Project Director

Margraves, Charles H.

Department Examiner

Elliott, Trevor


Dept. of Mechanical Engineering


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


With the worldwide push for environmentally friendly technology, the topic of geothermal systems has only become more important. Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHPs) are heat pumps that take advantage of the natural temperature difference between the soil and the air to decrease the amount of power necessary to heat an area. A GSHP has been shown to be capable of increasing efficiency by 3 or 4 times the amount of a conventional heating and cooling system [4]. To take advantage of the full capabilities of a GSHP, one needs to understand what factors can increase or decrease efficiency. While research has been done by groups such as Leong, Tarnawski, and Aittomäki in their study of the Effect of soil type and moisture content on ground heat pump performance [8], these studies are lacking a controlled environment. The goal of this research is to study the impact that soil saturation has on the heat transfer rate by controlling other environmental impacts. Weather, temperature, etc. will not be an issue with this indoor, small-scale system. The system will test the heat transfer rate in water and soils of different saturation levels. It will accomplish this by measuring the flowrate and the temperature drop as water flows from a heat reservoir through a heat sink of the water or soil. This will provide the necessary data to calculate the heat transfer rate. The system and the data gathered will not only provide applicable data for geothermal systems but will act as a prototype for a future system in an undergraduate University of Tennessee at Chattanooga lab.


There have been quite a few people who have helped me through this research. I would like to extend a thanks to my thesis advisor, Dr. Margraves. Thanks to Dr. Harris for patience as I asked about LabVIEW. Thanks to Karl Fletcher and Jason McDowell for helping a mechanical deal with electrical issues. Of course, thanks to the other half of the Duo, Amanda George, who spent every waking hour with me in the lab this semester.


B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.




Ground source heat pump systems


Geothermal; Heat transfer; Soil saturation; GSHP; Ground source heat pump; COP


Mechanical Engineering

Document Type



43 leaves