation is calculated from the measured value of the radial heat flow through the heating main, the measured temperature difference across the insulation, and the dimensions of the heating main. The heat flow has been measured with a heat flux sensor which was fitted to the surface of the casing. The temperature has been measured with copper/constantan thermocouples. It is a necessary condition for the method used in the project for determination of the thermal conductivity of the heating main insulation that the heating main is uncovered and is not in contact with the surrounding soil over a distance of about 1.5 m and that the measurements are made directly on the heating main. In this way, no account need be taken of the material surrounding the heating main, nor of the effect of this material on the measurements. No interference is needed with the heating main which would affect the distribution of the district heating water, and the heating main can remain in operation during measurements. Shielding insulation consisting of preformed insulation sections which were placed over the casing of the heating main and covered the heat flux sensor and some of the casing. The function of this insulation was to shield the heat flux sensor from external thermal disturbances. In the field measurements, a copper guard plate of 0.5 mm thickness, the temperature of which could be adjusted, was also placed over the shielding insulation in order to maintain the temperature on the heat flux sensor as constant as possible. When temperature and heat flow are measured, the instruments used will be affected by conditions which prevail at the time of measurement. It is therefore very important to analyse the sources of error which may arise in the measuring situation at hand. The effect of these factors on the measured values has been studied by * laboratory measurements * theoretical calculations * field measurements On the basis of the resulting values of heat flows and temperatures obtained in field measurements on plastic heating mains which were operating under normal conditions, the thermal conductivity of the insulation of the main has been estimated. The method has been tested on plastic heating mains with directly foamed insulation, since this is the most common type of heating main both in the existing district heating network and in new construction. The measuring method can also be used on other circular heating mains.

measuring method

heat flux sensor

heat flow measurement

thermal conductivity

district heating main

field measurements


Margaretha Borgström

Chalmers, Institutionen för byggnadsfysik





Publikation - Chalmers tekniska högskola, Institutionen för byggnadsfysik: 94:2

Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 1039