Advance finite element modeling and analysis can be useful to determine wind load capacity of natural-draft cooling towers. Because of the aggressive process and environmental exposure conditions, natural-draft cooling can sustain significant deterioration. This deterioration can be quantified and qualified by conducting a condition assessment. The findings from the assessment can be incorporated into the finite element model to determine wind load capacity not only of the as-designed structure but of the structure in its existing condition as well. The modeling and analysis is complex due to the geometry of the veil and the associated wind loads. As part of the analysis, wind loads are increased until the established failure criteria (stress or deflection) is reached. The results of the wind load analysis can be useful to plant owners in assessing the risks associated with the existing condition of the natural-draft cooling tower structure.

09-23: Structural Modeling and Analysis of Natural-Draft Cooling Towers

  • Leandro Etcheverry and Prasad Samarajiva, Walter P. Moore