A critical evaluation and refinement of the performance prediction of wet-cooling towers
Kloppers, Johannes Christiaan
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The thermal performance prediction of wet-cooling towers is critically analyzed and refined. Natural draft counterflow towers and mechanical draft counterflow and crossflow towers are considered. The Merkel, Poppe and e-NTU heat and mass transfer methods of analysis are derived from first principles, as these methods form the cornerstone of wet-cooling tower performance evaluation. The critical differences between these methods, when applied to fill performance analyses and cooling tower performance evaluations, are highlighted. The reasons for these differences are discussed with the aid of psychrometric charts. A new extended empirical relation for the loss coefficient of fills is proposed where the viscous and form drag effects are accounted for as well as the buoyancy, momentum and fill height effects. The empirical equation for the transfer characteristic of fills is extended to include the effects of fill height and the inlet water temperature. Empirical equations to predict the temperature inversion profile, height of the temperature inversion and the height from which air is drawn into the cooling tower are developed. The influence of temperature and humidity inversions on the performance of wet-cooling towers is subsequently investigated. A comprehensive analytical computer program is developed to predict and optimize the performance of wet-cooling towers. Computer programs are also developed to generate cooling tower performance curves, analyze fill performance test data and plot psychrometric charts.