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by R.V. Simha
Air tron, 334, 2nd Floor, 41 st Cross, 1st Main, 8 th Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore – 560 082 . E-mail :
Dated : March 12, 2005


Conven tional chilled water system s (in air conditioning plants) work on a ∆ T of about 5°C. This is raised to 9 to 10°C in High- ∆T syste m s. The big advantage is, of course, the reduction in water flow rate / TR. Although high ∆Ts are desired, they a re not achieved re adily. It is necessary to keep all of the several factors involved all the ti m e in focus viz., the Characteristics of co oling coil, Design & selection of the cooling coil, Control valve characteristics, Authority of the control valve, Design of the branch circuit (comp rising Shut-off valves, Balancing valves, Strainers, piping etc.,) during design, p lanning & execution o f the project. Amongst the several consequences o f this failure, the m ost conspicuous, are perhaps, the inability to load all ch illers to their full capacities and the inefficient use of chillers. This paper discusses all tho se vital considerations, which it is essential to address, in order to achieve targeted plant performan ce & efficiencies.


What is a High-∆ T S ystem ? In convent ional air condit ioning sy stems, the difference between entering and ° leavin g temp eratures across the chillers (∆T) is about 5 C. It will, however be ° higher - at 9 t o 10 C - in the case of High-∆T chilled water sy stems. T his High∆T needs to be achieved not only at chillers but also on low side termin als like Air Handling Units and Fan Coil Units. For t he normal ∆T of 5 C (9 F), the flow rate will be 0.16 l/s (2.5 gp m/TR). In a High-∆T sy stem, on the other hand, the flow rate comes down to 0.09 l/s (1.5 gpm/TR). The reduction in flow will therefore be in the ratio of 5 / 9 i.e., about 0.55.
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But. then such expectations are often belied. because of its obvious att ractions. they did not deter the industry from accept ing the sy stem – the difficulties were merely addressed and solutions evolved – as indeed is being done even at the present time. The saving in connected power due to smaller pumps employed will be greater than any increase in pow er requirements of the chillers due to the larger range through which the chillers will be required t o work. nevertheless.∆T sy stems have come t o stay. And we need only to find solutions to tackle it. It is needless to say that first cost of entire p iping system will also be lower in this system. the insulation cost will also be lower. reduction in sizes of pipes. For large plants. High. It follows therefore that one of the main themes in today’s air conditionin g systems viz.. therefore High. There were. chillers each of 2000 TR capacity. This is typified by the District Cooling Plants. in fact. conservation of energy. likewise. High-∆T systems are now accepted all over the world. Obviously. many aspects of its design and performance that caused concerns. It is well to recall in t his context. not withstanding the “Low ∆T Syndrome”. concerns about t he difficulties / in ability to achieve the h igh design ∆Ts. What then are the several sy mptoms that constitut e the “ Low ∆T Syndrome” ? Figure 1 shows 4 nos. to meet this load of 1500 TR. A plant of t his t ype may have to operate at loads as low as say 1500 T R (about 18% of full load). t here are. fittings. of course. Capacities of such p lants range from about 10000 TR to over 200000 TR. These advantages become increasingly significant as the plant capacities go up. High. valves. connected pumps p ower requirements will also be lower. control valves. balancing valves and pumps. Likewise. 3.∆T Benefits – its future : The most important benefits are. Using normal ∆T systems for plants of such size is unthinkable. nevertheless. One would e xpect that it will suffice to run one chiller at partial load.2. so that t he t otal plant capacity is 8000 TR at full load. 2 . is well addressed in this system. so much so that the term “Low ∆T Syndrome” has gained widespread currency. though they have come int o vogue more recently than primary and secondary pumping for chilled water sy stems. The concept when it was introduced was readily accep ted.∆T systems are the first choice. Low-∆ T S yndrome : The High-∆T syst ems are not new. the history of p rimary – secondary systems of chilled water pip ing.

