Performance characteristics of counter flow wet cooling towers

Jameel Ur Rehman Khan, M. Yaqub, Syed M. Zubair*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Cooling towers are one of the biggest heat and mass transfer devices that are in widespread use. In this paper, we use a detailed model of counter flow wet cooling towers in investigating the performance characteristics. The validity of the model is checked by experimental data reported in the literature. The thermal performance of the cooling towers is clearly explained in terms of varying air and water temperatures, as well as the driving potential for convection and evaporation heat transfer, along the height of the tower. The relative contribution of each mode of heat transfer rate to the total heat transfer rate in the cooling tower is established. It is demonstrated with an example problem that the predominant mode of heat transfer is evaporation. For example, evaporation contributes about 62.5% of the total rate of heat transfer at the bottom of the tower and almost 90% at the top of the tower. The variation of air and water temperatures along the height of the tower (process line) is explained on psychometric charts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2073-2091
Number of pages19
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Issue number13
StatePublished - Aug 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the support provided by King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals through the research project (ME/RISK-FOULING/230).


  • Cooling towers
  • Model
  • Performance evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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