5.4
Fans
1.
Fans The fan is an essential component of almost all heating and airconditioning systems. Except in those cases where free convection creates air motion, a fan is used to move air through ducts and to induce air motion in the space. An understanding of the fan performance is necessary if one is to design a satisfactory duct system. The centrifugal is the most widely used, because it can efficiently move large or small quantities of air over a wide range of pressures. The principle of operation is similar to the centrifugal pump in that a rotating impeller mounted inside a scrolltype housing imparts energy to the air or gas being moved. Figure 121 shows the various components of a centrifugal fan. The impeller blades may be forwardcurved, backwardcurved, or radial. The blade design influences the fan characteristics.
The vaneaxial fan is mounted on the center line of the duct and produces an axial flow of the air. Guide vanes are provided before and after the wheel to reduce rotation of the air stream. The tubeaxial fan is quite similar to the vaneaxial fan but does not have the guide vanes. Figure 122 illustrates both types.
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Axial flow fans are not capable of producing pressures as high as those of the centrifugal fan, but can move large quantities of air at low pressure. Axial flow fans generally produce higher noise levels than centrifugal fans.
2. Fan Performance The performance of fans is generally given in the form of a graph showing pressure, efficiency, and power as a function of capacity. The energy transferred to the air by the impeller results in an increase in static and velocity pressure; the sum of the two pressures gives the total pressure. These quantities are often expressed in inches millimeters of water. For a fan with elevation effects neglected and constant density assumed, the following equation is applied:
(1)
In this form the equation expresses the increase in total head of the air. Multiplying Equation 1 by g/g _{c} gives
(2)
which is an expression for the energy imparted to the air per unit mass. Multiplication of Equation 2 by the mass flow rate of the air produces an expression for the total power imparted to the air:
(3)
The static power is the part of the total power that is used to produce the change in static pressure:
where:
(4)
Q = volume flow rate, ft ^{3} /min or m ^{3} /s
Fan efficiency may be expressed in two ways. The total fan efficiency is the ratio of total air power Ẇ _{t} to the shaft power input Ẇ _{s}_{h} :
2
(5)
It has been common practice in the United States for Q to be ft ^{3} /min, P _{0}_{1} – P _{0}_{2} to be in in. wg, and Ẇ _{s}_{h} to be in horsepower. In this special case
(6)
The static fan efficiency is the ratio of the static air power to the shaft power input:
Using the units of Equation
(7)
(8)
Figure 123, 124, 125, and 126 illustrate typical performance curves for centrifugal and vaneaxial fans. Note the difference in the pressure characteristics for the different types of blade. Also note the point of maximum efficiency with respect to the point of maximum pressure. The power characteristics of vaneaxial fans are distinctly different from those of centrifugal fans. Note that the power increases as the flow rate approaches zero for a vaneaxial fan, which is opposite to the behavior of a centrifugal fans. Also note that the power curve for vaneaxial and backwardtip fans reaches a peak and decreases as flow becomes high.
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A conventional representation of fan performance is shown in Figure 128 for a specific backwardcurved blade fan. In this case total pressure and total efficiency are also given. Note that the zone for desired application is marked. When data from this zone are plotted on a logarithmic scale, the curves appear as shown in Figure 129. This plot has some advantages over the conventional representation. Many different fan speeds can be conveniently show, and the system characteristic is a straight line parallel to the efficiency lines.
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The noise emitted by a fan is of great importance in many applications. For a given pressure the noise level is proportional to the tip speed of the impeller and to the air velocity leaving the wheel. Furthermore, fan noise is roughly proportional to the pressure developed, regardless of the blade type. However, backwardcurved fan blades are generally considered to have the better (lower) noise characteristics. Figure 1210 shows fan characteristics for a forwardcurved blade fan using SI units, except that the capacity is in m ^{3} /min instead of m ^{3} /s.
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There are several simple relationships between fan capacity, pressure, speed, and power, which
are referred to as the fan laws. The first three fan laws are the most useful and are stated as follows:
a. The capacity is directly proportional to the fan speed.
b. The pressure (static, total, or velocity) is proportional to the square of the fan speed.
c. The power required is proportional to the cube of the fan speed.
