Fill transfer characteristics

Cooling tower transfer characteristics is one of the most, if not the most important parameters in cooling tower thermal design. Unlike heat exchangers, where transfer coefficients for various configurations are widely published, cooling tower transfer characteristics are not commonly found in the open literature. One of the reasons for this is that fill manufacturer’s regard the transfer characteristics of their fills as confidential. The following two sources do give transfer coefficients of various fills:

  • Lowe, H.J. and Christie, D.G., Heat Transfer and Pressure Drop Data on Cooling Tower Packings and Model Studies of the Resistance of Natural Draft Towers to Airflow, Proceedings of the International Heat Transfer Conference, Colorado, Part V, pp. 933-950, 1961.
  • Johnson, B.M. (ed.), Cooling Tower Performance Prediction and Improvement, Volume 1, Applications Guide, EPRI Report GS-6370, Volume 2, Knowledge Base, EPRI Report GS-6370, EPRI, Palo Alto, 1989.

If you are aware of any other sources that give fill performance data, then I would appreciate it if you can let me know about it.

The only way to be certain of what the transfer characteristics are for a fill, is to do an independent fill test. This can be a costly undertaking, but if you take the penalties involved if a cooling tower does not meet the guaranteed performance, this is a small price to pay. The only problem is that there are only a few facilities globally where tests like these can be conducted.

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