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IEEE 442

1981 Edition, January 1, 1981

Complete Document

Guide for Soil Thermal Resistivity Measurements

Includes all amendments and changes through Reaffirmation Notice , 2003

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Throughout the years, many utilities, consultants, and testing firms have measured soil thermal resistivity both in situ and in the laboratory on selected soil samples. Such measurements have utilized various types of equipment and measurement techniques. In many cases, these testing methods have yielded inaccurate or inconsistent measurements of soil thermal resistivity. This has been attributed to the unavailability of commercial testing equipment and the lack of standardization associated with the measurements.

The Insulated Conductors Committee, recognizing the need for industry guidelines for the measurement of soil thermal resistivity, organized a working group of Subcommittee 12, Tests and Measurements, to write this needed guide. During the preparation of this guide, members of the working group made many round-robin tests and measurements on selected soil samples. The expertise developed during these tests is reflected in many parts of this guide.

The IEEE will maintain this guide current with changes in the state of technology. However, comments or suggestions for additions are invited on this guide. These should be addressed to:


IEEE Standards Committee

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc

345 East 47th Street

New York, NY 10017


The membership and individuals contributing to the writing of this guide and the performance of the round-robin tests consisted of the following:

M. A. Martin, Jr , Chair

Mr. A. F. Baljet

Mr. R. A. Bush

Mr. D. Clarke

Mr. J. R. Easterling

Mr. M. L. Fenger

Mr. S. W. Margolin

Mr. J. J. Rueckert

Mr. J. Stolpe

Dr. W. W. Welna

At the tune this guide was approved the members of the Test and Measurements Subcommittee were:

T. A. Balaska , Chair

C. F. Ackerman

E. M. Allam

A.M. Aubrey

A. T. Baker

A. F. Baljet

R. Bartnikas

E. W. Bennett

C. W. Baldes

L. A. Bondon

J. A. Bradley

R. A. Burkhardt

M. D. Calcumuggio

P. Chowdhuri

W. Cole

J. E. Conley

W. F. Constantine

J. N. Cooper

F. V. Cunningham

J. Densley

E. K. Duffy

G. S. Eager

N. W. Edgerton

R. M. Eichorn

A. Fitspatrick

E. O. Forster

R.W. Foster

R. D. Fulcomer

J. B. Gardner

J. Garland

A. Garschick

D. W. Gasda

S. Gerhard

W.R. Goldbach

O.K. Gratzol

R. A. Guba

L. F. Hamilton

C. A. Hatstat

J. G. C. Henderson

W. J. Herbert

V. Herter

H. C. Hervig, Jr

R. R. Howard

H. I. Jehan

C. V. Johnson

R. J. Kasper

L. J. Kelly

W. B. Kenyon

F. Kimsey

M. Kopchik, Jr

J. R. Kushner

F. E. LaFetra

A. F. LaScala

J. S. Lasky

R. H. Lee

R. E. Leuch

T. H. Ling

R. Lukac

G. E. Lusk

R. Luther

E. A. MacKenzie

M. A. Martin, Jr

I. J. Marwick

E. J. McGowan

A. L. McKean

M. I. F. Monzon

C. E. Muhleman

J. H. Nicholas

M. G. Noble

H. Orton

J. J. Pachot

A. S. Paniri

W. M. Pate

J. R. Perkins

K. A. Petty

C. A. Pieroni

J. S. Pirrong

J. O. Punderson

J. G. Quin

P. H. Reynolds

N. M. Sacks

C. Saldivar

D. Sandwick y

E. L. Sankey

A. Sansores

G.W. Seman

J. J. Shortall

N. Singh

H. B. Slade

D. E. Soffrin

N. Srinivas

W. T. Starr

J. L. Steiner

R. Thayer

K. Tomori

R. T. Traut

P. D. Tuttle

J. R. Tuzinski

C. F. von Hermann

J. F. Wagner

E. M. Walton

R. H. W. Watkins

W. D. Wilkens

O. L. Willis

P. J. Wilson

R.T. Zukowski

When the IEEE Standards Board approved this standard on March 5, 1981, it had the following membership:

I. N. Howell, Jr, Chair

Irving Kolodny, Vice Chair

Sava I. Sherr, Secretary

G. Y. R. Allen

J. H. Beall

J. T. Boettger

Edward Chelotti

Edward J. Cohen

Warren H. Cook

Len S. Corey

Jay Forster

Kurt Greene

Loering M. Johnson

Joseph L. Koepfinger

J. E. May

Donald T. Michael *

F. Rosa

R.W. Seelbach

J.S. Stewart

W.E. Vannah

Virginius N. Vaughan, Jr

Art Wall

Robert E. Weiler


This guide covers the measurement of soil thermal resistivity. A thorough knowledge of the thermal properties of a soil will enable the user to properly install and load underground cables. The method used is based on the theory that the rate of temperature rise of a line heat source is dependent upon the thermal constants of the medium in which it is placed. The designs for both laboratory and field thermal needles are also described in this guide.