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Chapter

17

Engineering Fundamentals

Part 1, Fluid Mechanics

17.1 Introduction Fluid mechanics is the branch of civil, mechanical, and chemical engineering that deals with the behavior of liquids and gases, particularly while ﬂowing. This chapter provides a brief review of the vocabulary and fundamental equations of ﬂuid mechanics and reminds the HVAC designer of the scientiﬁc principles underlying much of the day-to-day applied-science calculations.¹ 17.2 Terminology in Fluid Mechanics

Many of the terms used in ﬂuid mechanics carry over into thermodynamics and heat transfer. A few of these terms are deﬁned here for review. Fluid: A liquid or a gas. A material without a deﬁned form that adapts to the shape of its container. Liquids are essentially incompressible. Gases are compressible. Newtonian ﬂuids are those that deform with a constant rate of shear. Water and air are Newtonian ﬂuids. Non-Newtonian ﬂuids deform at one rate of shear to a point and then deform at a different rate. Blood and catsup are non-Newtonian ﬂuids. Density, p: Mass per unit volume; lbm/ft3. Viscosity, : Resistance to shear; force time/length2. Pressure, P: Force per unit area. Velocity, V: Distance per unit time; ft/min, ft/sec.

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Chapter Seventeen

Laminar ﬂow: Particles slide smoothly along lines parallel to the wall. Resistance to ﬂow is proportional to the square of the velocity. Turbulent ﬂow: There are random local disturbances in the ﬂuid ﬂow pattern about a mean or average ﬂow velocity. Resistance to ﬂow is proportional to the square of the Reynolds number (Re), a dimensionless number relating ﬂuid velocity (V), distance as a pipe diameter (D), density (p), and ﬂuid viscosity ( ): Re DVp/ (17.1)

Reynolds numbers below 2100 generally identify laminar ﬂow. Reynolds numbers above 3100 identify turbulent ﬂow. Reynolds numbers between 2100 and 3100 are said to be in a transitional region where laminar or turbulent conditions are not always deﬁnable. Turbulent ﬂow is desirable in heat exchanger applications, while laminar ﬂow is desired in clean rooms and low-pressure-drop applications. Cavitation: When the local pressure on a ﬂuid drops below the vaporization pressure for that ﬂuid, there may be spot ﬂashing of liquid to vapor and back again. This is called cavitation. Such a condition can occur with hot water at the inlet to a pump and can be harmful to the pump through local erosion and interference with ﬂow. Cavitation often sounds like entrained gravel or little explosions at the point of occurrence. 17.3 Law of Conservation of Mass

Fluid mechanics starts with the law of the conservation of mass (Figure 17.1), which states that matter can be neither created nor destroyed. Based on this, we can set up an accounting system for all ﬂows in a system and know that our accounts of inﬂows, outﬂows, and storage must balance at every point in the system. 17.4 Bernoulli Equation (Law of the Conservation of Energy)

Fluid mechanics studies focus on the Bernoulli equation (Navier-Stokes equation), which relates changes in energy in a moving ﬂuid (kinetic energy, potential energy, energy lost to friction, and energy introduced or removed) in terms of heat and work. If the study is observed over time, then all the terms are time-based and the work is observed as power. The equation, similar to the conservation-of-mass equations, states that energy is conserved, that it cannot be destroyed, and that it can be accounted for (Figure 17.2).

Figure 17.1

Conservation of mass.

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Engineering Fundamentals Part 1, Fluid Mechanics

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Figure 17.2

Conservation of energy.

V12 − V22 1 + g ( h2 − h1 ) + ( P2 − P ) = work in + Qin 1 2 Where V g h P Q velocity gravitational constant elevation pressure density heat energy

(17.2)

This discussion seems somewhat theoretical, but there are two equations derived from the above that are very useful in HVAC calculations. They are equations for estimating the theoretical horsepower of a fan or pump, given the ﬂow of water or air, the pressure drop to be overcome, and the nominal efﬁciency of the ﬂuid moving device. For water: GPM × head (17.3) bhp = 3960 × eff Where GPM water ﬂow rate in gal per min head = pressure rise across the pump, ft of water eff pump operating efﬁciency at calculation point as a percentage The constant for water pumps is derived as follows: ⎛ gpm ⋅ ft ⎞ ⎛ ⎛ 1 gal ⎞ ft ⋅ lb ⎞ ⎜ 550 s ⋅ hp ⎟ (60 s/min ) ⎜ 8.33 lb ⎟ = 3960 ⎜ hp ⎟ ⎠ ⎝ ⎠ ⎝ ⎠ ⎝ bhp = Where CFM SP eff CFM × SP 6356 × eff (17.4) (17.5)

