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Source: HVAC Systems Design Handbook

Chapter

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HVAC Engineering Fundamentals: Part 1
2.1 Introduction

This chapter is devoted to the most basic fundamentalscertain principles that lay the foundation for what is to come. Starting with the suggested thought process for analyzing typical problems, the reader is next exposed to value engineering. Then follows a discussion of codes and regulations, political criteria that constrain potential design solutions within the bounds of public health and welfare and legislation. The nal sections offer a brief review of the basic physics of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) in terms of uid mechanics, thermodynamics, heat transfer, psychrometrics, air quality, and energy conservation. All of these subjects are treated in detail in later chapters. New in this edition are discussions of smoke management and sustainable buildings and added emphasis on air quality and energy conservation. 2.2 Problem Solving

Every HVAC design involves, as a rst step, a problem-solving process, usually with the objective of determining the most appropriate type of HVAC system for a specic application. It is helpful to think of the problem-solving process as a series of logical steps, each of which must be

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Chapter Two

performed in order to obtain the best results. There are various ways of dening the process. The following sequence has been found useful: 1. Dene the objective. What is the end result desired? For HVAC design the usual objective is to provide a system that will control the environment within required parameters, at a life-cycle cost compatible with the need. Remember that the cost will relate to the needs of the process. More precise control of the environment almost always means greater cost. 2. Dene the problem. The problem, in this illustration, is to select the proper HVAC systems and equipment to meet the objective. The problem must be clearly and completely dened so that the proposed solution can be shown to be appropriate. 3. Dene alternative solutions. Brainstorming is useful here. If renovation or remodeling is required, one alternative is to do nothing. 4. Evaluate the alternatives. Each alternative must be evaluated for effectiveness and cost. Note that doing nothing always has a cost equal to the opportunity, energy, or efciency lost by not doing something else. 5. Select an alternative. Many factors enter into the selection process effectiveness, cost, availability, practicality, and others. Also, there are intangible factors, such as the owners desire for a particular type of equipment. 6. Check. Does the selected alternative really solve the problem? 7. Implement the selected alternative. Design, construct, and operate the system. 8. Evaluate. Have the problems been solved? Have the objectives been met? What improvements might be made in the next design? Many undertakings fail due to a lack of satisfying one or more of the above steps. There is an art (experience factor) to being able to satisfy the critical success factors. Sometimes the evaluation will be clouded by constraints of time, budget, or prejudice. The best defense against disappointment is the good training and experience of those responsible. 2.3 Value Engineering

The process known as value engineering follows essentially the same steps dened in the previous section but applies them to the individual components of the system. Thus we have ongoing improvements in all the elements of the HVAC system, and part of the designers problem is to keep up with and evaluate these developments and to recognize how they affect a specic system.
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2.4

Codes, Regulations, and Standards

No HVAC designer should undertake a design task without rst having a working familiarity with the various codes and ordinances that govern and regulate building construction, product design and fabrication, and qualication of engineers in practice. Codes generally are given the force of law on the basis of protecting the public safety and welfare. Standards are published by the various engineering societies as recommended procedures and are sometimes adopted by code authorities. Occasionally code constraints seem to violate or interfere with the objective of a design. At these times it is possible to request a variance. Good preparation is required but is usually worth the effort. 2.5 Fluid Mechanics

Fluid mechanics, a fundamental area of physics, has to do with the behavior of uids at rest and in motion. It deals with uid properties such as density and viscosity and relates to other aspects of physics such as thermodynamics and heat transfer. See Chapter 17 for further discussion of this topic and note the following important points: 1. The static pressure at a point in a uid system is directly proportional to the density of the uid and the height of the uid column. Static pressure is exerted equally in all directions. 2. The velocity pressure of a owing uid is proportional to the square of the uid velocity. 3. The friction loss of a uid owing in a conduit is proportional to the square of the velocity. 4. The pumping power required to move a uid is proportional to the uid density and viscosity, as well as the volume of uid handled and the pressure against which the uid is pumped. 5. Since the friction loss is proportional to the square of the ow, the pumping power in a dened system is proportional overall to the cube of the ow rate. For HVAC purposes air is considered to be an incompressible uid. For incompressible uids the amount of uid in a closed system is constant. Any outows must be offset by equivalent inows, or there must be a change in the amount of uid held in the system. This is the law of conservation of mass; it allows us to account for uid in a process just as we count money in a bank. 2.6 Thermodynamics

Thermodynamics has to do with the thermal characteristics of matter and with the natural afnity of the universe to go from a higher to a lower

