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CHE151-1L Chemical Engineering Laboratory 2

4th Quarter AY 2016-2017

Cooling Tower

Evora, Micaella Francesca1, Gomez, Ricky Jay1, Santiago, Camille1

Student, Mapa University, School of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry

The concept of cooling tower is the removal of heat from the water by subjecting it in a direct contact with air stream,
wherein small portion of water is being evaporated, and the water is being distributed through spray nozzles, splash
bars or film in a manner of exposing a large area of contact on water to the air stream. The basic concept governing
the process in cooling tower is the First Law of Thermodynamics. It is assumed that the energy in the tower is being
conserved, meaning what goes in will eventually goes out. In this experiment, this concept was used to determine the
effect of both water and air feed flow rate was correlated with the potential performance of the cooling tower. This
was done by correlating the wet bub temperature of the incoming air stream to the effectiveness factor. Significant
results from this experiment show that as the inlet temperature of water stream increases, so as the cooling range. It is
also found out that cooling range decreases with the increase in the flowrate of the water stream. However, in the case
of approach value, it increases with the increase in flowrate and increase with increase in temperature. Depicted from
the plots generated, most effective process was observed at water inlet temperature being at its lowest. However, the
effectiveness factor is not being maximized since the height of the tower is quite small, so the heat transfer is being
limited by this tower height constraint as well as the flowrates of the water and air streams.

Keywords: cooling tower, cooling range, approach value, effectiveness factor

INTRODUCTION exposes a very large water surface to

atmospheric air. Cooling towers are designed
A cooling tower is a specialized heat
and manufactured in several types, with
exchanger in which air and water are brought
numerous sizes available. Understanding the
into direct contact with each other in order to
various types, along with their advantages
reduce the water's temperature. A small
and limitations, is important when
volume of water is evaporated, reducing the
determining the right tower for a project [1].
temperature of the water being circulated
In natural draft cooling towers, the required
through the tower. The water to be cooled is
airflow through the fill is created by the
distributed in the tower by spray nozzles,
difference in density between the heated
splash bars, or film fill in a manner that
humid air inside the tower and the dense entire cross section of water just before it falls
ambient air outside the tower. Crossflow and into the basin. Less space is needed because
counterflow cooling tower is shown in the of the increased efficiency and lack of
following figure. plenum space required to cross flow cooling
towers. The downside of this type is the
increased fan horsepower resulting from air
flow in direct opposition to the water flow.
Once the water is in contact with air, at the
gas-liquid interface the water evaporates into
the air stream. Here latent heat of evaporation
is carried into the bulk air by the water vapor.
Thus, heat is carried away from the water and
Figure 1. Natural draft cooling towers (a) its temperature decreases [2].
Crossflow (b) Counterflow [1].

In a cooling tower, the theory behind the

In the crossflow tower, the flow of water whole operation of the unit is the First Law
remains vertically down while the air flow is of Thermodynamics which is the
horizontal. When constructing a crossflow conservation of energy. In simpler terms,
tower with two posing air streams joining in energy entering the system must exit the
a common plenum, the design is called system; energy can neither be destroyed nor
double flow crossflow tower. This type is created, it just transforms from one form to
often used in the industry because it has a low another. Energy enters the cooling tower in
initial cost and a simple and easy to maintain the form of hot water. This hot water was
design [2]. cooled from an initial temperature to a final
temperature. The water is cooled by the
Counterflow towers has air and water passing upward moving air stream through forced
in opposite directions and the water falls convection with ambient air at initial
vertically down while the air travels temperature which then gets heated and exits
vertically upward. This type of cooling tower at some temperature [3].
tends to be the most compact because the
coldest air is in intimate contact with the
The objective of the experiment is to
determine the effect of feed water flow rate,
airflow rate on the performance of the
cooling tower.


Materials and Set-up and Data Gathering

Figure 2. UOP6-MKII Water Cooling Tower.

