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Gas Properties

The Table below lists some of the more useful properties in building services for
natural gas and liquid petroleum gas (LPG).


Properties Natural Gas Liquid Petroleum Gas
(LPG)
Propane

Composition & Chemical symbol 92.6% Methane CH
4

3.6% Ethane C
2
H
6

0.8% Propane C
3
H
8

0.2% Butane C
4
H
10

100% C
3
H
8

Gross Calorific Value (GCV)
(MJ/m
3
)(kJ/litre)
41.6 95
as gas
Gross Calorific Value (GCV)
(MJ/litre)
0.0416 25.5
as liquid
Gross Calorific Value (GCV) (MJ/kg) 53.3 50
Net Calorific Value (NCV)
(MJ/m
3
)
38.7 86
Density of gas at 15
o
C
(kg/m
3
)
0.78 1.85
Density of liquid under pressure
(kg/litre) or (kg/m
3
)
- 0.512 kg/litre or
512 kg/m
3

Ignition temperature (
o
C) 650 510
Operating pressure (millibars) 20 37
Volume of gas per volume of liquid
(m
3
/m
3
) or (m
3
/litre)
- 274 m
3
gas /m
3
liquid or
0.274 m
3
gas / litre liquid
Volume of gas per kg mass of liquid
(m
3
/kg)
- 0.54

LPG (Gas) Pipe Sizing Notes

Allowable pressure drops

Medium pressure lines - 450 Pa per m run ( 2 P.S.I. per 100 foot )
Low pressure lines - 4.1 Pa per m run ( w.g. /100 ft)
- Maximum 1300 Pa total pressure drop in any run.
Gas Pressures

First stage regulation at tank pressure is reduced from 6 bar to 0.7 bar.
Second stage regulation at building pressure is reduced to 50 mbar (0.05 bar)
At equipment and appliances - 37 millibar (0.037 bar)

Natural Gas Pipe Sizing

Allowable pressure drops

The allowable pressure drop between the outlet of the meter and appliances must
not exceed 1 mbar or 0.001 bar or 100 Pa.
Pressure loss is generally limited to between 75 Pa and 125 Pa from the meter to
the point of use.

Gas Pressures

At equipment and appliances - 20 millibar (0.020 bar)


SIMPLE METHOD OF NATURAL GAS PIPE SIZING

A simple method of sizing Natural Gas pipes is to use the tables below.
The three tables are for Steel, thin wall copper and thick wall copper.
An allowance may be made for fittings.
This allowance is to add to the measured pipe lengths, 0.3 metres for 90
o
bends and
0.6 metres for an elbow or tee.

Procedure

1. Measure the length of pipe in each section.
2. Add equivalent lengths for fittings.
3. Determine heat output of appliance or heat to be carried in pipe in MW
4. Divide this by Gross Calorific Value (GCV) of gas i.e. 38.7 MJ/m
3
to
give gas flow rate in m
3
/s.
5. Determine pipe size from relevant Table.

Example 1

Determine the steel pipe size for a gas boiler if the boiler rating is 28 kW and the
measured pipe run is 10.2 metres with 3 elbows.

Procedure

1. Measure the length of pipe in each section answer 10.2 m
2. Add equivalent lengths for fittings answer 3 x 0.6 = 1.8 m. Add to 10.2 m
gives 12.0 metres.
3. Determine heat output of appliance or heat to be carried in pipe in MW.
answer 28 / 1000 = 0.028 MW
4. Divide this by Gross Calorific Value (GCV) of gas i.e. 38.7 MJ/m
3
to give
gas flow rate in m
3
/s answer 0.025 / 38.7 = 0.0007235 m
3
/s
5. Determine pipe size from relevant Table answer from Table 1 gives 20mm
pipe because the flow rate lies between two values on the table and the
larger pipe size is chosen.

Table 1 below is used for Mild Steel pipe, BS 1387: medium grade.

Table 1 Gas Pipe Sizing for Steel Pipe
Nominal
Pipe size
(mm)
Pipe length (m)
3.0 6.0 9.0 12.0 15.0 18.0 21.0 24.0
Gas Flow Rate (m
3
/s)
15 0.00104 0.00072 0.00057 0.00050 0.00044 0.00039 0.00036 0.00034
20 0.00219 0.00149 0.00120 0.00102 0.00090 0.00083 0.00076 0.00071
25 0.00409 0.00275 0.00224 0.00193 0.00169 0.00153 0.00142 0.00134
32 0.00826 0.00574 0.00464 0.00393 0.00346 0.00315 0.00291 0.00275
40 0.01258 0.00865 0.00700 0.00598 0.00527 0.00480 0.00440 0.00417


Table 2 below is used for Copper Tube Table X or EN 1057 thin wall, half hard
temper.

Table 2 Gas Pipe Sizing for Copper Tube Table X
Nominal
Pipe size
(mm)
Pipe length (m)
3.0 6.0 9.0 12.0 15.0 20.0 25.0 30.0
Gas Flow Rate (m
3
/s)
15 0.00079 0.00054 0.00043 0.00035 0.00032 0.00027 0.00025 0.00024
22 0.00244 0.00165 0.00126 0.00102 0.00110 0.00079 0.00070 0.00063
28 0.00495 0.00330 0.00260 0.00220 0.00197 0.00165 0.00142 0.00134

Table 3 below is used for Copper Tube Table Y or EN 1057 thick wall, half hard
temper.