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energy state. Thermodynamics deals with the ability of matter to accept changes in energy level, such as specic heat and enthalpy. See Chapter 18 for further discussion and note these important points: 1. The energy acceptance level of a substance is called specic heat, measured in English units of BTU per pound per degree F. Water with a specic heat of 1.0 BTU per pound per degree F is one of the best heat accepting media. 2. The energy acceptance capacity in a change of phase is called the latent heat of vaporization from liquid to gas (i.e., water to steam) and the latent heat of fusion from liquid to solid (i.e., water to ice). Water, with a latent heat of vaporization of approximately 1000 BTU per pound and a latent heat of fusion of 144 BTU per pound, is very useful at involving large quantities of energy at constant temperature in the phase change. 3. Thermodynamics can be used to examine refrigeration cycles with mathematical tools to analyze performance of equipment and systems. 4. The rst law of thermodynamics requires that energy is conserved. We can account for energy inputs, outputs, and storage. Combining thermodynamics with uid mechanics allows us to calculate energy ows piggybacked onto uid ows with accuracy and condence. 5. The second law of thermodynamics requires that energy left to itself always goes from high to low, from fast to slow, from warm to cold. To make things go uphill, we must expend energy. 2.7 Heat Transfer

Heat transfer is energy in motionthrough a mass by conduction, from a solid to a moving liquid by convection, or from one body to another through space by radiation. These are some points to note: 1. Heat is transferred from warmer to colder always, without exception. 2. Heat transfer by conduction or convection is directly proportional to the driving temperature differential (T1 T2). 3. Heat transfer by radiation is proportional to the fourth power of the absolute temperature differential (T14 T24). Small changes in temperature can result in large changes in radiation heat transfer. 4. For heat transfer between uids, counterow is much more effective than parallel ow. 5. Insulation to reduce heat transfer follows the law of diminishing returns: as more insulation is added, the increment is less effective. It is a design challenge to nd the most cost-effective median.

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6. Fouling of heat transfer surfaces is detrimental to performance. This becomes a maintenance problem and is often the cause of poor system performance. 7. Total heat transfer is directly proportional to the area of the heat transfer surface. 8. Although it is not a classic form of heat transfer, heat can be transported by a uid (air in ducts, water in pipes) from one point to another. This action is better classied as a combination of uid mechanics and thermodynamics. See Chapter 19 for further discussion of heat transfer. 2.8 Psychrometrics

Psychrometrics is the science dealing with the properties of moist airi.e., air mixed with water vapor. This specialized subset of thermodynamics is important to HVAC since air is the primary component of all HVAC work. The comfort of people and the quality of the environment for health, condition of structures, and preservation of materials are related to the moisture in the air. Control of the moist air condition is a primary objective of the HVAC system. A psychrometric chart, which allows a graphical analysis of moist air conditions, is the most useful tool for analyzing the HVAC process. Familiarity and facility in the use of these charts are essential for the HVAC designer. See Chapter 20 for further discussion of this topic. 2.9 Sound and Vibration

Sound and vibration are not often considered by the HVAC designer. They are often neglected as secondary factors in HVAC system design, but they can destroy an otherwise successful system. The most obvious example is a concert hall (classical, not pop), but there are many stories of problems due to neglect of this factor. This topic is discussed in Chapter 21. 2.10 Energy Conservation

The subject of energy conservation is a major topic at the time of this writing. HVAC systems can be designed to minimize energy use while still providing a desired environment. It behooves the designer to evaluate suggested ideas and determine how valid they may be in a specic case. In designing HVAC systems it is important to remember that we are designing for comfort or for an environment that must be controlled within limits. This often limits our options. See Chapter 23. 2.11 Summary

A rsthand knowledge of engineering fundamentals is a must for HVAC designers. All problems are helped toward conclusion by an ability to think clearly, to move from problem denition to identication of alternatives, to

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evaluation of alternatives, to selection and implementation. Knowledge of political constraints (codes and regulations) as well as technical and ethical factors is important to the designer. Knowledge of fundamental engineering physics is absolutely essential. Energy conservation in design and operation has become a moral imperative. An understanding of these fundamentals will make all other issues treated in this book easier to understand. References
1. DellIsolo, Alphonse, Value Engineering in the Construction Industry, Construction Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 1973. 2. ASHRAE Handbook, 2002 HVAC Applications, Chapter 52, Codes and Standards. 3. ASHRAE Handbook, 2005 Fundamentals, Chapter 2, Fluid Flow. 4. Ibid., Chapter 1, Thermodynamics and Refrigeration Cycles. 5. Ibid., Chapter 3, Heat Transfer. 6. Ibid., Chapter 6, Psychrometrics. 7. Ibid., Chapter 7, Sound and Vibration. 8. ASHRAE Handbook, 1999 HVAC Applications, Chapter 34, Energy Management.

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