Consulting Solutions: Thermal Analysis in Arctic Regions

 


Problem:

In northern climates it is often useful to understand the potential movement of heat beneath the ground. Of particular importance is the transition from water to ice as this phase change can have implications in regions where there is permafrost. Such applications can include potential freezing or thawing beneath cooled or heated above-ground pipelines, heat dissipation beneath roadways, the influence of cooling next to water bodies, or the interaction of buried pipelines in a permafrost environment. The zone of influence around the heated or cooled structure is difficult to predict with simple hand calculations.

It may be necessary in certain situations to freeze certain sections of the ground. Often this needs to be accomplished to inhibit the flow of water underground. Thermosyphons act like a heat pump and pump heat out of the ground such that freezing conditions are created. The zone of influence of such Thermosyphons is largely unknown without proper numerical modeling.

Solution:

The SVHEAT™ software package is well-suited for analyzing the potential thermal impacts of pipes on frozen permafrost environments. The temperature distribution around such pipes and the location of the interface between water and ice may be calculated.

SVHeat implements specific boundary conditions which represent the behavior of thermosyphons. This makes it easy to evaluate the performance of proposed designs. Thermosyphons can be represented in both 2-D and 3-D numerical models. The zone of ground around the thermosyphons which can be reasonably frozen can then be determined with the numerical model.

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