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Cooling Tower Experiment

Description A schematic diagram of the cooling tower facility is shown in the attached figure. Water Side Warm water is pumped from the load tank through the control valve and water flow meter to the column cap. After its temperature is measured, the water is uniformly distributed over the top packing deck and, as it spreads over the plates, a large thin film of water is exposed to the air stream. During its downward passage through the packing, the water is cooled, largely by the evaporation of a small portion of the total flow. The cooled water falls from the lowest packing deck into the basin, where its temperature is again measured and then passes into the load tank where it is re-heated before recirculation. Due to the evaporation, the level of the water in the load tank tends to fall. This causes the float-operated needle valve to open and transfer water from the make-up tank into the load tank. DO NOT let the water level fall below the minimum level marked on the load tank. When adding water to the make-up tank use ONLY DISTILLED WATER. Under steady conditions, the rate at which the water leaves the make-up tank is equal to the rate of evaporation plus any small airborne droplets in the discharge. Air Side Air from the ambient enters the fan at a rate that is controlled by adjusting the position of the intake damper. The fan discharges air into the distribution chamber and the air passes wet and dry bulb temperature sensors before entering the packed column. As the air flow through the packing, its moisture content is increased while the water is cooled through evaporation. Upon leaving the top of the column the air passes through a droplet arrester, which traps most of the entrained droplets and returns them to the packing. The air is then discharged to the atmosphere where wet and dry bulb temperature sensors measure the discharge conditions. The air flow rate is determined by measuring the pressure drop across the orifice at the outlet of the tower. The pressure drop is measured in mm H2O. IMPORTANT: Make sure the wicking materials on the temperature sensors measuring the wet bulb temperature (T2 & T4) are soaked with water. Also make sure the basins holding the wicking material are full of water. The water evaporates quickly when operating and there will be many groups rotating through the experiment.

Experimental Procedure 1) Switch on the main and set the water flow rate to 20 g/s. Adjust the air damper so the liquid manometer change is 10 mm H2O. 2) Switch on the 0.5 kW heater and allow the temperatures in the system to reach steady state. Record temperatures T1 though T6. Temperature is measured on the read-out in the center of the control panel. The numbers correspond to the temperature locations shown on the schematic diagram. 3) Repeat steps 1 & 2 for water flow rates of 30 and 40 g/s. Keep the air flow rate the same so that the manometer change is 10 mm H2O. 4) Repeat steps 1,2, & 3 with the 1.5 kW of heating (both the 0.5 and 1 kW heaters on) Caution: add distilled water to the make-up tank as required!
Test Heating Power kW Water Flow Rate g/s Pair mmH2O T1 C T2 C T3 C T4 C T5 C T6 C

1 2 3 4 5 6

Report requirements: 1) Write a one page letter to your TA describing your experiment. Follow the format shown in the Letter format and FAQ document found on the website. The letter should not exceed one page. No uncertainty analysis is required. 2) Compute the air inlet and exit humidity ratio and relative humidity for each test condition. Enter your results in Table 1 shown on the last page. 3) Using the measured inlet conditions and measured exit air conditions, use a first law analysis to predict the exit water temperature from the cooling tower for each test condition. In your letter, discuss how the measured exit water temperature compares with that predicted using a first law analysis. Enter your results in Table 2 shown on the last page. 4) Use a first law analysis and all measured inlet and exit conditions to predict the amount of heat dissipated by the heaters for each test condition. In your letter, discuss how the predicted heat dissipation rates compare with the heater ratings? Enter your results in Table 2 shown on the last page. 5) Provide sample calculations for each value you computed in the above analysis. This should include your first law analysis in Steps 3 and 4 above as well as any other calculations. 6) Original data

Note: Air Flow Rate Calculation


a = 0.0137 mix m P

mix = (1 + ) a

ma mass flow rate of dry air (kg/s) P measured pressure drop (mm H2O) - humidity ratio at tower exit a density of air phase based on partial pressure of air at tower exit (kg/m3)

Table 1. Test 1 2 3 4 5 6 in exit in out

Table 2 Test 1 2 3 4 5 6 Texit, predicted Texit, actual T Qpredicted Qactual Q