For this experiment, the UOP6-MKII Basic
Water Cooling Tower fitted with standard
Check if the cooling tower is connected
packing was used to determine the effect of
properly to the computer and check if the
water flow rate and air flow rate on the
probes are properly inserted to the tower. Put
performance of the cooling tower. The
distilled water to the equipment until the
cooling tower will be operated with the
water reaches the level indicator located at
standard packing installed with constant
the drain valve of the tower. Plug the
water flow rate and with constant water inlet
equipment and switch it on. Turn on the
temperature. Air flow rate is held constant in
computer and open the cooling tower
determining the effect of water flow rate on
software. Set the parameters needed for
the cooling tower. The flow of air and water
sample testing and click GO to start the run.
through the packing will be varied by
Repeat the procedure by varying the air flow
changing the speed of the fan and pump,
rate and water flow rate for different trials.
respectively. The UOP6-MKII software is
After data gathering, drain the water inside
installed in the computer mounted beside the
the cooling tower.
equipment and it is used in varying the air
Initially, the temperature of the inlet water
flow rate and the water flow rate inside the
flow rate was set to stabilize first at a
cooling tower.
specified temperature and the initial flow rate
was at 1 L/min. using the centrifugal fan, the
air was allowed to flow vertically making
contact with water, the data were recorded on
the computer. Repeat the procedure by To compute for the approach value, the wet
varying the flow rate of air. The water flow bulb temperature is needed and used in the
rate also changed variably to 1.5 L/min and 2 following equation:
L/min while changes in air flow rates occur. Approach = Tw(out) Ta(in, wet)

Treatment of Results The effectiveness factor was determined

using the formula:
For each run, with different water and air
flow rates, psychrometric charts and the
= 100
corresponding relative humidity from the +

data were used to obtain the wet bulb

temperature of the air entering.

All cooling towers operate on the principle of

removing heat from water by evaporating a
small portion of the water that is recirculated
through the apparatus utilized. The
experiment comprises of two objectives
which are comparing the effect of both air
and water flow rate at varying water inlet

Figure 3. Psychrometric chart. temperatures.

Cooling range is calculated using the For both air and water flow rates the

formula: computations are similar and table 1 displays

Range = Tw(in) - Tw(out) the calculated data needed to achieve the

following objectives.

The change in air temperature can be

computed using:
T = Ta(in) Ta(out)
Table 1. Calculated Results Needed temperature has the larger cooling range.
Cooling Approach Also, as the flow rate increases, the cooling
Run Effectiveness
Range Value range decreases.
Twin = 30
1 3.3 0.9 78.57 Second principle involved is its approach
2 3 0.7 81.08 value which is the difference between the
3 2.7 1.19 69.41 temperature of the cold water leaving the

Twin = 35 tower and the wet-bulb temperature of the air.

1 7.6 2.2 77.55 Obtaining the approach values of a tower

2 6.2 3.7 62.63 fixes the operating temperature of the tower.

3 5.6 3.1 64.37 Thus, making it the most important parameter

Twin = 40 for determining the tower size and cost.

1 12 4.7 71.86 Figure 5 represents the plot for the approach

2 10.1 4.5 69.18 value versus the water flow rate. Similar from

3 9.2 5.3 63.45 the plot with the cooling range, the highest
temperature has the larger approach value
Twin = 45
that the others. Also, as the flow rate
1 18.4 5.9 75.72
increases, the approach value somewhat
2 16.1 7.7 67.65
increase. Seeing the plot, the middle values
3 14.3 8.2 63.56
of all the varying temperatures have the same
result of either increasing or decreasing with
the first value.
Several terms are comprised in the principles
for cooling towers and those principles are to
Figure 6 illustrates the effectiveness of the
be of basic knowledge for a researcher. First
tower against the water flow rate. Depicting
principle is the cooling range which is
from the graph, the one with the lowest water
defined as the difference in temperature
inlet temperature is the most effective of all
between the hot water entering and cold
the four varied temperature. Also, it can be
water leaving the cooling tower. As for
seen that as the flow rate increases, the
Figure 4, it displays the plot of the cooling
effectiveness of the tower somewhat
range against the water flow rate. From the
decreases. The typical range for effectiveness
plot, it can be depicted that the higher inlet
of a cooling tower is 70-75%. The calculated 10

