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Part I of cooling Tower Excluding Part II which is Water Treatment

1. A refinery uses 25 barrels of water per barrel of crude processed, 80 to 90 % of which is used for
cooling purposes. So reuse of water is necessary to fulfill this bulk requirement.
2. Heat is transferred by Conduction, Convection and Radiation.
Conduction is heat transfer mode where due to molecular interaction heat transfers from
higher to lower point.
Convection is transfer of heat which involves physical movement of substance.
Radiation is transfer of heat due to radiant energy.


Absolute Humidity: lbs. of water present per unit lbs. of air.

Relative Humidity: percentage of maximum humidity at given temperature.
Hygrometer: Device used to measure dry and wet bulb temperatures.

Psychrometer: Device for measuring dry and wet bulb temperatures.

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Types of cooling tower:

1. Atmospheric cooling tower and Natural Draft towers

2. Mechanical Draft
a. Forced Draft b. Induced Draft

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General Working Principle of cooling tower:

3. Major Cooling is done by evaporation. As entering air is cool as compared to hot water so minor
cooling is also due to conduction, convection and radiation too.
4. Higher humidity in air, higher atmospheric pressure and low air to water contact will resist
evaporation and hence decreases cooling rate.
5. Open Spray pond is the simplest example of cooling water system.

Construction of Tower

Drift Eliminators:

They are installed at the top to minimize water loss by drifting phenomena. They are also
used to control air flow rate.


They are installed at the side of the tower in the form of sheets, which provide direction
to entering air and restrict showering water from coming outside of tower by splash. Adjustable louvers
also control amount of entering air.

Splash bars or fill:

They are installed in the tower in the form of wire mesh sheets and break water into
small drops and increases contact area.

Types of Cooling Tower:

A. Atmospheric Cooling tower:

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They are simple open structures which depend upon natural wind velocity for effective operation.

B. Natural Draft Cooling Tower:

1. Tall chimney type structure is built, this taller structure develop its own draft so no need of
fan for draft.
2. Due to taller structure their initial capital investment is higher but operational cost is low
and it can cool down large volume of hot water.
3. They act like chimney where hot water is showered from top and air enters from bottom.
When air come in contact with water, water temperature drops and air is heated. This hot
air rises in the tower and draft is produced, so cold air enters in the tower and cycle goes on.
4. Adjustable Louvers installed at the air inlet can controls the Rate of evaporation.

C. Mechanical Draft Cooling tower:

Here draft is maintained by mechanical power of motor. On the basis of push and pull there are two
further types. Which are,

I. Induced Draft Cooling Tower:

Fan is located at the top of the tower and pulls air through the whole column. Here, chance of re-
entrance of wet air is low as compared to forced draft tower. But they produce noise.

II. Forced Draft Cooling Tower:

Fan is located at the bottom of the tower and it pushes air through the tower. They produce less noise
but recirculation of wet air is possible.

In mechanical draft towers evaporation rate can be controlled by,

Controlling Fan speed and Angle of blade in mechanical draft towers

Adjustment of louvers angle in mechanical/natural draft towers.

Material of Construction:
1. Corrosion take place when iron based material is exposed to water and air, as both are present
in cooling tower so iron related material is not used in towers.
2. Copper and brass coated materials, synthetic fibers and wood based structures are used
because of corrosion resistant properties. To reduce swelling and contraction/expansion of
wood in water, they are treated with certain chemicals.

Factors effecting Cooling tower Performance:

Direction of cooling tower:

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For better results direction of cooling tower should be such that wind passes through shortest
dimension and evaporates more water. Figure A is preferred one,

Water Losses:

For every 10 0F temperature drop, water loss due to evaporation is 1 %.

Drift losses are normally 0.2 % of water flow.
So to compensate these evaporation losses make up fresh water is added in the system.

Wind Speed:

Higher wind speed is required for good evaporation but if it is too much it will increase drift losses.


Humidity in air reduces rate of evaporation so more humid the season less efficient will be cooling tower
as compared to dry air.

Temperature of Air:

If temperature of air is low than it will provide cooling by conduction, convection and radiation too, so
lower air temperatures are favorable.

Wet Bulb and Dry Bulb Temperatures:

Difference of wet and dry bulb temperatures indicates relative humidity of air which shows how much
water air can be taken by air? Higher difference will favors evaporation and hence cooling rate.

Winter Season icing:

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1. In winter when air temperature is below 0 0C ice formation can occur on splash bars and fan
2. Which may cause low flow area and overloading of motor
3. So Ice formation can be prevented by reducing air flow by lowering the fan speed or changing
the pitch of blades.
4. And to remove ice, simply reverse the direction of the blades.

Cooling tower perform best when entering air is dry and cool

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