9.6) / 200 =2000 ΤΡ∆ T.5 x 8.33 (6 0.6) / 200 =1150 Fig 1 – Chillers cannot be loaded to t heir full capacit y if ∆ T is low 3 .8 – 44 .33 (53 .5 x 8.0 = 2000 x 1.6– 44 .2 = 2 000 x 1.ΤΡ∆ T -16.

the temperature of return water from the ° ° ° ° load should be around 16 C (61 F) for a sup ply water temperature of 7 C (44. is the primary reason for going for var iable flow sy stems. M oreover. If as the load on a individual Terminal falls and the flow is not reduced appropriately.e. Low-∆ T Syndrome compared to Low Power Factor S cenario : If then the High.. There is another important effect.say about 12 C.. but no lower. the r eturn ° water temperature could be much lower .e. there will be no increase in the differential pressure across supp ly & return mains. w ill therefore cool from 16 C to 7 C. the p ump flow. ° ° The chiller in turn. 1100 TR. That is because the Low-∆T Syndrome is the equivalent of Low power factor in an electrical distribution system.6 F).∆T Sy stems p ose such serious problems how can they be tackled? It is perhaps easiest to start with an electrical analogy to gain a better underst anding of the p roblem. the T erminal will be over cooling the area its serving. this is equivalent to under sizing of the plant. In eff ect. coils etc. lo aded may not get adequat e water for effective coo lin g. p ip es. It will d eliver only 12 7 / 16 .∆T and it operates at lower ∆Ts. The chiller will continue to cool water ° to 7 C.7 = 5 / 9 of 2000 TR i. If the system had been designed for High. Operated and/or Maintained Cooling Coils.Ideally sp eaking (in a High-∆T sy stem). Problems Root Cause Solution 4 . Its cap acity will therefore be reduced to 1100 / 2000 x 100 i. Accordingly. two chillers will have to be on line (each delivering 750 TR app rox) in order to deliver a capacity of 1500 T R. s Delta T Correction at Cooling Coils. it is obvious t hat t he entire p ip ing sy stem including p umps. Under-loaded Induction Mot ors s Power Factor Corr ection at Induction Motor s Hydronic C ooling s High Flow Demand s High Pressure In Pipes and Heat Exchangers s Low Delta T s Improperly Designed. T hus the opportunity for energy saving is lost – which infact. In practice. Consequently . Please see the comp arisons below: Ele ctrical Distribution Symptoms s High Current Deman d s High Voltage Losses In Conducto rs and Transformers s Low Po wer Factor s Large. will t urn out to be undersized t o handle the higher flow rates that the lower ∆Ts will call for at full load. 55%. when the flow is not throttled approp riately. the p ump speed is not reduced and neither accordingly. 4. T his is the situation at part load. At the same time another terminal which is fully..

there would be nothing to commend it.6 t imes t he ∆T at 100% capacity. the ∆T at 50% load should be 1. it should be 1.6 F app rox) at 50% ° capacity. Fig.4 C (2. their performance is ‘Non Linear’. cross flow coils do not have such characteristics.5 g/TR). Cooling Coil Design and Selection : Focusing again on the Hydronic Systems. Unfortunately. but instead. One would assume – simplistically – that when the load falls to say 50%. ° in this case. the coil capacity is still 80% (and not 50%). This can be seen from Figur e 2 – which is t aken from ASHRAE Hand Book Application Volume.Benefits s Increased Power Distribution an d Lower Current Demand and Lower Volt age Losses s Increased Cooling Distribution Lower s Flow Demands Lo wer Pressure Losses 5. the flow required to produce 50% ca pacity is less than 30%). Further. at 50% flow.16 L/s (2. t he s tandard conditions are ° ° ° 7 C entering chilled water temp erature. 2 – Characteristics of Cooling Coil Saying that the coil capacity at 50% flow is 80% is the same thing as saying that the ∆T at 50% capacity should be 80 / 50 = 1. ° ° ° Thus if ∆T at full load is 9 C. so would the flow. The performance of such a coil would be “Linear”. it is obvious that t he chilled water flow rate in a variable flow system should decrease as t he load decreases – for otherw ise. 27 C mi xed air entering temp erature 12 C leaving air temperature and a water flow rate of 0.6 x 9 = 14. This decrease does indeed occur. 5 .6 x 5 = 8 C). but how much should be the decrease? First. (Incidentally this statement holds for the normal 5 C ∆T Sy stems also. thus. we shall note that in a (cross flow) cooling coil.

