Thermal Plume Area Calculation

by George H. Ward, Jr., Assoc.; Espey, Huston and Assoc., Inc., P.O. Box 519, Austin, Tex. 78767,

Serial Information: Journal of the Energy Division, 1982, Vol. 108, Issue 2, Pg. 104-115

Document Type: Journal Paper


A simple formula for the surface area of a thermal plume is proposed, appropriate for application to a depth-limited surface discharge. The formula is based upon thermodynamic and kinematic considerations neglecting hydrodynamics, and will therefore overpredict by the extent to which hydromechanical dilution affects plume size. It therefore provides a conservative estimate for engineering and environmental purposes. An example application to a power plant in Nueces Bay, Texas, is given.

Subject Headings: Thermal effects | Plumes | Thermal pollution | Power plants | Thermodynamics | Kinematics | Dilution | Environmental issues | Texas | United States

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