Approach Value
data of the effectiveness is near or over the 8
typical range which it can be said that the
apparatus utilized is applicable.
0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5
As for the flow rate of air, the data gathered
Water Flow Rate
is almost of the same value which ranges
T = 30 deg C T = 35 deg C
from 63-68 liter per second. It did not vary
T = 40 deg C T = 45 deg C
enough. Therefore, it will rather have the
same values and possible outcomes. Figure 5. Approach Value vs. Water Flow


Cooling Range

Approach Value

5 75.00
0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 65.00
Water Flow Rate 60.00
T = 30 deg C T = 35 deg C 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5
T = 40 deg C T = 45 deg C Water Flow Rate

Figure 4. Cooling Range vs. Water Flow T = 30 deg C T = 35 deg C

T = 40 deg C T = 45 deg C
Figure 6. Effectiveness vs. Water Flow Rate

Sources of error could come from human

error. From reading the software at the wrong
time up to as the wrong input of data. Also,
the air that will be accounted from the
surroundings. At high relative humidities,
theres little error if the thermometer is
placed in a stream having a lower velocity.
But at low relative humidities an appreciable REFERENCES
error may occur.
[1] SPX Cooling Technologies, Inc.,
Overland Park, Kansas, Retrieved from:
[2] Verma, P., Cooling Water Treatment
The effect of the water flowrate was FAQ, 2004, New Delhi, India

determined in this experiment. It is found out [3] Sonntag, R. and Bognakke, C.,
that as the flowrate has relationships with the Fundamentals of Thermodynamics 7th edition,
2009, John Wiley & Sons, Inc
cooling range, approach value and
temperature. As the flowrate increases, the
cooling range decreases.
Sample Computations:

Also, it is observed that as the temperature At Twin = 30

increases, the effectiveness decreases. Cooling Range:

Effectiveness values show this trend, wherein Range = Tw(in) - Tw(out)
78.57, 77.55, 71.86 and 75.72 are the Range = 30.3 27
effectiveness values for the temperatures, 30 Range = 3.3
C, 35 oC, 40 oC and 45 oC, respectively. Change in air temperature
T = Ta(in) Ta(out)
T = 26.1 27.7
From the plot generated, it was depicted that T = -1.6
at higher inlet temperature, cooling ranges Approach value:
increases. However, when effectiveness is Approach = Tw(out) Ta(in, wet)
not being maximized since the tower height Approach =27 26.1
is relatively small, therefore for higher Approach = 0.9
flowrates, it limits the heat transfer Effectiveness:
mechanism within the tower, meaning
residence contact time for water and air
= 100
streams are also limited by these conditions. +
= 100
3.3 + 0.9
= 78.57 %

Table 2. Raw Data.

Fw Twin Twout Tain Taout Lw
Run Fa (l/s) RH1 RH2
(l/min) () () dry dry (mm)
Twin = 30
1 64.09 1 30.3 27 30.4 27.7 100 71.6 72
2 63.67 1.51 30.1 27.1 30.4 27.8 100 73.3 68
3 67.6 2 29.9 27.2 30 27.8 100 73 63
Twin = 35
1 64.28 1.02 36.1 28.5 30.5 28.8 100 72 78
2 65.01 1.5 35.5 29.3 30.3 29.4 100 69.2 82
3 64.28 2 34.4 28.8 30.3 29.4 100 69.8 84
Twin = 40
1 64.3 1 42.3 30.3 30.1 30.2 100 69.9 102
2 63.75 1.52 40.2 30.1 30.1 30.6 100 69.8 102
3 64.07 2 40.1 30.9 30.2 31.3 100 69.5 97
Twin = 45
1 64.8 1 50.1 31.7 30.4 32.3 100 69.8 102
2 64.43 1.48 49.7 33.6 30.5 33.6 100 69.8 102
3 63.62 2 48.3 31.7 30.5 34.5 100 68.9 102

Table 3. Values from the Psychometric Charts of Air Wet-bulb Temperature.

Run Tain wet Taout wet
Twin = 30
1 26.1 27.7
2 26.4 27.8
3 26.01 27.8
Twin = 35
1 26.3 28.8
2 25.6 29.4
3 25.7 29.4
Twin = 40
1 25.6 30.2
2 25.6 30.6
3 25.6 31.3
Twin = 45
1 25.8 32.3
2 25.9 33.6
3 25.8 34.5