C2 . Unfortunately this is not how things work.(2) . qw = coil capacity from water side calculations. In this equat ion. when the manufacturer puts forward his submitt al. A is obviously constant for a given coil. but there is another equation and it is that w hich plays the vital role in underst anding the low ∆T problem. U = Overall heat transfer co-efficient. Qa = Air flow rate Qw = Water flow rate ∆h = Entering air enthalpy minus leaving air enthalpy. It is usual for him to fall back upon the following 3 equ ations.(1) . As the capacity falls at say 50% part load across the coil. t he heat balance b etween air and water would be neatly maintained. ∆T = Leavin g water temp erature minus entering water temperature.are constants to t ake care of factors required to obtain results in desired units.1. qa = q w = q = coil capacity qa = Q w x ∆h x C1 qw = Q a x ∆T x C2 Where. C1. T his would be simple.1 Non-Linear Characteristics of Cooling Coil : Why is the coil characteristic non-linear ? We all know that a p roject eng ineer is invariably required to check a cooling coil section. A = coil surface area. q = q a = qw = A x U x LM TD Where. if the chilled water also falls t o 50% of full load flow. LMT D = Logarithmic Mean Temperature Difference. q = Coil cap acity (given) qa = coil capacity from air side calculations.5. q = qw = qa These checks are necessary and essential.(4) .(3) . 6 .

It is therefore only the chilled water return temperature t hat will act to increase (by means of reducing the chilled water flow rate) to reduce the LMTD in resp onse to t he reduced load. but less rap idly t han q.LT D 2.2 Worked Example : A Worked examp le is presented below to supp ort the above concep ts. Hence.Entering air temp. b. GT D LT D = = = = Greatest T emperat ure Difference (°F) (Entering Air Temp.ft 468 fpm (at full load) LMTD = LMTD = d.say about 40%. U Upl Ufl TR gpm LWT = = = = = . Coil data : 100% air flow rate A = face area face velocity Nomenclature : a. the entering and leaving air temperatures do not change much – and likewise the chilled water supp ly temp erature nearly constant. only U & LMTD can change (since A is constant for a given coil). at-say 50% air flow across the coil. Thus t he deficit must be met by a decrease in LMTD to balance equat ion 4.Leaving water temp. three stay essentially constant. the cap acity. Of the four temperatures that determine the LMTD. the load will be 50% but U x A would have decreased by less than 50% .As the capacity changes. the chilled water flow is reduced to a greater degree as load falls off.1. e.3 Log10 GT D LTD Overall heat transfer co-efficient (bt uh/sft/°F) U at part load U at full load Ton s Refrigeration Water Flow Rat e in gpm Leaving Water Temperature °F 7 = = = 29250 cfm 62.°F .°F) Log Mean T emperature difference °F GT D . h. The whole point is that ∆T increases at coil p art load or alternately. c.°F . f. U does de clin e with flow.°F) Least Temperature Difference °F (Leaving Water Temp.5 sq. g. 5.

Calculat e LMTD for 75% value (row-2) assuming U = 0.50°C) GT D LT D = = LMT D = 18.6 54.8 11.8 x 12000 = 62.7 22.5 60 trial & error Det ermine ∆T from LWT & Chilled wat er supply temperature.6 Calculated Manu facturer's Values 1 2 3 4 92. Results of Cal culations : The table below furnishes the result s of the calculations: gpm TR ∆ T .EWT j. d.6 11.6 54.3 Log10 GT D LT D 78. c.6 2.8 26.9 0.4 45 Calculations: Consider conditions corresponding to Row 2 (i.9 °F (9.e.6 T R load) a. b.7 14.2 30.7 18. ∆T Proced ure : a.9 times full load value. Calculat e U From Row 1 (10 0%) : Using 100% load values : TR x 12000 = A x U x LMTD 92. Using 100% values (row-1) calculate LMTD.3 Log10 b.9 8 .6 11. Again using 100% values calculate `U' value. EWT = = Entering Water Temperature °F LWT .2 137 91 57 28 Data 137 110 80.°F Upl Ufl 1 0.8 0.7 = = = 18. f.5 x U x 14. e. Enter LMTD value from previous step in the LMTD equation & s olve for LWT -. Calculat e LMTD for 100% values (Ro w-1) : LMTD = GT D .3 19. at 74. Determine the flow rate.i.8 74.LT D 2..3 16.

