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Barometric Pressure Relief Damper Page 1 of 9

William A. Greco w2gre@verizon.net Trident3


June 2009

Summary
This report will show that simple* barometric pressure relief** dampers can be
statically calibrated accurately by the use of mathematical principles. As no means
of calibration markings are included on balance weights on Barometric Pressure Relief
Dampers, the proper calibration to initially set a given damper is usually confined to
turning on the system, manually and dynamicaly setting the damper by the balancer
while the system is in operation.

* Simple in that only gravitational and pressure control is available and no electronic
means of operation is provided for damper operation.
** Relief = indicating that the damper must open at a preset minimum value.

Main
Most true Barometric Pressure Relief Dampers have an axle that is off center with
respect to thier perifery.
Some Barometric Pressure Relief Dampers are constructed with an axle that is centered
and require a balance weight that can be radially offset. However dampers of this type
should be avoided as their actual operation is in doubt. A Barometric Pressure Relief
Damper with an equal amount of pressure on both sides of the axle cannot produce
the forces of velocity pressure to cause an imbalance that percipitates dynamic
movement.

Figure-1 shows a Barometric Pressure Relief Damper that has equal blade areas on
both the top and bottom which corresponds to an equal velocity pressure on each side of
the damper axle.
Barometric Pressure Relief Damper Page 2 of 9
William A. Greco w2gre@verizon.net Trident3
June 2009

Figure 2 indicates a Barometric Pressure Relief Damper operated by pendulum action


of the attached weight, which is set to a desired angle by means of an adjustable collar.

The shaded part of the circle in figure-3 represents the smaller area of a Barometric
Pressure Relief Damper with an offset axle.
Barometric Pressure Relief Damper Page 3 of 9
William A. Greco w2gre@verizon.net Trident3
June 2009

Refering to figure-3 shown on page-2 , the areas A1 and A2 of the circle can be
calculated thus:
C = 2 2hr-h 2 equation-1

And

 4h 2   C 2 
A2 =    2  0.392  equation-2
 3   4h 
good up to a semi-circle

Substituting equation-1 into equation-2:

2

 4h   2 2hr-h
A2 = 
2
2
   0.392  equation-3
  
 3   4h 2 
 

And it follows that:

2


A1 =  r 2  
4h 2
  
2 2hr-h 2   0.392  eqution-4
  
 3   4h 2 
 
Barometric Pressure Relief Damper Page 4 of 9
William A. Greco w2gre@verizon.net Trident3
June 2009

The centroid of a plane surface is a point that corresponds to the center of gravity of a
very thin homogenous plate, at that plates center of area. The force per unit area acts
through the centroid. The damper torque on each side of the axle is product of the
distance from the axle center line to the centroid times the force per unit area on the plate
times the plate area normal to the direction of flow.
After the areas have been ascertained it becomes necessary to calculate the centroid
of each area (A1 and A2). Refering to figure-4, the centroid will act at some point along
h1 and h2 at the center of the semi-circular areas.

To calculate centroid values h1 and h2 the following equations can be used:

 C 3   C 3 
h1 = equation-5a and h2 = equation-5b
12A1 12A 2

Although equations 5a and 5b are recommended for their pure simplicity the following
equations can also be used.

2 3 2 3
 2   r sin 1   2   r sin  2 
h1 =     equation-6a h2 =     equation-6b
 3   A1   3   A2 
where:
A1 or 2 = area r = damper radius

 4r sin 3  1   4r sin 3  2 
h1 =   equation-7a h2 =   equation-7b
 61 -3 sin 2 1   6 2 -3 sin 2 2 
Barometric Pressure Relief Damper Page 5 of 9
William A. Greco w2gre@verizon.net Trident3
June 2009

Available Force to Provide Momentum

The theory of air resistance deduced from the principles of mechanics, are given in the
Philosaphiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica of Sir Isaac Newton .
He stated that the forces acting between a solid and a fluid are the same whether the body
moves with a velocity through the fluid or the fluid moves against a body at rest.
This is valid for bodies of similar shape.
The following statments say that the forces acting on two geometrically
similar bodies which move in fluids with different densities are proportional
to- (these statements will not be required until after the damper’s first instant of
movement, in the example given here we assume that the air pressure forces are known).

a) the square of the velocity,


b) b) the square of the linear dimension of the body, and
c) the density of the fluid.

