The inlet loss coefficients for dry, isotropically packed, circular and rectangular counterflow cooling towers are determined experimentally and empirical correlations are formulated to fit this data. Computational fluid dynamics is used to investigate the dependence of the inlet loss coefficient on the rain zone characteristics. The rain zone generally dampens the inlet loss, but the coupling is indirect and involves a large number of dependent variables. The numerical model is validated by means of experimental data for dry towers and it is found that the degree of accuracy achieved for circular towers exceeds that for rectangular towers. Consequently, the correlation derived to predict this occurrence for circular towers can be applied more confidently than its rectangular counterpart.

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