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Analysis Report: Cooling tower hydro-nozzle induced air suction

Date: May 03, 2009
Author: Vivek Ahuja
Affiliation: Department of Aerospace Engineering, Auburn University, USA

Report Scope: Performance Analysis Prediction and Preliminary Design Approach

A hydro-nozzle has been placed inside a ducted channel for the purposes of water injection at low
static pressures compared to the atmospheric air available inside the duct with the aim of creating
a suction effect and drawing air in from one end of the duct. This air is then allowed to mix with
the injected air and the net mass flow is allowed to pass through the other end of the duct.
The nozzle has a geometry that has been fixed and is assumed as not being available to change.
The diameters of the duct and the air intake are assumed to be two open variables available for
change to the design engineer. The length of the duct is also available for change. The fluid
(water) properties at the exit of the nozzle are also fixed and known to the designer. The design
goal is to be able to maximize the incoming air from the intake. The goal of this report is to create
a theoretical model for providing the designer with the required information needed to make the
preliminary design choices for meeting the above mentioned goal.
It can be easily seen from the provided numbers that the velocity of the water injection is
sufficiently low so as to preclude the need for including compressibility effects. This allows us to

pressure of the water (  ). The density of water is assumed to be 1000Kg⁄m . The
treat water as if it is incompressible. The pressure value provided at the nozzle orifice is the static

continuity equation (conservation of mass) equation for the water flow coming out of the nozzle
orifice is given as:

 =  .  
Here ‘ ’ is the velocity component of the water jet which is in the axial direction.

Also, note that:


Equations (1) and (2) allow us to establish the velocity of the water jet exiting the hydro-nozzle

orifice as:


Note that this velocity component of the water flow is in the direction perpendicular to the cross
sectional area of the nozzle. There is also a component of the total water velocity in the tangential
direction created by the nozzle design to allow for better dispersal patterns of the water and
atomization of the resulting distribution with the surrounding air. This process thins out the water
jet in terms of density and the water essentially acts like a thin umbrella shaped sheet of low
pressure in the region downstream of the water jet. For now the umbrella is assumed to be a cone
for simplicity’s sake but a more accurate model for numerical integration will be presented later.
In order to calculate the pressure distribution patterns inside the water ‘umbrella’, we must know
the total velocity of the flow and therefore must know this tangential component of the velocity.
Fortunately, this tangential component of the flow ( ) can be easily evaluated if the angle of
the water dispersal ( ) is known. The resulting velocity vector diagram is shown in

 =  tan 

Figure-3. As seen from Figure-3:

Hence the net velocity of the water is given as:
 = # $ +  $
The total velocity of the water jet is now known from equation (5). In addition, we know the
pressure of the water at the exit of the nozzle orifice which is in effect the static pressure of the
flow. The total pressure of the flow is the sum of the static and the dynamic pressures of the flow

1 $
and for the present case is defined as:
, =  + 
Equation (6) is in effect the application of the Bernoulli’s theorem for the incompressible water
flow. This total pressure for the water remains constant as the water flows downstream of the
nozzle even though the static pressure and dynamic pressure values change.
At this point we are interested in knowing the static pressure at the water cross section (the water
cross section is different from the total cross section of the duct) which is at a distance ‘x’
downstream of the nozzle orifice. However, it should be noted that the gravity and centrifugal
effects on the water cannot be neglected.
The acceleration due to gravity acts on the velocity component of the water which is in the
direction parallel to the vertical duct. The tangential component of the velocity is not affected by
this gravitational force. Nevertheless, the tangential component of the velocity is affected by the
centrifugal acceleration caused by the spiraling rotation of the flow caused inside the nozzle. This
acceleration changes the tangential velocity component with time.
The combined effects of the centrifugal and gravitational forces on the water cause the water jet
to take the shape of an umbrella inside the duct. At this point we are theoretically overlapping two
different physical approaches to the problem. On the one hand is the continuum treatment of the
flow that assumes that the water jet is basically a continuous medium. In this model the continuity
equation and the Bernoulli equations (for incompressible flow only) as described above are
active. However, once we start including gravitational and centrifugal forces, we are moving into
particle kinetics where each particle of the flow feels the effect of the acting forces and behaves
according to Newtonian Physics but where the continuum treatment is no longer valid.
This poses a severe problem in our analysis. Although it is theoretically possible to determine
pressure distributions based on Kinetic Theory, we would then have to include surface tension
effects etc, all of which is not in the least simple to achieve. On the other hand, although the
continuum equations are very simple to use in our analysis, they are hardly realistic in the
physical modeling of the flow. We therefore reach a compromise as follows:
Consider a station ‘x’ downstream of the orifice where we can determine the water cross section
one of two ways: one using the kinetic modeling of the outer region of the water flow and the
other using the continuum theory as shown in Figure-. Notice that the two water cross sections
are different in sizes. If the water jet is treated as a continuum, the inner water cross section
corresponding to the area obtained by ignoring the centrifugal and gravitational forces on the
water jet is entirely occupied by water. As such, the static pressure in this region is uniform and
equal to that obtained from the terms of equation (6).
However, note that the annular area between the physical presence of the outer region of water
and the continuum area is the area that is occupied by air that was already downstream of the
duct. This air is at atmospheric pressure. In other words, the actual physical area occupied by the
flow inside the duct includes both air and water, each of whom is at different pressure. As a
result, the net pressure differential between the air intake and the region inside the water umbrella
will be lower than that obtained from pure continuum theory. Still, the difference in results is
negligible for all practical purposes.

