Shape Factors for Cooling Lakes

by John Eric Edinger, (A.M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof.; Water Resources, Towne School of Engrg., Univ. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA,

Serial Information: Journal of the Power Division, 1971, Vol. 97, Issue 4, Pg. 861-867

Document Type: Journal Paper


The design of cooling lakes for stream electric power plants requires the determination of expected temperature distributions that result from surface heat dissipation. The designer has the problem of determining the effective surface area and how it might be changed by intake and discharge locations, plant size, and condenser cooling water pumping rates. The effective surface area depends on the shape of the lake, the direction of the main flow path and the amount of excess heat that is mixed into the tributary sidearms. These factors can be evaluated in terms of a shape factor derivable from heat budget relationships applied to each segment of the cooling lake. The derivation of the shape factor is presented and its evaluation for different intake and discharge configurations is illustrated. The use of the shape factor in temperature prediction relationships for different types of lakes is also presented.

Subject Headings: Water intakes | Lakes | Temperature effects | Temperature distribution | Cooling (wastewater treatment) | Power transmission | Power plants | Water discharge

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