SimScale CAE Forum

Art project natural draft cooling towers creating steam rings?

Germany is in the process of shutting down the majority of its large conventional heat power plants.(nuclear and coal) W are proposing an art project where we intend to technically augment the power plant’s natural draft cooling towers so they can also produce “smoke rings”, i.e. vortex ring steam clouds.

As we are unfamiliar with CFD software we are out here to look for help or support to make a rough simulation of a cooling tower equipped with a simple mechanism capable to accelerate the gas stream for a short time.

The simulation would need include

  • An idealized simplified cooling tower producing a steady stream of abstract steam.
  • A steady air current that shifts the steam plume sideways after leaving the nozzle.
  • a permeable membrane inside the cooling tower which is animated to episodically accelerate vertically – like a piston – upward inside the cooling tower. During the short time of upward movement the membrane becomes un-permeable i.e. a closed surface. (This can be by actually rotating flaps or similar, or by an abstract change of objects properties or other "tricks". )
  • CFD should illustrate:
    During its quick rise the membrane will accelerate the formerly slowly rising steam inside the cooling tower causing the formation of a steam vortex ring above the towers nozzle, moving quick enough to break free from the ordinary steam plume below and continuing to fly up (until it degrades)

What we have:

What we can offer:

  • Featuring as contributor in exhibition and catalogue etc.
  • Invitation to Berlin an April 26th for grand opening

Please feel free to give any suggestions advices or practical support

Thank you best regards Tim Edler (artist)


Great project Tim!

I will contact you privately to discuss further details.



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