For air:

air ﬂow rate, cu ft per min static pressure across the fan, in of water fan operating efﬁciency at calculation point as a percentage

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Chapter Seventeen

The constant for fans is derived thus: ⎛ 1ft 3 ⎞ ⎛ CFM ⋅ in ⎞ ⎛ ft ⋅ lb ⎞ cons = ⎜ 550 (60 sec/min) ⎜ ⎟ (12 in/ft) = 6356 ⎜ hp ⎟ ⎟ s ⋅ hp ⎠ ⎝ ⎠ ⎝ ⎝ 62.3lb ⎠ (17.6) In each case the derivation of the constant term is shown to illustrate how keeping track of units can help solve problems if the constant is forgotten or if the information is given in other units. Note that the liquid pumping horsepower will increase with higher-density liquids and can be accommodated by multiplying the equation by relative density of the ﬂuid pumped compared to water. The same is true for the air equation. CFM is assumed to be for standard air (0.75 lb/cu ft at 60°F). If other gases, hot air, or air at altitude is being handled, the equation must be corrected by the relative density. Fluid mechanics addresses friction loss in piping and duct systems. It requires attention to differences in elevation for pumping of “open” systems and teaches us to recognize static-pressure concerns in both closed and open systems. Static-pressure problems with standing columns of air or other gases nearly always are associated with buoyancy effects of warmer vs. colder gas, as in the induced draft of a chimney or the wintertime stack effect in a medium- or high-rise building. 17.5 Flow Volume Measurement

There are several methods for measuring ﬂow volume per unit time. Direct liquid measurement: This involves a mechanical measurement, such as the time required to ﬁll a container of known volume or of observing the portion of a container ﬁlled in a given time. Venturi meter: A venturi is a smooth, tapered tube with pressure taps at the wide point and the neck point. Since there are no other effects, the change in static pressure from the wide to the narrow section can be used to determine velocity and ﬂow volume (Figure 9.20). Oriﬁce plate meter: An oriﬁce plate is placed across a pipe and has a carefully deﬁned circular opening, smaller than the pipe diameter. Installed between ﬂanges with pressure taps, the ﬁeld-measured pressure differential can be used to determine the ﬂow rate (Figure 9.19). Impact tube meter: The total pressure in a ﬂowing ﬂuid is the sum of the velocity pressure and the static (background) pressure. Pt Pvel Pstatic (17.7)

Engineering Fundamentals Part 1, Fluid Mechanics

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If a tube is directed into the ﬂowing ﬂuid, it will read the total pressure. If a second tube is installed parallel to the ﬂow so that it sees no velocity impact, it will read the static pressure. The difference between the two readings is the local velocity pressure, and it can be converted to velocity for any given ﬂuid. In the turbulent region the velocity pressure is proportional to the square of the velocity. The static and velocity sensing tubes may be set up to form a pitot tube (Figure 9.18). Equipment as a meter: Almost any device set in a moving ﬂuid can be used as a coarse ﬂow meter, since the pressure drop across the element is proportional to the square of the velocity. Heat exchangers are sometimes calibrated for ﬂow rate. 17.6 Summary

Fluid mechanics issues show up in nearly every aspect of HVAC system design. Pumps, fans, coils, heat exchangers, refrigeration systems, process systems, boilers, deaerators, water softeners and treatment systems, water supply and distribution systems, building plumbing and ﬁre protection— all are grounded in the physics of ﬂuid mechanics. For further development of this topic, the reader is referred to the multitude of ﬂuid mechanics textbooks, the ASHRAE Handbook Fundamental, or Cameron Hydraulic Data.² References

1. ASHRAE Handbook, 2005 Fundamentals, Chapter 2, “Fluid Flow.” 2. Ingersoll-Rand: Cameron Hydraulic Data.

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