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Basic Terms
You can skip this bit if you are clear on terms such as 'radius' and 'Pi'.
'Circumfrence' is the outer perimeter of a circle; the distance around the outside. It's a continuous length.
'Diameter' refers to the length of a line from one side of the perimeter to the other when drawn through the centre point.
Spiral tube is always listed according to diameter.
'Radius' is the distance from the centre point of the circle to any point on the outer perimeter. This of course is always half
the length of the diameter.
Pi
Pi is often denoted by the Greek letter Π (that's how it usually appears on a calculator keyboard) and in maths simply
means the number 3.141592654. If you take any circle and divide the length of its circumfrence by its diameter you always
arrive at 3.141592654. The number actually goes much further than 9 decimal places (no one has established how far yet)
but it's often cited to 9 places. For the purposes of calculating surface areas for ductwork it's sufficient to use just 3 decimal
places, so if your calculator doesn't have a Pi button, or you can't find it, you can use 3.142 instead.
How to Calculate
Taking 300mm diameter circular duct as an example, you need to ascertain the surface area of a 300mm diameter circle.
The surface area of a circle is calculated by multiplying the radius by itself and then by Pi.
Radius = half diameter. So:
150x150
22500mm²
x 3.142
70695mm²
The square root of this will give us our square end size (√ on the calculator) - 266x266mm. It's important to understand that
a transition will increase air turbulence and therefore will increase something known as 'friction loss'. This is the loss in air
pressure caused by the air contacting with the duct wall. For this reason it's a good idea to round up to the next 25mm or
50mm increment. So for a 300mm dia square to round, the equivalent size would be 275x275mm. If the square to round
were short in length i.e. the change was quite abrupt, then a 300x300mm would serve us better.
Round to Rectangular Duct
The calculation above is only any use if we transitioning to a square end. If we want a rectangular i.e. oblong end we just
change the maths slightly. Perhaps we already know that we want one dimension of our rectangular end to be 190mm
because we have to fit it through a 200m wide gap. It's very similar:
Radius = half diameter. So:
150x150
22500mm²
x 3.142
70695mm²
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Now, rather than finding the square root, we simply divide the figure we arrived at above by the dimension we already know,
which was 190mm:
70695/190
372mm
This should then be rounded up to at least 400mm to allow for friction loss, perhaps even 450mm as a square to round
that converts from 300mm dia to 190mm is quite an abrupt change. The longer the square to round is from end to end the
less we need to increase the size, and vice versa.
I already know the square end size; it's the round end I want
The calculation is the same, just in reverse. Start by multipling togther the two dimensions of the rectangular end (square or
oblong - it's the same). For example we have a 500x250mm oblong end:
500x250
125000mm²
Divide this by 3.142 (Pi)
39784mm²
Calculate the square root of this figure (√ on the calculator):
199.5
and multiply by 2
398.9
So a 400mm dia round end.