Cooling towers were essentially created to eliminate excess warmth from water used in industrial operations and send it out into the surrounding biosphere. Surprisingly, there are many different techniques for achieving this process. Since there is a high degree of variation between how these devices operate, they are classified within a number of distinct groups.
There are three main types of cooling towers that are defined by how water or air pass through them. These types include crossflow, counterflow, and hyperbolic. There are also two varieties classified solely on airflow, known as induced draft and passive draft cooling towers.
Crossflow cooling towers use a splash fill that allows in-flowing to air move in a horizontal path over the stream of water from the upper reservoirs. Crossflow systems are some of the more expensive equipment types, but they are also some of the easiest to maintain. However, these cooling systems are more vulnerable to frost than others.
In a counterflow system, the in-flowing air travels in a vertical path over the splash fill as the water streams down from the reservoir above. Counterflow systems are usually smaller than their crossflow counterparts. These cooling towers are more expensive due to the fact that more energy is needed to push the air upward against the down-flowing water.
Hyperbolic systems are well-built and require a minimal amount of resources. Though they require few resources, these cooling towers are able to efficiently manage large-scale tasks within big chemical or power plants.
Hyperbolic systems use a chimney stacking technique that allows the cooler, outside air to push the damp, warmer air inside the tower. Splash fill is placed around the bottom of the tower and the water that sprays over it is cooled by the passage of upward-flowing air.
Induced draft or mechanical draft cooling towers use some type of mechanical pressure, like a fan system, to push air upward inside the tower. Induced draft systems can also force air into the tower with a blow-through or pull it out through a draw-through.
Passive or natural draft cooling towers combine the upward motion of warmed air with a steep chimney architecture to organically pull air throughout the tower. Although passive draft systems may have either a counter or crossflow transport design, hyperbolic towers are always passive draft.
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