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AIR DUCT DESIGN

Air duct functions in transmitting air from the air handling units to the space to be airconditioned. The essential economics of an air transmission system is achieved by a proper balance between the initial or first cost and operating cost for the given flow rate of air. The first cost depends on the cost of duct sizes whereas operating cost is determined by the fan power consumption which depends on the pressure drop in the air handling equipment and the duct system. The pressure drop can be reduced by increasing the size of the ducts but it will increase the first cost. Thus an optimum solution has to be arrived at. FACTORS GOVERNING AIR DUCT DESIGN : In Telecom. bldgs the space to accommodate air duct assumes a dictating role. Noise generated, due to velocity of air in the duct also becomes a guiding factor. The ducts designed for Telephone Exchange bldgs. normally, air velocity is selected from following ranges for an overall economy (for TE/Telecom bldg) : ---------------------------------------------------------------------Application Main duct Branch duct Return air passage (M/mt) (M/mt) (M/mt) ---------------------------------------------------------------------Tech. Rooms 350-500 250-300 280-400 Nontech. Rooms 300-350 200-250 250-300 -----------------------------------------------------------------------Air distribution systems are divided into three pressure categories : low, medium and high (same as class I, class II and class III fans) as given below : Low pressure - upto 3.75 inch of water gauge, Medium pressure - 3.75 to 6.75 inch of wg, High pressure - 6.75 to 12.25 inch of wg . Medium and high pressure ducts may be used to meet space limitations. Thickness of sheets for rectangular ductwork shall however be as follows : ----------------------------------------------------------------------Longest side (mm) Minimum G.S sheet Thickness in (mm) in Gauge -------------------------------------------------------------------------750 and below 0.63 24 751 to 1500 0.80 22 1501 to 2250 1.00 20 2251 and above 1.25 18 --------------------------------------------------------------------------

R. Sharma (BSNL Electrical Zone Patna)

Keeping above factors into consideration a balance has to be struck between initial cost and operating cost. The following factors directly influence the first and operating cost : (i) Heat gain or loss from the duct (ii) Aspect ratio (Long side : Short side) of the duct (iii) Duct friction rate (iv) Type of fittings. The heat loss or gain through the duct system occurs if the duct passes through unconditioned space or a long duct runs through the conditioned space. The loss or gain, which may be considerable, should be taken into account while calculating heating/cooling load. It has been established that (a) Larger the duct aspect ratio, more the heat gain (b) Ducts carrying small air quantities at low velocity has the greatest heat gain. (c) Insulation of the duct decreases the heat gain. Now it is obvious that larger the duct aspect ratio, thickness of sheet metal required shall be more; thus increased initial cost, more heat gain i.e. increased operating cost. Accordingly, it is economical to use duct of low aspect ratio. Also heat gain/loss may also be reduced wherever required by insulating the same through a proper grade of insulating material and of proper thickness. In fact the ducting shall be insulated with following thickness of resin bonded fiber glass or resin bonded mineral wool with thermal conductivity not more than 0.03 K.Cal M/hr M2 0C at 100C mean temperature and density not less than 24 Kg/m3 in case of fiber glass and 48 Kgs/M3 in case of mineral wool. The following guide lines may be followed : ---------------------------------------------------------------------Length of ducts Thickness Insulation lengths/surface ----------------------------------------------------------------------SUPPLY DUCTS (i) upto 18 Meters Nil (ii) 18 to 45 Meters 25 mm Half duct length from tail end (iii) 45 to 60 Meters 25 mm Full duct length (iv) Above 60 Meters 50 mm Full duct length RETURN AIR BOXING/FALSE CEILING : (i) In conditioned space Nil (ii) In non-conditioned space weather maker wall 50 mm Full length A.C. SHAFT (i) Isolating non-conditioned (ii) Isolating conditioned 50 mm Nil Full surface

R. Sharma (BSNL Electrical Zone Patna)

DUCT FRICTION : Continuous loss of pressure in a duct in which air is flowing is called the duct friction loss, given by the following formula : P = 0.03 f (L/d1.22) (V/1000)1.82 Where P = friction loss (in wg) f = interior surface roughness (0.9 for galvanised duct) L = Length of duct (ft) d = duct diameter (in) equivalent diam for rectangular duct work V = air velocity (fpm). This clearly indicates that higher the air velocity and lower the diameter, increased in the duct friction loss. Based on the above formula, the friction loss chart (enclosed) is drawn. DESIGN PROCEDURE :Duct lay out are made simple and symmetrical. There are three common methods for the sizing of ducts. They are : (i) Equal friction method, (ii) Velocity reduction method, (iii) Static regain method. In the EQUAL FRICTION METHOD, the frictional pressure drops per unit length of the duct is maintained constant. An initial velocity is selected near the fan, the sound level being the limiting factors. A suitable velocity in the main duct from sound level considerations is selected. Knowing the air flow rate and the velocity in the main duct, the size and friction loss are determined from the chart. The remaining ducts are then sized maintaining the friction loss per unit length at this value for their respective air flow rates. This method automatically reduces the air velocity in the direction of flow. In the VELOCITY REDUCTION METHOD the main duct is designed in the same manner as in the equal friction method. There after arbitrary reductions are made in the air velocity as we go down the duct run. Equivalent diameters are found as before from the friction chart. This method is used for most simple layout and can be used by persons having considerable practical experience and knowledge to design within reasonable accuracy. The basic principle of STATIC REGAIN METHOD is to size a duct run so that the increase in the static pressure (regain due to reduction in velocity) at each branch of air terminal just offsets the friction loss in the succeeding section of duct. The static pressure is then same before each terminal and at each branch. Comparison of the first and third method has also been done which is summarised as below :(i) Header duct size are same in both methods. (ii) Branch duct sized by static regain method are longer than by equal friction method (iii) Static regain method requires about 13% more sheet metal by weight (iv) Operating cost in case of equal friction method is slightly higher (about 5%) A few general rules may be followed while designing ducts : (i) Air should be conveyed as directly as possible to economise on power, material and space. (ii) Sudden changes in direction should be avoided. When bends are essential, turning vanes should be used to minimise pressure losses.

