A cooling tower is a specialized heat exchanger, which removes waste heat by the use of water. The heated water is brought in direct contact with atmospheric air, which aids in reducing the temperature of the water. A small volume of water is evaporated into the atmosphere, thereby reducing the temperature of the water by a few degrees. In order to have a deeper understanding of this heat removal device, we need to unveil its structural component that makes its job possible.
Cooling tower fills is one of the most vital cooling tower components because it is the material that increases the surface area of the heat transfer area of the tower. An increase in the surface area translates to faster cooling due to greater evaporation rates. There are two basic types of fills:
Splash Fills: it breaks up the stream of hot water and makes it pass through the next level of splash bars.
Film fills: it is designed to spread the water into a thin layer for more effective cooling.
Fills are usually designed out of polypropylene, wood, or polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
- Drift Eliminators
Drift is the process of the undesirable loss of water in the form of water droplets, which are contaminated with minerals and chemicals that can have a major impact on the environment it released into the atmosphere unchecked. Thus, drift eliminators, as the name suggests, are designed to prevent drift by causing the escaping water droplets to change their direction and drop their velocity. This resultantly makes the water droplets to drip back into the cooling tower. An efficient cooling tower can keep drift loss at less than 0.001%.
- Cold Water Basin
The cold water basin is usually located at the base of the cooling tower, either above or below ground level. It has two important functions. One is to act as a store for the cooled water that comes down the fills, and the other is to act as a strong foundation for the cooling tower. Since it is usually built out of reinforced cement concrete, it has herculean strength.
The fans within a cooling tower must be designed to move large volumes of air with the least amount of vibrations. The function of the fan is to dissipate surplus or non-usable heat into the ambient atmosphere. The fans should be built out of the right material, which will make it light yet strong and as energy efficient as possible.
- Water Distribution System
The water distribution system includes nozzles and pipelines. The nozzles are used for uniform distribution of hot water inside the cells of a cooling tower. The piping that distributes cool water must be buried underground and supported to avoid thrust loading of the tower due to self-weight and water pressure.
Cooling towers can be of four different types-
* Natural draft cooling towers
* Mechanical Draft Cooling Towers
* Crossflow Cooling Towers
* Counterflow Cooling Towers
* Induced Draft Towers
* Forced Draft Towers
Although they can be of different types, yet they have one thing in common. That is, the fact that cooling tower components need the utmost care and regular maintenance. Thankfully, one can now find professionals online who will take care of the maintenance of any kind of cooling tower.