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The characteristic shape of these cooling towers is usually rectangular shape. Depending on design, there may be several small fans installed at top of cooling tower. However, fan(s) may also be located at sides of cooling tower and air may be ducted.
The counter-flow type of cooling tower makes use of air flowing in opposite direction and against flow of water. In one design, water flows out through rotating spreader arms to distribute water and let it drop through plastic diffusers evenly.
In this design, shape of cooling tower is a bottle shape. It is fitted with one single large fan to suck air to create airflow. The diameter of area where heat exchange takes place is made larger so that more contact surfaces is exposed. The fan is heavy and huge. Its speed is usually made lower than that of motor by use of reduction gears.
There may be a few designs. Some use fans located at bottom, some have fans at top, some have large fans, some make use of several small fans.
The materials used in cooling towers have to be selected to be able to withstand ultraviolet ray exposure from sun, moisture and other outdoor weather effects.
Cooling towers are truly rugged workhorses of industry.
Folks, be cool!
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