Abstract

Implementation of the dual-probe heat-pulse (DPHP) approach for measurement of volumetric heat capacity (C) and water content (θ) with distributed temperature sensing heated fiber optic (FO) systems presents an unprecedented opportunity for environmental monitoring (e.g., simultaneous measurement at thousands of points). We applied uniform heat pulses along a FO cable and monitored the thermal response at adjacent cables. We tested the DPHP method in the laboratory using multiple FO cables at a range of spacings. The amplitude and phase shift in the heat signal with distance was found to be a function of the soil volumetric heat capacity. Estimations of C at a range of moisture contents (θ = 0.09– 0.34 m3 m−3) suggest the feasibility of measurement via responsiveness to the changes in θ, although we observed error with decreasing soil water contents (up to 26% at θ = 0.09 m3 m−3). Optimization will require further models to account for the finite radius and thermal influence of the FO cables. Although the results indicate that the method shows great promise, further study is needed to quantify the effects of soil type, cable spacing, and jacket configurations on accuracy.

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