The other three fan laws are:
d. The pressure and power are proportional to the density of the air at constant speed and capacity.
e. The speed, capacity, and power are inversely proportional to the square root of the density at constant pressure.
f. The capacity, speed , and pressure are inversely proportional to the density, and the power is inversely proportional to the square of the density at a constant mass flow rate. Example No. 1 A centrifugal fan is operating as shown in Fig. 127 at point 1. Estimate the capacity, total pressure, and power requirement when the speed is increased to 1050 rpm. The initial power requirement is 2 hp.
Given:
rpm _{1} = 1050 rpm rpm _{2} = 900 rpm Q _{1} = 5000 cfm P _{0}_{1} = 1.5 in. wg. W _{1} = 2 hp Required:
New capacity, total pressure, and power requirements Solution:
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The first three fan laws may be used to estimate the new capacity, total pressure, and power. Capacity:
3. Fan Selection The engineer is faced with selecting the right fan for an application. The following discussion explains the specific characteristics of different types of fans as they relate to their selection. Radial bladed fans are not usually used on HVAC systems and are not discussed.
3.1 Backwardcurved Blade Fans This type is used for general heating, ventilating, and airconditioning systems, especially where the system size offers significant horsepower savings. Such fans can be used in low, medium, and highpressure HVAC systems. These are the highest efficiency designs of all centrifugal fan types. For a given duty, these fans will operate at the highest speed of the different centrifugal fans. These fans are also used in industrial applications where power savings will be significant. The airfoiltype blade should be used only in those applications where the air is clean and the blade is not subject to erosion or corrosion.
3.2 Forwardcurved Blade Fans This type of fan is usually used in lowpressure HVAC applications, such as domestic furnaces, central station units, and packaged airconditioning equipment. This design tends to have the lowest efficiency and will operate at the lowest speed of the various centrifugal fans.
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The pressure curve is less steep than that of the other designs. There is a dip in the pressure curve to the left of peak pressure, and the highest efficiency occurs just to the right of peak pressure. The fan should be applied well to the right of the peak pressure point. The horsepower curve rises continuously toward free delivery, and this must be taken into account when the fan is applied and the motor is selected.
3.3 Vaneaxial Fans This type if fan is becoming more commonly used in HVAC systems in low, medium, and highpressure applications and is particularly advantageous where straightthrough flow is required. Vaneaxial fans usually have blades if airfoil design, which permits medium to highpressure capability at relatively high efficiency. Some fans of this design have the capability of changing the pith of the blade to meet different application requirements. In some cases this is accomplished by shutting the fan down, changing the blade angle to a new position, and restarting the fan. In other cases, the pitch of the fan blade can be changed with the fan in operation. This latter method provides good control characteristics for the fan in VAV systems.
3.4 Performance Data To select a fan for a given system it is necessary to know the capacity and total pressure requirement of the system. To assist in the actual fan selection, manufacturers furnish graphs such as those in Figures 128 and 129 with the areas of preferred operation shown. The static pressure is often given, but not the total pressure. The total pressure may be computed from the capacity and the fan outlet dimensions. Data pertaining to noise are also available from most manufacturers. In many cases manufacturers present their fan performance data in the form of tables. Tables 121a and 121b are examples of such data for two forwardcurved blade fans. Note that the static pressure is given instead of the total pressure; however, the outlet velocity is given, which makes it convenient to calculate the velocity pressure to find the total pressure.
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It is important that the fan be quiet. Generally a fan will generate the least noise when operated near the peak efficiency. Operation considerable beyond the point of maximum efficiency will be noisy. Forwardcurved blades operated at high speed will be noisy, and straight blades are generally noisy, especially at high speed. Backwardcurved blades may be operated on both sides of the peak efficiency at relatively high speeds with less noise than other types of fans.
