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ROTRONIC TECHNICAL NOTE

How to Read a Psychrometric Chart

O
ne may ask, why should we Step 4. Locate the interior curved perature is 70 degrees F and the
bother to learn how to read lines. Each of the lines represents dew point is 50 degrees F. Take a
a psychrometric chart? a certain level of relative humidity ruler and draw a vertical line at the
After all, we have myriad online cal- in percent. dry bulb temperature of 70 and
culators, tables, iPhone apps, etc. draw a horizontal line where the
Most of our instruments perform Step 5. On the right side of the dew point is 50. The point where
the conversions as a built in feature. chart, locate the vertical line labeled these two lines intersect is known
At Rotronic, we aim to help you Dew Point. Dew point is expressed as a state point. Plot the state
make a better measurement. The as a temperature. The dew point point and you can also read the rel-
first step in making a better meas- lines traverse the chart as horizontal ative humidity, wet bulb, enthalpy,
urement is to understand the lines. What this tells you is that vapor pressure and humidity ratio.
parameter you wish to measure. dew point does not change as the As another example, lets say
What better way to begin to under- dry bulb temperature varies. you know that the wet bulb temper-
stand the various humidity parame- Step 6. On the other side of the ature is 50 and the dry bulb temper-
ters and their interrelations than to vertical line where you located dew ature is 75. Plot the state point and
study the visual representation in a point is the scale for vapor pressure read the rest of the parameters.
psychrometric chart. expressed in inches of mercury or If you wanted to know the cool-
This guide is an easy 8 step millibars. Vapor pressure lines also ing effect of an evaporative cooler,
framework designed to demystify traverse the chart as horizontal lines. plot the state point where the dry
the psychrometric chart: bulb temperature line and the wet
Step 7. Look at the information on bulb temperature line intersect. Or
all sides of the chart that is on the
Step 1. Locate the dry bulb tem- you could plot the point where the
most extreme edge. These scales
perature along the bottom axis and dry bulb temperature and the rela-
represent enthalpy expressed in
the associated vertical line for each tive humidity intersect. Follow the
BTU per pound of dry air. If you
temperature. This scale will be in wet bulb line all the way to the satu-
take a ruler, you could match the
degrees F or degrees C. ration curve. Then read the dry
scales diagonally across the chart.
bulb temperature at that saturation
Step 2. Locate the humidity ratio
along the right vertical axis. Humid-
Step 8. Look closely and find a point. The difference between the
second set of diagonal lines repre- temperature at the original point
ity ratio units are grains of moisture
senting web bulb temperature and the final point is your effective
per pound of dry air or grams of
expressed as degrees F or degrees cooling of the air.
moisture per kilogram of dry air.
C. Although the wet bulb lines are I suggest taking some time to
The term humidity ratio is some-
close to the enthalpy lines, they are get familiar with the chart. Know-
times used interchangeably with
not actually parallel to each other. ing the psychrometric chart will
the term mixing ratio.
help you understand the humidity
Step 3. Locate the left most curved Tips and tricks parameters and their interrelations
line. This is the saturation curve for the psychrometric chart leading to a better measurement of
where the relative humidity is 100%. humidity.
As long as you have any 2
Other properties of the saturation
parameters where the lines will
curve include; dew point tempera-
cross each other, you can determine
ture = dry bulb temperature; wet
all other parameters. For example,
bulb temperature = dry bulb tem-
lets say you know the dry bulb tem-
perature; partial pressure of water
vapor = saturation vapor pressure

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