Thermal Loading of Thin-Shell Concrete Cooling Towers

by Richard D. Larrabee, Engr.; Souza and True, Cambridge, MA,
David P. Billington, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ,
John F. Abel, (M.ASCE), Asst. Prof. of Struct. Engrg.; Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY,

Serial Information: Journal of the Structural Division, 1974, Vol. 100, Issue 12, Pg. 2367-2383

Document Type: Journal Paper


The behavior of reinforced concrete cooling shells is investigated under the effect of axisymmetric operating thermal loads and nonaxisymmetric solar thermal loads. Analytical and finite element techniques are applied, and stress and displacement results are compared to field measurements on the 420-ft high Martins Creek cooling tower. High flexural stresses due to operating thermal gradients are found to be relieved by meridional cracking of the shell, and the effect of this cracking is examined in relation to cooling-tower design.

Subject Headings: Thermal loads | Thermal properties | Load factors | Concrete | Cooling towers | Reinforced concrete | Finite element method | Stress analysis

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