The electrically heated cylindrical probe has often been used to measure the thermal conductivity of materials which allow the contact layer to be small enough to have negligible thermal resistance and negligible thermal mass. The probe method is not widely used in boreholes, mainly because the increased complexity of the theory required by the boundary conditions encountered in typical field situations makes it difficult to design appropriate probes and to interpret the data.This paper deals with the results of a comprehensive series of laboratory and field experiments, using cased and uncased boreholes, to investigate the importance of various design parameters and to compare the relative merits of the many proposed methods of reducing the data.It has been found that there is a surprising degree of latitude in probe design provided an uncertainty of 10% in conductivity values can be tolerated.

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