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A Model of Thermal Conductivity for Planetary SoilsA numerical model of heat conduction through particulate media made of spherical grains cemented by various bonding agents is presented. The pore-filling gas conductivity, volume fraction, and thermal conductivity of the cementing phase are tunable parameters. Cement fractions <0.001-0.01% in volume have small effects on the soil bulk thermal conductivity. A significant conductivity increase (factor 3-8) is observed for bond fractions of 0.01 to 1% in volume. In the 1 to 15% bond fraction domain, the conductivity increases continuously but less intensely (25-100% conductivity increase compared to a 1% bond system). Beyond 15% of cements, the conductivity increases vigorously and the bulk conductivity rapidly approaches that of bedrock. The composition of the cements (i.e. conductivity) has little influence on the bulk thermal inertia of the soil, especially if the volume of bond <10%. These results indicate that temperature measurements are sufficient to detect cemented soils and quantify the amount of cementing phase, but the mineralogical nature of the bonds and the typical grain size are unlikely to be determined from orbit. On Mars, a widespread surface unit characterized by a medium albedo (0.19-0.26) and medium/high thermal inertia (200-600 J s(0.5)/sq m/K) has long been hypothesized to be associated with a duricrust. The fraction of cement required to fit the thermal data is less than approx.1-5% by volume. This small amount of material is consistent with orbital observations, confirming that soil cementation is an important factor controlling the thermal inertia of the Martian surface
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Piqueux, S. (Arizona State Univ. Tempe, AZ, United States)
Christensen, P. R. (Arizona State Univ. Tempe, AZ, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
September 22, 2009
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 114
ISSN: 0148-0227
Subject Category
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits