Nonlinear Dynamic Analysis of Cooling Tower

by Chang-hua Yeh, Sr. Struct. Engr.; Harza Engrg. Co., Chicago, IL,

Serial Information: Journal of the Power Division, 1972, Vol. 98, Issue 1, Pg. 49-63

Document Type: Journal Paper


The finite element method is employed to study the nonlinear dynamic effect of a strong wind gust on a cooling tower. Geometric nonlinearities associated with finite deformations of the structure are considered but the material is assumed to remain elastic. Load is applied in small increments and the equation of motion is solved by a step-by-step integration technique. It has been found that the cooling tower will collapse under a wind gust of maximum pressure 1.2 psi (8.27 kN/m²). The collapse is caused by a local buckling phenomenon along the waist of the cooling tower. The response of the structure before collapse is presented and compared with a linear solution. These results have demonstrated the importance of considering nonlinear behavior in the analysis.

Subject Headings: Dynamic analysis | Wind gusts | Nonlinear analysis | Nonlinear response | Cooling towers | Finite element method | Deformation (mechanics) | Equations of motion

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