A direct or open-circuit cooling tower relies on heat rejection by cooling water over what’s known as a “fill.” Those who are in the cooling tower industry already know that having quality fill material is critical to the operation of a cooling tower. For those who are new to the industry, or are maybe just curious, this post will go over the basic components of cooling tower fill material and the role it plays in waste heat rejection.
First thing’s first. To understand the necessity of cooling tower fill, you should first understand its principle of operation. The principle of operation for cooling tower fill is to put as much water surface area in contact with as much air as possible, for the longest amount of time as possible. Science has shown us that water tends to cool more consistently and efficiently when it is exposed to air, as more surface area allows more interaction between molecules. The fill essentially acts as a water distributor, allowing it to spread out and evaporate. The waste heat that was transported through the hot water can then be cooled at a more efficient pace.
Most cooling tower fill resembles metal blocks or sheets with multiple divots, rivulets or zigzag designs. These features act as pathways for the water to travel when it comes in contact with the fill. Cooling tower fill also consists of a special film surface that further helps the water move and cool. Over time, cooling tower fill can become weak, brittle and it can lose its film surface. Once this happens, the fill should be replaced.
In counter-flow cooling towers (where air travels upward, opposite to the downward motion of the water), a splash fill is used to help maximize the cooling effect. Splash fill usually consists of several fill platforms installed above one another in a staggered fashion. Instead of a sheet surface, splash fill maximize water droplet surface by allowing the droplets to trickle down at a slower pace. The longer the water droplets are suspended in the air, the more efficiently they will be cooled. To see a helpful illustration, visit Splash Fill Principle of Operation.
Whether you’re interested in standard cooling tower fill or splash fill, both options come in a variety of sizes, shapes and specifications. AmertechTowerServices is pleased to offer a wide selection of film fills including cross fluted film fill, offset vertical fluted film, clog resistant and vertical flow fill.