Calculat e LMTD for 75% values (Ro w-2) : 74. Calculat e Leaving Water Temperature : LMT D = (78.1°F).6 .6 = 1790.(53. d.65) .U = 92.6 .9 = 895200 = 13 .LWT) .6 10.35 LMT D required = 13 .5 = 20.5 °F (for which LMTD is 13.3 °F) and the calculated v alue (12 .5 13.5 42.3 67259.5 x 1196 x 0.90 931.LWT 53 .3 .42.8 = (78. f. repeat the calculatio n wit h diff erent value of LWT.6 .65 10.5 74.5 x 14.6 . Det ermine ∆T = 62.3°F Calculate LWT by Trial & Error from the above equation : Try LWT = = 65 ∆ (78.3 Log10 13.5 2.LWT 10.3 c.LWT) .5 2.3 Log10 78.3 .6 .6 x 12000 x 1196 x 0. LMTD = 62.3 °F. T his procedure leads to a LWT value of 62.5 = 13.258 = = Since the discrepancy be tween the required v alue (13.00 Determine flow rate = 24 x TR ∆T = 24 x 74.1 2.295238 = 3.1 = 12.00 9 . e.5 3.42.52 gpm 20 20.8 x 12000 = 11136000 = 1196 btuh/sft /°F 62.0 °F) is not acceptably small.5 2.6 .10.3 Log10 1.4 = 89.3 Lo g10 78 .6 .8) Log10 78.0°F 0.9 x LMTD Hence.6 x 12000 = 62.

They are not actual values.Delta T . 3.1.LMTD . 3b . The calculations have been made to illustrate the concept.Vs LWT 10 8 6 4 2 0 15 16 17 18 LWT-°C 19 20 21 Fig. LWT 20 15 10 5 0 15 16 17 18 LWT-°C 19 20 21 Notes: 1. Calculations have been made on the assumption that the coil is handling only sensible heat load. 2. 5. Actual coil selections should use U value calculations based on approved procedures and duly factoring Latent Heat loads.vs. but the actual values will be proportional to them. U values shown at different loads are assumed values. Fig.The variation of LM TD & Delta T with resp ect to LWT is also d ep icted graphically in Fig 3a & 3b. 10 .3 Exam ple of Cooling Coil Selection : It will be useful to t ake a look at the Tables 1 & 2 below at this p oint. 3a .

3 74.28 16.59 1.4 45.0 9.2005 Cap acity % 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 Total TR 92.093 0.19 4.8 83.070 0.42 22.94 LPS/TR 0.076 0.56 5.2 30.17 Deg C 9 9.067 0.073 0.093 Deg C 9.3 Flow USGPM LPS 137.1a Data of Manufacturer .3 ∆T Deg F 16.8 83.39 1.063 TAB LE – 2 DATA OF MANUFACTURER 1 & 2 COMPARED Ta ble 2a Manufacturer 1 : Cap acity % 100 75 50 25 Total TR 92.TABLE – 1 Table.9 11.8 8.5 115.4 11.0 54.6 10 10.4 13.17 LPS/TR 0.073 0.45 46.5 110.4 20.092 0.093 Deg C 9.1 23.082 0.59 7.5 30.092 0.3 23.19 16.2 11.62 20.23 6.03 2.3 37 28 18.9 12.6 54.092 0.26 16.88 1.1 LPS/TR 0.0 Table – 1b Data of Manufacturer .01.38 2.72 19.35 Flow USGPM LPS 137 91 54 24.2 17.083 0.0 10.56 6.4 10.093 0.88 5.2 41.2 12.08.17 5.25 3.9 11 .37 8.1 64.0 9.6 46.8 69.1 dated 23.8 55.7 Flow USGPM LPS 137.1 68.8 74.1 dated 21.0 8.087 0.52 21.69 3.2 18.2004 Cap acity % 100 75 50 25 Total TR 92.53 ∆T Deg F 16.1 18.32 23.0 9.28 18 18.81 ∆T Deg F 16.0 80.7 98.080 0.