To solve for the torque at the first instant of movement we can use the figure –5 on this
page and equation-8 on page-6 to determine the force avilable to open the barometric
damper:
Barometric Pressure Relief Damper Page 6 of 9
William A. Greco w2gre@verizon.net Trident3
June 2009

A1h1   P  A2 h 2 -  P 


T= - = Torque in inch pounds equation-8
27.72 27.72
where:
P = Total Pressure at the point in the duct (inwg)
Total Pressure = (Static Pressure + Velocity Pressure) - friction up to the damper location
1 psi = 27.72 inches of water gage (inwg)
  distance from center line of damper to axle position
A1 = Area of larger part of damper
h 1  distance of centerline to A1 centroid
A2 = Area of smaller part of damper
h 2  distance of centerline to A2 centroid

Example-1:
Assume a 16 inch diameter barometric damper with an axle offset (Y) of 2 inches.
(see figure-6), assume a system with a total pressure of 2.38 inwg at the damper.
Barometric Pressure Relief Damper Page 7 of 9
William A. Greco w2gre@verizon.net Trident3
June 2009

To find C (the chord) of the semi-circle we first use equation-1.

C = 2 2hr-h 2 equation-1
where:
C = the length of the chord also the length of the axle within the damper
h = the height from the chord to the perimeter of the damper
r = the radius of the damper
2
C = 2 2 6 8   6   15.492 inches

Next the areas of A1 and A2 must be calculated.


First calculate A2 by the use of equation-3 found on page-3 of this report:
2
 
A2 = 
2
 4h   
2 2hr-h 2
  0.392

equation-3
  
 3   4h 2 
 
where:
A2 = the area of the dampers smaller semi-circle
h = the height from the chord to the perimeter of the damper
r = the radius of the damper
 2 
 2 2 6 8  8  
2
46  2
   0.392 = 68.871 in 2
A2 =
3 4 6 
2

To find A1 which is the area of the larger part of the damper subtract
A2 from the total area of the damper:

A1 =  r 2 - A2
3.14 82  - 68.871 = 132.2 in 2

Next we must find the centroids of A1 and A2 parts of the damper.


See page 7.
Barometric Pressure Relief Damper Page 8 of 9
William A. Greco w2gre@verizon.net Trident3
June 2009

C3   C3 
h1 = equation-5a and h2 = equation-5b
12A1 12A2
where:
C = chord length (axle length) = 15.492 inches
h1 ,h 2 = the centroid distances measured from the damper's centerline
A1,A2 = The area's of the respective damper segments
15.4923 
h1 = = 2.344 inches from the centerline
12 132.2 
15.4923 
h2 = = 4.499 inches from the centerline
12 68.87 

Employing equation-8 from page-6 the available torque at the damper is found.
A1h1   P  A2 h 2 -  P 
T= - = Torque in inch pounds equation-8
27.72 27.72
132.2 2.34  2 2.38 68.94.5 - 22.38
T= - = 0.318 inch pounds available for movement
27.72 27.72

A 1” long rod attached to the axle (see figure-2) with a weight weighing 0.319
pounds will keep the damper from opening. A pressure above the setting of 2.38
inwg will then open the damper.
Barometric Pressure Relief Damper Page 9 of 9
William A. Greco w2gre@verizon.net Trident3
June 2009

Conclusion:
A barometric relief damper that is not electrically or electronically controlled must have
it’s axle offset from from it’s centerline to work and be properly statically balanced.
There are manual barometric relief damper’s sold today that have their axles on the
centerline of the damper, their usefullness is in doubt.
The mathematics shown in this report show how to build and balance a manual
barometric pressure relief damper.

William A. Greco
2404 Greensward N.
Warrington, Pa. 18976

References:
Machinery’s Handbook 17th Edition 1964
The Engineer’s Manual, Ralph G. Hudson, John wiley and Sons 1917
Marks Standard Handbook For Mechanical Engineers, 7th Edition, McGraw-Hill 1967
Architectural Graphic Standards, Ramsey and Sleeper, 6th Edition, 1970