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TIM 013 07.

97

Pressure Dew Point Conversion
Determining Comparable Readings Among Multiple Platforms
When installing a moisture analyzer, sometimes the reading is
different than what you expected. This difference is often due
to a change in the pressure at the measurement point where
the new probe has been installed. For example, a probe is
installed at line pressure in a process where the previous
method of measurement was at atmospheric pressure. The
problem then becomes one of predicting the pressure effect on
the probe and achieving the desired result.

change. Dividing the 10.518 mmHg by 13.2449
atmospheres gives 0.794 mmHg vapor pressure at the
reduced pressure.
5.

Referring to a vapor pressure table, the 0.794 mmHg vapor
pressure converts into -19.76°C dew point. This converts
into -3.57°F dew point at atmospheric pressure.

Dew point temperature is always directly related to the partial
pressure of water vapor in the gas. In other words, if you know
the dew point, the partial pressure of water for that dew point
temperature can be found in published tables. See General
Eastern’s Humidity Handbook.
The ability to predict the dew point change from the total
pressure change is based on physical laws which govern the
behavior of gases. The Ideal Gas Law and Dalton's Law are
both in operation here. The Ideal Gas Law gives the
relationship of pressure, temperature, and volume in PV = nRT.
Dalton's Law states that total pressure is equal to the sum of
all the partial pressures of the component gases.
PT = P1 + P2 + P3 + ... + Pn
Simplified for the moisture problem, Dalton's Law
becomes:
PT = PDRYGASES + PH2O (WATER VAPOR)
If the total pressure changes, all the partial pressures will
change in the same proportion. This includes the partial
pressure of water in the sample. Since the total pressure
change is easy to measure, the resulting change in dew point
temperature becomes predictable using the following
calculation procedure:
Sample problem: If the dew point measured at a total line
pressure of 180 psig is 53.6°F, what would the dew point be if
the same sample were measured at atmospheric pressure?
1.

Since the moisture table is in °C, convert the 53.6°F to
12°C.

2.

Look up the vapor pressure for 12°C dew point — 10.518
mmHg.

3.

4.

Convert the original psig value into atmospheres by
adding 14.7 psia to the 180 psig to get psia. This gives
194.7 psia, which we divide by 14.7 to get 13.2449
atmospheres.
Since the total pressure change is a factor of 13.2449 to 1,
the resulting vapor pressure goes through the same

Figure 1
A similar calculation can be performed to predict the dew point
temperature for an increase in total pressure. An example of
this would be where the measurement could not be made at
pressure. There might still be a need for avoiding a high dew
point temperature to prevent condensation or freeze-ups in the
piping.
Sample problem: If the dew point measured after dropping the
pressure to atmospheric is -40°C, what would the pressure dew
point be if the line pressure were 80 psig? (See Figure 1.)
1.

Even though the moisture table is in °C, -40°F equals 40°C.

2.

Look up the vapor pressure for the 40°C dew point, which
is 0.0966 mmHg.
1

Sometimes the ability to change the pressure is not an option.442 atmospheres gives 0.622 mmHg vapor pressure converts into 022. and then bursting the lines. This installation provides the flexibility for reading at a pressure that fits the application. Figure 2. atmospheric pressure. however enhancement factors can be employed to compensate. which we divide by 14. illustrates how simple this system could be. there will be a danger of condensing inside the pipe. Multiplying the 0. as in a system where the exhaust is routed back into a pressure very close to the original inlet pressure. A basic sample system which reduces or equalizes the pressure will allow the two to agree within the tolerances of the respective instruments. This flow cell installation has inlet and outlet valves that can be used to operate the probe at line or Figure 2 The calculations in this Application Note are based on the Ideal Gas Law. At elevated pressures water vapor deviates from the ideal gas law. The gold/aluminum oxide sensor General Eastern uses for measuring the moisture is sensitive to change in vapor pressure. the probe will operate at atmospheric pressure. An easier method for measuring and comparing another measurement at a different pressure is to simply operate at the same pressures. Referring to the vapor pressure table. If the outlet valve is opened and the inlet valve is used for throttling. if the temperature of any section of the piping drops to -8.3. Convert the line psig value into atmospheres by adding 14. the probe will operate at line pressure.7 to get 6.14°F. In the above example. If the inlet valve is opened completely and the outlet valve is used to throttle the sample.442 to 1.442 atmospheres. freezing.622 mmHg vapor pressures at the increased pressure. Since the total pressure change is a factor of 6. 2 . 5.14°F dew point at line pressure. The flow cell diagram on the next page.0966 mmHg by 6.7 psia to the 80 psig to get psia. 4. the 0. This converts into -8. the resulting vapor pressure goes through the same change.3°C dew point.7 psia. This gives 94.