Control Valve as a Te am : It is clear that the coil requires a flow. what is required is a v alve which closes the flow ‘fast’ t o begin with and only ‘gradually’ later as the capacity approaches zero.86 1.81 4.2 LPS/TR 0. Hence an equal p ercentage valve should be applied for proper flow control.079 0.25 Deg C 9. To achieve this. 12 .2 19 21. To achieve this high ∆T.1 14.093 0. 4 .0 ∆T Deg F 16. the return water temperature goes up and the LMT D correspondingly goes down.9 20.Ta ble 2b Manufacturer 2 : Cap acity % 100 75 50 25 Total TR 84 62 42 21 Flow USGPM LPS 125. it is certain that precautions need to be taken while selecting the coil. that falls off steeply to beg in with as the load falls from 100% load (valve in fully open position) but a flow that declines slowly as the valve nears its fully closed p osition.1 78. A valve with such a characteristic is a globe type (control) valv e with equal p ercenta ge p lug. When t his happens.1.069 0.1 Coil .8 25.7 45. Thus compensation for the inadequate drop in the U factor is achieved. 6.060 This example s erves to show how the ∆T at partial load has to increase over ∆T at full load. High return water temp erature automatically means a high ∆T. Figure 5 addresses it in a more detailed and realistic manner.6 12.0 10.Typical Coil & Valve Characteristic “Marriage” While Figure 4 is about the concept. Fig.0 7.91 2.

The valve characteristic (for equal p ercenta ge valve) shows ‘fast’ reduction in flow to be gin with and a slow down as the valv e ap p roaches the fully closed position. The mutually complimentary nature of the characteristics results in a linear characteristic. The Rangeability of the valve (the ratio of flow at fully op en p osition and minimum flow of t he coil is likely to op erate) should be not less t han 50 to 1. Figure 4b shows the valve characteristic.2 Valve Requirements : a.e. This will ensure satisfactory modulation down to 1/50 of full flow.5 minimum. the former depicts the inadequate sensitivity of coil capacity for flow reduction to begin with i.. As already discussed. b. The valve should have a pressure drop that is large enough to ensure that its operation will have necessary impact on flow variation (control).Figure 5 – Typical Control characteristic with control valve. The combined coil heat transfer characteristic for a cooli ng coil with a valve characteristic (valve Authority 50%) shown : In Figure 4a. Its value should be 0. 6. 13 . An inde x of this aspect of valve performance is: Valve ∆P at 100% ∆P of t he branch circu it (in which the valve is op erating) This is called “Valve Authority”. the coil characteristic is shown.1. as the v alve starts closing and an improvement as the valve approaches t he fully closed p osition.

control syst ems. High chilled-water ∆Ts result from proper design. See also App endix . operation. Chilled-wat er ∆Ts are d etermined by a building’s various terminal devices.c. The designer should make sure that the coil and valve selections are carried out specifically to meet the stipulations. The chilled-w ater ∆T should be equal-to-design at full-load and greaterthan-design at part-load in a variable –flow hydronic cooling sy stem. High-∆T systems are here to stay . Otherwise high velocities and throttling will cause deterioration of valve seats and permit chilled water leaks in valve closed position. 7. Chillers should be sp ecified for Hi gh-∆T. and maintenance of cooling coils. A 50% safety factor is recommended.I for Definitions of Valve Terms. and/or larger chilledwater piping will not overcome t he performance p roblems resulting from low/below-design chilled-water ∆Ts. More water chillers. 14 . it will be noted that t he following points emerge: a. The success of entire sy stem will be assured and p rojected savin gs ach ieved. trim plugs & seals should be robust . The supplier of coil and valv es in p articular should understand the requirements thoroughly and meet the requirements fully . dist ribution pumps and distribution piping. The control valve should close ti ght against the highest differential p ressure that the chilled water p umps can generate. only if due attention is p aid by detailed engineering. control valves and design of t he rest of the sy stem particularly pip ing sy stem. 8. control v alves. has to be done t o meet the demands of High-∆T sy stems in a meticulous and professional manner. d. installation. e. Valve actuators. larger chilled-water pump s. Conclusion : Inspite of the “Low-∆T Sy ndrome”. b. Summary : Summarizing. coils. Selection of chillers. valve cages. c. d.

