Experimental validation of the dynamic thermal network approach in modeling buried pipes

Saleh S. Meibodi, Simon Rees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The transient behavior of buried pipe systems plays a significant role in many heating and cooling systems, particularly in thermal energy networks and ground heat exchangers. In this study, the dynamic thermal network (DTN) approach’s validity as a response factor method in modeling dynamic conduction heat transfer in a buried pipe system is experimentally validated. A lab-scale representation of a buried pipe system has been excited by step changes in boundary temperatures and heat fluxes measured up to times approaching steady-state conditions. This data is used to derive weighting factors and also evaluate the validity of numerical representations of the buried pipe and to verify that the DTN method can reproduce the heat flux responses. It is demonstrated that the weighting factors required in this method can be derived from both numerical and experimental step-response time series data. The DTN method is found to be both accurate in reproducing the heat fluxes in the validation experiments but also significantly more computationally efficient than a conventional numerical model when simulating long timescale responses in buried pipe systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-605
JournalScience and Technology for the Built Environment
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2023


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