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Cooling Towers

  1. May 19, 2003 #1
    [SOLVED] Cooling Towers

    I was just wondering how cooling towers in nuclear reactors work. I've read many different versions of a cooling tower's task, but they all seem to be different from one another. I'm writing a webpage on nuclear energy and was just wondering.

    Thank you all very much
  2. jcsd
  3. May 20, 2003 #2
    It seems like you can have two different types of cooling towers 'dry' and 'wet' see the link:
    http://www.madison.k12.wi.us/stugeon/mini1.html [Broken]

    EDIT: and an even better one:
    http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/society/nuclear.htm [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  4. May 21, 2003 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Its quite simple really (and most are the "wet" type - you can tell by the steam). The water is hot. The tower is actually supported a few feet (can't remember how high - 10 or 20 feet probably) above the ground. At the base of the tower, there is a series of waterfall type structures around the perimeter and a collection pool inside at the bottom. Air can flow into the base of the tower. The warm water in the pool warms the air over it, and since warm air rises, it rises up inside the tower. That process pulls more air into the tower through the waterfall type structure. And the higher the tower, the higher the airflow since it has a longer distance in which to gain speed. The cooling comes in two ways: Cool air going through hot water cools the water. Cool air going through warm water also makes some water evaporate. Evaporation is essentially slow boiling - so it removes a LOT of heat from the water when a little evaporates.

    The problem of course with a "wet" tower is you need to replenish the water supply as it evaporates.
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