of the hydro-nozzle. At this distance ‘x’, let the water cross section be ) . Now, consider the
To conduct this derivation, consider the cross section of the duct at a distance ‘x’ from the orifice

particle theory calculations. Initially, let’s assume that the centrifugal effects are negligible and so
the tangential component of the velocity remains constant. So the only force acting on the system
is the gravitational acceleration and this acts on the axial component of the velocity. The

* =  ) ∗ ,
equations of motion thus are:

The limiting value of y in equation (7) is equal to the radius of the circular area obtained as:
* = -) ∗ . 1
Equations (7) and (8) can be solved for the time value: ‘t’. This is the time required for the
physical area of the umbrella cross section to grow to the required size. However, in the same
time, the axial velocity has been under the effect of the gravitational acceleration. Therefore, the

downstream distance at which this area is formed by the physical flow is given as:
2 =  ∗ , + 3, $
We can now evaluate the effective total velocity of the water jet at the said location by the
following equations:
 ) =  + 3, ,  ) =  ,  ) = # ) $ +  $ $

Applying the equation for total pressure (assuming no flow losses at this time so that the total
pressure remains the same as calculated in equation (6)) we get the following expression for the

1 $
static pressure of the water jet at the location ‘x’ downstream of the orifice:
) = , − 
2 )
The difference between the atmospheric pressure outside the duct air intake and the value of the
jet static pressure as calculated from equation (11) is the effective pressure differential acting on
the air for that location.
Note that the above derivation is only applicable for the location ‘x’. other locations between the
orifice and the ‘x’ location will have different values of the pressure because of differing
velocities. As such, the situation may require a numerical integration procedure to improve
accuracy. However, for first order results, the current calculation should prove sufficient by
assuming that the pressure differential is uniform.
Now the area over which this differential acts can be calculated by assuming that the umbrella
acts like a cone (although simple numerical integrations can be performed on the water particle
trajectory to evaluate the umbrella surface area more accurately) so that:
678 = 09) #9) $ + 2 $
9) = -) ∗ . 1
In order to be able to calculate the mass flow rate of air going through the water umbrella, we
need to turn to the use of compressible flow equations since air cannot be treated as
incompressible as we had treated water thus far. The total pressure of the air is taken as 1
atmosphere and the static pressure is taken as being equal to the water static pressure obtained

 (; − 1< $ >

from equation (11). The classic isentropic pressure equation for compressible flow is:
= (1 + = <(>?@<

Where ‘M’ is the Mach number of the fluid and ‘;’ is the specific heat ratio (γ = 1.4 for air). We

can now solve equation (14) for the Mach number of air at the umbrella surface:
7 (>?@< 2
= = -[(( < > − 1< ∗ . 1]
) (; − 1<
Knowing the Mach number, the density and the umbrella surface area, the effective air mass flow

rate is obtained as:
 = H 678 =I;9J
Here ‘ ’ is the density of air at standard conditions (~1.223 Kg/m3). ‘J ’ is the standard
temperature of air (~300K) and ‘R’ is the gas constant for air (287 J/Kg-K). Equation (16) can
now be used in any heat transfer equations to analyze the heat transfer rate of the ducted hydro-
nozzle cooling system.
Some results that are readily apparent from the analysis include the following:

a) The length of the duct is directly dependent on the required water cross section area
downstream of the orifice which in turn is directly proportional to the mass flow rate of
air. Hence, higher the required mass flow rate, the longer and wider is the duct.
b) The best design may be possible in case where the required water cross section area is
equal to the duct internal diameter at the distance ‘x’ as calculated above.
c) Having very high dispersal angles (i.e. almost sideways dispersion of water) is
detrimental to the mass flow rate suction since it reduces the area of the umbrella for a
given size of the duct.