Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cooling Towers: Part 1

Per request of the lovely Serena, this blog entry is going to explain how the cooling towers at a nuclear plant work.

Cooling towers are used to cool the hot steam as it rises in the cooling tower. Most cooling towers are open on all sides with slates that allow air to enter and mix with the sprayed/evaporated water to it. As the water evaporates it cools in the tower, falls down (falling water is known as rain), and is recycled in the system again to extract more heat to provide more energy. The results looks kind of like this:

Photo courtesy of Google: Cooling Tower System

However, not all cooling systems are these "square" or "round" shapes. There are some that look slightly more familiar if you've seen The Simpsons: