Cooling towers and circuits are an essential part of many different types of industrial activities. They are found in a variety of businesses such as nuclear power generation, injection molding and some forms of metal working. All these industrial processes have one by-product in common that they need to remove and that is heat. Cooling towers use a combination of air and water to facilitate the industrial cooling process.
Here is an overview of how cooling towers work to get rid of the heat that any industrial process produces:
How Water is Utilized in the Cooling Process
The first part of the process involves a water jacket that circulates around the area in any type of industrial plant where the heat source is created. A mechanical pump is used to continually circulate the water around the heat source in a factory and by doing this a large portion of the heat from the industrial process is then transferredinto the circulating water.
Once the water gets back to the cooling tower it passes through a heat exchanger/condenser to help dissipate some of the heat that the water picked up while circulating around the heat source. This does not usually cool the heated water enough so a second step is then necessary.
After going through the heat exchanger/condenser, the warm water is then collected in a sump and the heat is further removed by such means as spraying, circulating the water over louvers or some other method that exposes a greater amount of surface area of the water.
The Role ofAir Circulation in Cooling Towers
Air plays a critical role in the cooling tower function because it helps to speed up the cooling process. There are basically two methods that are used to draw air into the tower to aid the cooling process.
The air flow that these systems provide is caused by the natural temperature difference between the air that is present inside the cooler and the outside air
- Mechanical draft
The air flow in mechanical draft cooling towers is always produced by fans as opposed to natural air flow. There is a variety of ways that the fans can be placed in the systems.
The air helps dissipate the heat from the heat exchanger/condenser and also is the cooling aid for the secondary step in the process also.
Some of the water will be lost to condensation and evaporation in the cooling process and must be replaced to keep the cooling system working at peak efficiency. Any cooling tower will have to have some sort of filling system attached to it to replace the water that is lost in the process.
It is the powerful combination of the cooling ability of air and water through heat transference that makes cooling towers work so efficiently.