in Figure 6. the percent age of full flow chan ges from 10 to 25%. an increase of 150%. if the valve is moved fro m 80 to 100% of full stroke. the percentage of full flow chan ges from 40 to 100%. three dist inct flow conditions can be developed. an increase of 150%. 15 . b. if the valve is moved from 50 to 70% of full stroke. c. a. and the fluid flow through the valve. Linear : Linear valv es produce equal flow increments p er equal st em travel throu ghout the travel range of the stem. This characterist ic is recommended for control on (hot and) chilled wat er terminals. For examp le. The plug seats w ithin the valve port and against t he valve seat with a composition disk or metal-to-metal seating. expressed in percent of full flow. exp ressed in p ercent of travel. the flow increases by an equal percentage. which moves a stem with an att ached plug.APPENDIX – I DEFINITIONS OF VALVE TERMS Control Valve Flow Characteristics : The relationship between the st em t ravel or rotation of a valve. Generally. the rate at which the flow is increased per movement of the stem is reduced in a nonlinear f ashion. B ased on t he geometry of the p lug. Equal percentage : This type of valve produces an exponential flow increase as the stem moves from the closed position to the open. Quick Opening : When started from the closed position. Then. The t erm equal p ercentage means that for equal increments of stem travel. As t he stem moves towards the open position. valves control t he flow of fluids by an actuator. again. This characteristic is used in twoposition or on/off app lications. a quick opening valve allows a considerable amount of flow to p ass for small stem travel. T his characteristic is used on st eam coil terminals and in the byp ass p ort of three-way valves.

Stem : The shaft that runs through t he valve bonnet and connects an actuator to the valve plug.Control Valve Flow Valve Components : a. but structural parts such as the stem can be the limiting factor.Fig 6 . T rim includes the stem. T he close-off rating is a function of actuator’s power to hold t he valve closed against pressure drop. packing. b. it does not include the valve body. VALVE RAT INGS : a. Trim : All p arts of the valve that contact the controlled fluid. 16 . disc and seat. Port : The op ening in the valve seat. d. c. Close-off Rating : The maximum pressure drop that a valve can withstand w ithout leakage while in the fully closed position. Seat : The st ationary part of the valve body that has a raised lip to contact the valve disc when closin g off flow of the controlled flu id. p lug.

Reference : 1. Bibilography 1. Fiorino D. 3. and end connections which are determined by a society such as ANSI (American National Standards Institute). The nominal rating is oft en cast on the valve body and p rovides a way to classify the valve by p ressure. W . etc. Control Valve Selection For Hydronic Systems – ASHRAE Journal. The nomin al valve body rating is the p ermissible p ressure at a sp ecific temp erature. Achieving High Chilled Water Delta T s – ASHRAE Journal. disc. Body Rating (Nomi nal) : The t heoretical p ressure rating. wall thickness. permissible flowing fluid pressure and flowing fluid temperature of the valve body (exclusive of t he p acking. c. Total Hydronic Balancing: A Handbook for Design and T roubleshooting of Hydronic HVAC Systems. 2004 – ASHRAE Hand Book – HVAC Systems & Equipments – Chapter 42 – Valves. November 2000 Petitjean. disc. 1997. 17 . T rouble Shooting – Chilled Water Distribution Problems at the NASA Johnson Space Centre – HPAC Journal. W. Low delta t central plant syndrome . Kirsner.P. Kirsner.– HPAC Journal. expressed in p si. of the valv e body exclusive of packing. T our & Andersson Hydronics AB.Heating. February 1995 Hegberg M.b. Body Rating (Actual) : The correlation between safe. etc). A valve of sp ecified body material and nominal body rating often has characteristics such as p ressure-temperature ratings. 3. November 1999. 2. R . 4. Adjusting & Balancing. 2003 – ASHRAE Hand Book – HVAC Appl ications – Chapter 37 – T esting.C. 2. February 1995 . Piping & Air Conditioning.