R. Sharma (BSNL Electrical Zone Patna)

(iii) Air velocities in ducts should be within permissible limit to minimise noise. (iv) Diverging section should be made gradual. The angle of divergence should not exceed 200. (v) Rectangular ducts should be made as nearly square as possible. An aspect ratio of 4 : 1 or less should be maintained. (vi) Ducts should be made of smooth materials such as galvanised iron (GI) or aluminum sheet metal. Whenever other materials are used allowance should be made for the roughness of materials. (vii) Dampers should be provided in each branch outlet for balancing the system. (viii) Avoid duct obstructions . EXAMPLE For a telephone exchange Total air quantity - 8800 cfm 4 air terminals - 7000 cfm, 600 cfm, 600 cfm & 600 cfm Operating pressure for all terminals - 0.15 in wg Radius elbows, R/D = 1.25 Find the duct sizes and total static pressure required at fan discharge using equal friction method. SOLUTION :Let us choose initial velocity as 1400 fpm Duct area = 8800/1400 = 6.286 sq.ft. thus a size of 46" x 22" is selected. Equivalent round duct diameter is 34.2 in Friction rate = 0.065 in wg. per 100 ft of equivalent length 40 A 1800cfm 20 1200cfm B 20 C 20 D

10 7000cfm 20
1

10 600 10 600 10 600cfm cfm cfm


8 12

10
2

10
9

10

10
3

10
11

10
13

10

10
7

R. Sharma (BSNL Electrical Zone Patna)

Duct section Air quantity CFM cap Duct area Area Duct size (cfm) (%) (%) (sq.ft) __________________________________________________________ To A A-B B-C C - 12 8800 1800 1200 600 100 20.41 13.64 6.82 100.00 27.41 20.00 11.40 6.29 20 X 52

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1.724 20 X 14 1.258 20 X 10 0.717 12 X 10

12 - 13 300 3.41 6.12 0.385 10 X 6 __________________________________________________________ Equivalent length calculation :_______________________________________________________________________ DUCT SECTION ITEM LENGTH ADD. EQUIV. LENGTH (ft) (ft) _______________________________________________________________________ TO A DUCT ELBOW A-B B-C C - 12 DUCT DUCT DUCT ELBOW 12 - 13 DUCT 10 20 20 30 5 60 15

_______________________________________________________________________ 140 20 ______________________________________________________________________ Loss = 160 x 0.065/100 = 0.104 in wg Now we know that the total static pressure at fan discharge = Duct friction + terminal pressure - regain Here Velocity in initial section = 1218 fpm

R. Sharma (BSNL Electrical Zone Patna)

Velocity in last section = 720 fpm Using 75% regain coefficient Regain = 0.75 [(1218/4000)2 - (720/4000)2 ] = 0.044 in wg Total static pressure at fan discharge = 0.104 + 0.15 - 0.044 in Wg = 0.21 in Wg. RELATION OF CFM TO AREA FOR EQUAL FRICTION PER FOOT OF LENGTH _______________________________________________________________________ CFM Duct CFM Duct CFM Duct CFM Duct Capacity Area Capacity Area Capacity Area Capacity Area (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1 2.0 26 33.5 51 59.0 76 81.0 2 3.5 27 34.5 52 60.0 77 82.0 3 5.5 28 35.5 53 61.0 78 83.0 4 7.0 29 36.5 54 62.0 79 84.0 5 9.0 30 37.5 55 63.0 80 84.5 6 10.5 31 39.0 56 64.0 81 85.5 7 11.5 32 40.0 57 65.0 82 86.0 8 13.0 33 41.0 58 65.5 83 87.0 9 14.5 34 42.0 59 66.5 84 87.5 10 16.5 35 43.0 60 67.5 85 88.5 11 17.5 36 44.0 61 68.0 86 89.5 12 18.5 37 45.0 62 69.0 87 90.0 13 19.5 38 46.0 63 70.0 88 90.5 14 20.3 39 47.0 64 71.0 89 91.5 15 21.5 40 48.0 65 71.5 90 92.0 16 23.0 41 49.0 66 72.5 91 93.0 17 24.0 42 50.0 67 73.5 92 94.0 18 25.0 43 51.0 68 74.5 93 94.5 19 26.0 44 52.0 69 75.5 94 95.0 20 27.0 45 53.0 70 76.5 95 96.0 21 28.0 46 54.0 71 77.0 96 96.5 22 29.0 47 55.0 72 78.0 97 97.5 23 30.5 48 56.0 73 79.0 98 98.0 24 31.5 49 57.0 74 80.0 99 99.0 25 32.5 50 58.0 75 80.5 100 100.0 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------