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Cooling Tower

Blowdown Equation
By James McDonald, PE, CWT Evaporation

Originally Published: CSTN July 2003

L ets take a look at how to calculate

Cooling Blowdown
cooling tower blowdown. Tower Chiller

The mass balance around a cooling tower as

illustrated in the figure to the right is: Process

Makeup = Evaporation + Blowdown + Process Leaks + Windage + Drift

Process leaks, windage, and drift are really just forms of uncontrolled
blowdown. Combining the controlled blowdown with uncontrolled
blowdown simplifies the equation to:

Makeup = Evaporation + Blowdown

Cycles of concentration (or cycles) is a comparison of dissolved solids level

of the blowdown with the makeup water. This can be expressed as:

BD concentration
Cycles =
MU concentration

Cycles of concentration can also be expressed as:

MU gallons/minute
Cycles =
BD gallons/minute

Now, if we substitute the Makeup equation above into this cycles equation,
we get:
Evap + BD
Cycles =

Calculations 417
Now carry out the division on the right side of the equation.

Cycles = +1

Solving for blowdown gives the final equation:

BD =
Cycles -1

You now have multiple ways of determining blowdown from the equations
If you know cycles and evaporation, you can determine blowdown.
If you know makeup and evaporation, you can determine
If you know makeup and cycles, you can determine blowdown.

Calculations 418