Example No. 2 A duct system requires a fan that will deliver 6 m ^{3} /s of air at 1.2 kPa total pressure, Is the fan of Table 121b suitable? If so, determine the speed, shaft power, and total efficiency. Given:
Table 121b Q = 6 m ^{3} /s P _{0} = 1.2 kPa Required:
Suitability of Table 121b, speed, shaft power, and total efficiency Solution:
The required volume flow rate falls between 5.75 and 6.23 m ^{3} /s in the lefthand column of Table 121b. The corresponding outlet velocities are 12 and 13 m/s and the velocity pressure for each case is
Assuming 1.1 kPa static pressure, the total pressure at 5.75 m ^{3} /s is
And at 6.23 m ^{3} /s
By interpolation the total pressure at 6 m ^{3} /s is
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Although the total pressure at 6 m ^{3} /s is barely adequate, the fan speed can be increased to obtain total pressures up to almost 1.3 kPa at a capacity of 5.75 to 6.23 m ^{3} /s. The fan speed may be determined by interpolation to be
and the shaft power is likewise found to be
The total power imparted to the air is given Equation 9:
(9)
where Q is in m ^{3} /s, (P _{0}_{1} – P _{0}_{2} ) is in N/m ^{2} (Pa), and W _{t} is in watts. Then
The total efficiency is then given by
Fans are rated at standard sea level conditions. Therefore, it may be desirable to adjust those parameters that depend on local barometric pressure. At constant speed, a fan delivers the same volume flow rate regardless of local conditions. However, the total pressure, mass flow rate, and shaft power depend on local mass density of air. In the case of rated total pressure given in in. wg instead of in. of air, the rated pressure must be adjusted as follows:
where P _{0} refers to local barometric pressure. The adjusted mass flow rate is then given by
and since the power depends on the mass flow rate,
These corrections should be considered for elevations greater than about 2500 ft (750 m).
4. Fan Installation The performance of a fan can be reduced drastically by improper connection to the duct system. In general, the duct connections should be such that the air may enter and leave the fan as uniformly as possible with no abrupt changes in direction or velocity. Space is often limited for fan installation, and less than optimum connections may have to be used. In this case, the designer must be aware of the penalties (loss in total pressure and efficiency).
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If a fan and system combination does not seem to be operating at the volume flow rate and pressure specified, the difficulty may be that the system is not the same as specified in the design. The point of operation will not be at the design point of rating on the fan curve. In Fig. 1211 point B is the specified point of operation, but test may show that the actual point of operation is point A. The important thing to notice in this case is that the difference is due to a change in the system characteristic curve and not the fan. The fan curve is in its original position, and the problem is simply to get the system characteristics curve to cross the fan curve at the appropriate points.
4.1 System Effect Factors The total pressure requirements of a fan are the result of pressure losses in ductwork, fittings, heating and cooling coils, dampers, filters, process equipment, and similar sources. All of these sources of pressure loss are based on uniform velocity profiles. The velocity profile at the fan outlet is not uniform, and fittings at or near the fan outlet will develop pressure losses greater than the rated value. Fans are normally tested with open inlets so that the flow to the wheel is uniform. In actual installations many other inlet configuration are encountered, and these will adversely affect the performance. This effect on fan performance is in addition to the usual, normally computed pressure loss due to ductwork, fittings, and equipment. In order to apply the fan properly, the inlet and outlet effects must be taken into account and the pressure requirements of the fan as normally calculated must be increased. These effects, identified as system effect factors, may be estimated by using the procedure outlined next.
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4.2 Fan Outlet Condition As shown in Fig. 1212, the outlet velocity profiles of fans are not uniformly distributed across the outlet duct until the air has traveled through a certain length of the duct. This length is identified as one effective duct length. To make best use of energy developed by the fan, this length of duct should be provided at the fan outlet. Preferably, the outlet duct should be the same size as the fan outlet, but good flow can be obtained if the duct is not greater in area than about 110 percent nor less in area than about 85 percent of the fan outlet. The slope of transition elements should be greater than 15 degrees for the converging elements not greater than 7 degrees for the diverging elements.