Table 1 Gas Pipe Sizing for Copper Tube Table Y
Nominal
Pipe size
(mm)
Pipe length (m)
3.0 6.0 9.0 12.0 15.0 20.0 25.0 30.0
Gas Flow Rate (m
3
/s)
15 0.00071 0.00047 0.00037 0.00032 0.00028 0.00027 0.00024 0.00020
22 0.00220 0.00149 0.00118 0.00094 0.00087 0.00072 0.00064 0.00057
28 0.00456 0.00307 0.00244 0.00205 0.00181 0.00149 0.00134 0.00118


It must be remembered that the above method of pipe sizing is not as accurate as
using the CIBSE guide method as detailed in page 3, but can be useful for
checking pipe sizes quickly.



CIBSE method of Gas Pipe Sizing

Use CIBSE guide Table C4.45 (steel) and C4.46 (copper) for natural and LPG pipe sizing.
If LPG is used then refer to correction factors on page C4.76 of the CIBSE guide.
Most domestic natural gas appliances operate at a pressure of 20 millibar (0.020 bar)
Domestic LPG appliances operate at a gas pressure of 37 mbar (0.037 bar).
For natural gas it is usual to limit the pressure loss to 75 Pa to 125 Pa from the gas meter to
the point of use.
A maximum pressure drop from meter to appliance of 1millibar (100 Pa) can be used.

Natural Gas Pipe Sizing Example

Size the gas supply pipe shown below. Copper pipework is used.
Appliance pressure is 20 mbar.
Use the maximum pressure drop given above of 100 Pa from meter to appliance.

Section Length
(metres)
1 8
2 4
3 13
4 5
5 4
























Example 1 Gas Pipe System


















To calculate the gas flow rates use the following formula:

Q = H / GCV

Where;
Q = Gas flow rate in pipe section (m
3
/s)
H = Heat output in pipe section (convert to MW)
GCV = Gross Calorific Value of gas (MJ/m
3
) given in Pipe Sizing Table.

For example, in Pipe section 1 the Heat output to all appliances is 25 + 12 + 4 kW = 41
kW.
Flow rate Q = H / GCV
Q = 41 x 10
-3
(MW) / 38.7 (MJ/m
3
) from Pipe Sizing Table.
Q = 1.05943 x 10
-3
m
3
/s
Q = 0.00105943 m
3
/s
Q = approximately 0.00106 m
3
/s








GAS
GROSS CALORIFIC
VALUE
MJ/m
3



Natural gas 38.7

L.P.G. ( Commercial propane) 96


Gas Pipe Sizing Table


Section
Ref.

1
Heat
Output
in
section

kW
2
Flow
rate
m
3
/s
3
Pipe
Size

mm
dia
4
Length
of pipe


m
5
Total Equivalent
length of Fittings


m
6
Total
Pipe
Length
Col.
4+5
m
7
Pressure
drop
per
metre

Pa/m
8
TOTAL
PRESSURE
DROP
Col. 6 x 7
Pa
9
Pressure
atstartof
section
Pa
10
Pressureatend
ofsection
Pa
1 41 0.00106 28 8
Zeta factor for Tee =
0.5 + 1.0 + 0.25 = 1.75
T.E.L. = x le
= 1.75 x 0.7
= 1. 23 m
8 + 1.23
= 9.23
2.2 20.31
2 16 0.000413
15
4
Tee 0.5 + 1.0 = 1.5
T.E.L. = x le
= 1.5 x 0.4
= 0.6 m
4 + 0.6
= 4.6
8.3
38.18

3 4 0.000103
15
13
3 bends @ 1.0 = 3.0
1 plug valve = 1.0
Total = 4.0
T.E.L = 4.0 x 0.2
= 0.8 m
13 + 0.8
= 13.8
1.3
17.94

4 25 0.00065
22
5
2 bends @ 1.0 = 2.0
1 plug valve = 1.0
T.E.L. = x le
T.E.L = 3.0 x 0.5
= 1.5 m
5 + 1.5
= 6.5
3.0
19.5

5 12 0.00031 15 4
1 plug valve = 1.0
T.E.L. = x le
T.E.L = 1.0 x 0.4
= 0.4 m
4 + 0.4
= 4.4
4.0 17.6

Gas pipe sizes and pressure drops can now be put on the drawing.














The pressure drops as shown in the following Table:

Sections
Pressure drop
(Pa)
Pressure
drop (Pa)
1,4 20.31 + 19.50 39.81
1,2,5
20.31 + 38.18 +
17.60
76.09
1,2,3
20.31 + 38.18 +
17.94
76.43

The maximum pressure drop is in sections 1, 2 and 3 and amounts to 76.43 Pa.
This is less than the recommended maximum of 100 Pa; therefore the pipe sizes
are appropriate.
If the pressure drop in sections 1, 2 and 3 and was too high then the pipe size in
section 2 could have been increased to 22mm, and a second calculation of pressure
drop carried out.














GAS
GROSS
CALORIFIC
VALUE
(MJ/m
3
)


Natural gas 41.6

L.P.G. (
Commercial
propane)
96


Gas Pipe Sizing Table



Section
Ref.

1
Heat
Output
in section
kW
2
Flow rate
m
3
/s
3
Pipe
Size
mm dia
4
Length of
pipe

m
5
Total Equivalent length of
Fittings

m
6
Total
Pipe
Length
Col. 4+5
m
7
Pressure
drop per
metre
Pa/m
8
TOTAL
PRESSURE
DROP
Col. 6 x 7
Pa
9
Pressure
at start of
section
Pa
10
Pressure at
end
of section
Pa