Monday, May 19, 2008

Getting intimate with cooling towers

I've always had a thing for cooling towers. There's a dignified aura about them – huge bulky things squatting dormantly, passively emitting pleasant clouds of water overhead.

The exterior of a cooling tower

Cooling towers provide a source of cool water (colder than ambient temperature) by evaporating a portion of the water. The evaporation process requires an absorption of latent heat from the environment. This absorption thus cools the environment (the remaining water).

The interior of a cooling tower at partial flow

A cooling tower is a large, open ended cylinder installed vertically. Water is sprayed from the top, and the droplets fall into a pool at the bottom. The water is then pumped up again in a recirculating loop. As water is evaporated, more water is added to maintain the water level in the pool.

Click here for large size image
The interior of a cooling tower running at full flow

<3 <3

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