One effective duct length is a function of fan outlet velocity as shown in Table 122. If the duct is rectangular, the equivalent duct diameter is given by
where:
(10)
D = equivalent duct diameter, ft or m H = rectangular duct height, ft or m W = rectangular duct width, ft or m
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In those cases where a shorter discharge duct is used, an additional pressure loss will occur, and this additional pressure must be added to the fan total pressure requirements. The additional pressure is calculated by
P0 C0 Pv 
(11) 

and 

V 
2 

P v 


(12) 

k 

where: 
P _{0} = pressure loss, in. wg or Pa P _{v} = velocity pressure, in. wg or Pa = air density, lbm/ft ^{3} or kg/m ^{3} Ṽ = velocity at outlet plane, ft/min or m/s K = constant: 1097 for English units; 1.414 for SI
The blast area, shown in Fig. 1212, is smaller than the outlet area due to the cutoff. The blast area ratio used in determining loss coefficient is defined as Blast area ratio = blast area / outlet area The blast area should be obtained from the fan manufacturer for the particular fan being considered. For estimating purposes values of the blast area ratio are given in Table 123.
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Table 124 gives loss coefficients for the case of a fan discharging into a plenum. Note that at least 50 percent effective duct length is required for best fan performance.
To obtain the rated performance from the fan, the first elbow fitting should be at least one effective duct length from the fan outlet (Fig. 1213). If this length cannot be provided, an additional pressure loss will result and must be added to the fan total pressure requirements. The additional pressure loss may be determined from Equation 11 with a loss coefficient from Table 125.
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The coefficients in Table 125 are for singlewheel singleinlet (SWSI) fans. For doublewheel doubleinlet (DWDI) fans, apply multipliers of 1.25 for position B, 0.85 for position D, and 1.0 for position A and C.
4.3 Inlet Conditions If it is necessary to install an elbow on the fan inlet, a straight run of duct is recommended between the elbow and the fan, and a longradius elbow should be used (Figure 1214). Inlet elbows create an additional loss, which must be added to the fan total pressure requirements. Table 126 shows loss coefficients for both vaned and unvaned elbows.
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4.4 Enclosure Restrictions In those cases where a fan (or several fans) is built into a fan cabinet construction or is installed in a plenum, it is recommended that the walls be at least one inlet diameter from the fan housing and that a space of at least two inlet diameters be provided between fan inlets. If these recommendations cannot be met, additional pressure losses will result and must be added to the fan total pressure requirements. Every effort must be made to keep the inlet of the fan free of obstructions (other equipment, walls, pipes, beams, columns, and so on), since such obstructions will degrade its performance.
Example No. 3 A singlewheel singleinlet (SWSI) backwardcurved blade fan is operating with both inlet and outlet duct elbows. The outlet duct elbow is in position C, Fig. 1213, and is located one duct diameter from the fan outlet. The average velocity in the duct is 4000 ft/min. The fan inlet is configured as shown in Fig. 1214d, with a duct length ratio of 2 and R/H of 0.75. Given:
Outlet duct elbow, position C, Fig. 1213 Inlet, Fig. 1214d Duct length ratio = 2 R/H = 0.75 Average velocity = 4000 ft/min Required:
Total lost pressure for inlet and outlet system effects Solution:
The first consideration is the effective duct length for the outlet. From Table 122, 1 effective duct length is 4 duct diameters for a duct velocity of 4000 ft/min. However, the elbow is located at 1 duct diameter, therefore, an additional pressure loss will result for both the outlet and the elbow. The relative effective duct length is ¼, or 25 percent. The blast area ratio is 0.7 from Table 123. The discharge duct loss coefficient is then 1.0 from Table 125, and the additional lost pressure for the duct, using Equations 11 and 12 and assuming standard atmospheric pressure, is
The inlet duct
elbow loss coefficient
is given
as
1.2
in Table
126
for
the Fig.
1214d
configuration with a duct length ratio of 2 and R/H of 0.75. Then, using Equation 11 and
assuming the fan inlet velocity is equal to the outlet velocity,
Finally, the total lost pressure for inlet and outlet system effects is
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This must be added to the computed system total pressure to obtain the actual pressure that the fan must produce. This is illustrated in Fig,. 1215. Notice that a fan selected on the basis of zero system effect would operate at point C instead of point B. The fan selected, taking into account the system effect, operates at point A, producing the desired flow rate.
 End 
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